Jack Viglianco
A teenage lifeguard says he will never forget his first day on the job after saving a young boy from drowning Screenshot

An Ohio teenager is being called a hero after saving a toddler during his first day as a lifeguard. The 15-year-old is credited with saving a 4-year-old boy who was drowning at the Charles A Foster pool in Lakewood, Ohio on 8 June.

Jack Viglianco, who had completed lifeguard training the previous day, told WJW: "I heard like a 'Help, ah,' kind of thing. And I looked over and I saw a guy who's probably like 3 feet 6 inches, in the 4-foot water and gasping for air."

The victim was a 4-year-old boy who was visiting the pool as part of a summer camp field trip, local media reported. Viglianco told reporters the boy was bobbing up and down in the water and screaming for help.

Viglianco was just 20 minutes into his first shift as a lifeguard when he leapt into action. "Active drowners can still breathe, and they're still above water, but they are still in the act of drowning," the 15-year-old noted.

"Jack activated our emergency response plan," said Lakewood aquatics manager Matt Demaline. "He got down off the chair and jumped in and helped the kid to safety. He had just completed... a five-hour orientation the day before for all of our new and returning staff and we were ready to go, day one."

The town's aquatics department said the potentially deadly situation was a reminder to parents and caregivers about pool safety, local media reported.

Viglianco told reporters that being a lifeguard is a "passion and dream come true". He said he will never forget his first day on the job. "I was realizing that I just saved a kid's life and that is something not many other people can say," he said. "Nothing my friends have ever said."

Demaline said there were 42 rescues last summer at the pools at Lakewood and Madison parks, The Associated Press reported. All the victims were saved.