While training for the 1912 Summer Olympics in Sweden, Duke Kahanamoku managed to save the lives of at least two men. Duke was perfecting his already impressive swimming stroke under the watchful eye of George Kistler, coach of the University of Pennsylvania swimming team. Kahanamoku was residing near Philadelphia with the family of Lew Henderson when, as reported in the May 16th, 1912 Evening Edition of the Hawaiian Star, Duke assisted in the rescue of two sailors, who went in swimming in the Schuylkill River and became exhausted. Duke and a companion pulled them out and got them safely to shore
Here is Duke explaining the situation in a letter to Lew.
“We were out canoeing all day yesterday up and down the Schuylkill River. Say, Lew; there’s certainly some crowd along the river here. We rescued a couple of sailors yesterday. One of them could hardly swim: just managed to get ashore. I believe the two did not know how to handle themselves.”
Only a few weeks prior, Duke had dived for a man who had gone to the bottom of the swimming pool at Atlantic City.