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Foreign student's swimming pool death preventable, Victorian coroner finds

Lifeguard regulations in Victoria have been criticised by a coroner who found the drowning of an Indian student at a public swimming pool in Melbourne two years ago was avoidable.

IT student Paul Rayudu, 23, was swimming with his girlfriend, Virajitha Kelangi, at the WaterMarc aquatic centre in Greensborough on a hot day in February 2014 when they got into trouble in deep water.

Other swimmers spotted Ms Kelangi floating face down, and were able to rescue her.

Mr Rayudu was found a short time later at the bottom of the pool but despite CPR he could not be revived and died six days after the incident.

Coroner Audrey Jamieson found the pair could not swim and the pool was not adequately supervised.

"I doubt they had a real appreciation of the dangers of getting out of their depth," she said.

But she found they had only visited the aquatic centre to use the waterslide and ventured into the shallow end of the pool, where they found the waterslide was closed.

After lifeguards removed dividing ropes from the crowded pool, the pair found themselves swimming over a steep drop-off.

The inquest found "no clear reason as to why Mr Rayudu got into difficulty in the water.

But the coroner said Mr Rayudu's death was avoidable.

"I am satisfied that there is clear and cogent evidence that Paul Rayudu's death could have been prevented," she said.

The inquest heard there were four lifeguards on duty to supervise about 250 patrons at the WaterMarc pool, but the lifeguards themselves were not being adequately supervised, and they were distracted by other tasks.

One lifeguard supervising 100 'ridiculous' -One of the lifeguards on duty that day gave evidence that the lifeguard-to-patron ratio of one to 100 at public pools was "ridiculously high".

"It's ridiculous to think that one lifeguard can supervise 100 people," the lifeguard testified.

The inquest findings stated a lack of confidence in the ratio being used at Victoria's public pools, and also found there was no certainty about the exact number of patrons at the WaterMarc aquatic centre on the day Mr Rayudu drowned.

The coroner also recommended that State Government authorities work to establish central oversight of swimming pools in Victoria.

"The lack of central oversight and regulation of swimming pools in Victoria is concerning," she said.

The managers of the WaterMarc pool have apologised to Mr Rayudu's family.

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