Facts About SWB

The Facts About Shallow Water Blackout

  • Underwater breath-holding and underwater swimming have been proudly practiced for decades.
  • Coaches and military trainers teach hypoxic training and breath-holding, which can be deadly.
  • Lifeguards and parents routinely accept and admire breath-holding drills conducted in swimming pools.
  • Swimming Pools are typically where SWB occurs although SWB can also occur in the open-water.
  • Free divers and spear fishermen practice hyperventilation routinely.
  • Internet sites promote and encourage breath-holding contests, games and records.
  • Hypoxic training, breath-holding, and underwater swimming leads to drowning and sudden deaths that are disregarded and often misdiagnosed as traditional accidental drowning.
  • Shallow Water Blackout (SWB) is not well known because when Coroners rule “drowning” it masks the real problem: hyperventilation combined with competitive, repetitive breath-holding.
  • Shallow Water Blackout often precipitates other unknown and underlying medical causes like Long Q-T, RyR2, seizures, etc.
  • The the best of athletes and swimmers CAN succumb to SWB.
  • The YMCA bans hypoxic training and prolonged underwater swimming, and the ARC and USA Swimming strongly discourage it.
  • A SWB victim is very difficult to detect underwater.
  • SWB is the leading cause of experienced swimmer deaths.
  • As a swimmer reduces both oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, unconsciousness and death occur quickly, without warning.
  • Physical exertion increases the risk.
  • Repeated hyperventilation and breath-holding increases the risks of SWB.