On July 2, 2014, my then 14 year old son, Bailey almost drowned to shallow water blackout. He is an excellent swimmer and athlete and we have always been so cautious with water safety, but we were unaware of the danger of breath holding. Many times, I have timed my kids with my iPhone to see how long they could hold their breath underwater. I did this as a child.
On March 11th 2014, I stepped onto the pool deck ready for another grueling swim practice. My closest friend, Shannan Maher, got into a swim lane across the pool from me and we both started our warmup. We were just starting the main set of the evening when my friend decided to hide from the coaches’ view, and skip out on the set.
While visiting her aunt and uncle in League City, Texas; Katie, a 24 year old excellent swimmer, drowned in their backyard pool. Her uncle performed CPR until an ambulance arrived. When the paramedics arrived she still had no pulse. The paramedics were eventually able to get a pulse, but she did not regain consciousness.
Along with a normal swim workout at FAU’s Olympic sized swimming pool, I had planned eight 50 meter under water laps with no breath, then 60 seconds treading water between laps for rest. I woke up in the hospital 5 days later. I had experienced a shallow water blackout on one of my 50 meters underwater no breath.
San Diego, California Brian’s story is a successful case, albeit a close call. So close, that Brian hit the brink between life and death and luckily his friend was able to revive him to life. In line with the typical profile of a Shallow Water Blackout victim, Brian is a strong, advanced swimmer and was a member of the NAVY.
Julian Ottley blacked out while swimming with friends in the lake in the summer of 1986. Luckily, his friends Sarah and Jim were there to save him and prevent a needless death.
Summer 1981- Grand Cayman Island (as told by Joe Dean Lewis) My survivor story takes place in the warm, clear waters of the Caribbean. My best friend Lance and I were working on a dive boat off of Grand Cayman Island, when the accident occurred. For two years prior we had trained extensively to become the best freedivers/ spearfishermen that we could be.
In 1960 I was a sixteen-year-old high school junior living in Maplewood, Louisiana. My friend Tom Davis and I met at the municipal swimming pool on a hot summer day. I had ‘discovered’ long distance underwater swimming. With the accumulated intelligence of a teenager I found that I could swim underwater to the other end of the pool and back by hyperventilating.