Nature Watch: Shallow water blackout poses a danger to swimmers


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.

Read The Buffalo News

Photo by ctsnow

About Author

Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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