Experienced underwater search diver PC Steve Hargraves was called out to Worthing seafront after reports came in of a man seen in the sea about 90 metres from the shore.
The man, who was in his mid-20s and from Worthing, had been reported missing by his family who were concerned about his state of mind after he broke up with his girlfriend.
PC Hargraves managed to swim out to him and pull him back to the shore, but the current had pulled the pair about 200 metres along the coast.
PC Hargraves said: "The water was freezing, but I have had eight years' experience as a police diver and knew I had to get in the water and help him.
"I took off my stab vest and swam out to him.
"He was still swimming away from me, but I grabbed him and pulled him back to the beach.
"He was suffering with hypothermia."
PC Ben Henwood was there to meet them to help them out of the water.
PC Henwood said: "Steve had a torch with him so I could see him getting closer to the beach.
"A huge wave hit them and the man nearly fell over so I went straight in the water and picked him up.
"Steve was able to walk out."
An ambulance was called and paramedics treatment the man.
The incident happened near the Aquarena in Brighton Road, at 1.30pm on Friday, March 13.
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