One reason for my love of underwater swimming was my failure on the surface. My college roommate, Cromwell Anderson, was captain of the swim team, but I was simply a flop at the crawl or backstroke. I could, however, swim farther underwater than he could. I was able to make it twice the length of our Olympic pool, 100 meters in all, before surfacing. I thought this was great until another friend did three laps.
It turns out, I now learn, that we were doing something very foolish. And I exacerbated that foolhardiness by often swimming those laps alone in the pool. There is an effect associated with this kind of underwater swimming so important that it has been assigned a name, shallow water blackout. People die from it. Last summer, Annapolis Midshipman Kyle Hurdle passed out while doing so and lifeguards were unable to revive him.
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