‘Baywatch’ Alum Donna D’Errico Confesses She Doesn’t Know How to Swim

by Josh Lanier
(Photo Via Getty Images)

Thank God most of Baywatch was slow-motion running down the beach. Donna D’Errico, who portrayed a lifeguard on the show for two years, recently revealed she can’t swim and has a terrible fear of water.

D’Errico, who is promoting her new film Frank and Penelope, told Fox News that she still can’t tread water in a pool, much less rescue someone. If she tried, they’d have to rescue her too. So, how did she end up portraying a lifeguard? She’s not sure either.

Baywatch producers told her when she auditioned for the series that she would have to pass a swim test if she got the role. She lied, thinking she could wing it if the time ever came.

“You get to be part of the most-watched show in the world,” the 53-year-old actress said. “It was the opportunity of a lifetime. And here I am, knowing full well, that I cannot swim. It was all supposed to be basic stuff, nothing technical. But all I kept thinking was, ‘What the heck am I supposed to do?’ I still showed up at 5 a.m. I was told, ‘Get in the pool, do a couple of laps to warm up.’ Here I am holding onto the edge like a terrified child. And he’s like, ‘Donna, what are you doing?’ Go do a couple of laps. It’s freezing in there.’ I couldn’t let go. I was going to sink. And finally, he’s like, ‘Donna, get out of the pool. You can’t swim.’”

She begged the instructor not to tell the producers, but he had to. Baywatch is about lifeguards. Swimming is literally one of the only requirements of the job. She worked with one of the consultants on the show to help her pass the test. She failed it two more times before she barely passed.

D’Errico: I Nearly Drowned In Only ‘Baywatch’ Water Rescue

Despite weeks of training, D’Errico said she still didn’t know how to swim. That’s why she only has one water rescue during her run on Baywatch, despite appearing in 44 episodes from 1996 to 1998. She says you can probably see her cursing as she “swims” out to rescue someone.

“To this day, I still can’t swim,” she told Fox News. “I’m terrified of water. I can’t even tread water. There’s one scene, and I think it’s the only one, where my character was in the water to do a rescue. And I’m pretty sure I nearly drowned trying to do it. I’m supposed to rescue a boy and you can see my lips saying the f-word trying to swim in this pool. It’s one thing when you have your fins, but it’s another when you don’t have them. You can’t really swim and you’re terrified. I’m pretty sure they never made me do another rescue again. But if you look up that one episode, I’m pretty sure you can see my mouth say the f-word!”