The inshore lifeboat (ILB) crew who were already at the station to undergo assessments launched immediately, and arrived on scene at 6.15pm to discover that there were actually two people in the water.
The second person had entered the water to try to rescue the first swimmer, but was unable to get him back to shore because of the strong tidal stream.
However, the second person was able to keep the first above water until the volunteer crew arrived.
The ILB crew got the two casualties into the lifeboat and transported them back to Portballintrae, where the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service was waiting along with the Air Ambulance NLI. RNLI lifeguards were also in attendance, along with the coastguard.
Keith Gilmore, lifeboat operations manager at Portrush, said: “The swimmer was very lucky that there was someone on scene to assist while the inshore lifeboat launched and arrived on scene.”
He added: “This is the classic scenario that we train for each week, and the crew are very skilled and highly trained for this type of rescue. We would like to wish the two casualties a speedy recovery.”
The condition of the two casualties is unknown at this time.