Timofey Yuriev may have a few bruises and be a little battered, but it's all worth it to the Westchester resident who recently rescued two dogs from icy waters at the Irvington Reservoir.
The incident took place on Saturday, March 9, when Yurie and his wife Melissa Kho were walking their white golden retriever Kira to enjoy some sunshine when he heard a woman screaming and then spotted two dogs struggling in the ice-covered waters of the reservoir.
Having grown up in Siberia, Yuriev, who lives in Yonkers, immediately began to strip off his clothes and take a few deep breaths before heading into the frigid waters.
The dog's owner was crying and begging him not to go into the water, he said.
But what she didn't know was that Yuriev is a freediver, and is a partner in a company that provides field simulations for military intelligence special operations, traveling the world to dangerous, and often freezing places to film their expeditions.
"I took a couple of deep breaths and used my body to break the ice and swim and clear a path to rescue the dogs," he said.
But it wasn't a simple task, by the time he reached the dogs they were "very tired," he said.
"They were very old dogs and couldn't help themselves to climb up out of the deep water onto the ice," he added.
After slowly getting the first dog out of the water, Yuriev prepared himself to return for the second who was really having trouble.
Using an ancient Chinese method taught to him by his grandfather in Siberia, when he was 7 years old, which includes using a pressure point, and a breathing technique for dealing with cold and deep waters that made him feel a little light-headed, he said "everything felt nice," and he went back for the second dog.
"It was amazing," Yuriev said. "I was just in the right place and never gave it a second thought about whether to go in."
And, why should he when he can hold his breath for more than three minutes and has dived very deep while filming.
"I knew that 911 rescuers would never make it in time and I wasn't going to let the dogs drown," he added.
When the ordeal was over, the dogs were safe, the woman was crying, and Yuriev said he felt "energized."
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