Michael Phelps and Bob Bowman Host Shallow Water Blackout Prevention PSA

by SwimSwam Staff 5

December 13th, 2014 Club, Industry, International, News, Video

In Michael Phelps first official public appearance  since his DUI, he advocates for swimmers and coaches to adopt safety guidelines to prevent Shallow Water Blackout, a silent killer of  swimmers at all skill levels, even elites.  Phelps’ career-long coach Bob Bowman does the heavy lift in this PSA, but Phelps is the backdrop, swimming with his North Baltimore Aquatic Club teammates, and Phelps weighs-in at the end with a strong message.

This issue has touched the lives of all NBAC swimmers and coaches. Fresh off of the 2012 London Olympic glory, Phelps and Bowman were on a whirlwind tour, enjoying all of the honors they richly deserved. Back at NBAC, a promising young breaststroker, Louis Lowenthal, tragically drowned.  Lowenthal was 14, a 1:05 100 yard breaststroker. This didn’t makes sense. He was a talented athlete, and smart, an academic standout, winning awards for his writing, taking high school math classes in junior high. Kids like Lowenthal don’t drown. After much soul-searching and a very thorough investigation, it was clear Lowenthal was a victim of Shallow Water Blackout.

See Coach Bowman’s very moving ASCA presentation on Lowenthal and Shallow Water Blackout:

SwimSwam has recently published several editorials on Shallow Water Blackout thanks writer Julia Galan and aquatic industry leader Rob Sleamaker. In the swimming community,  Sleamaker is known as the founder of Vasa, Inc., the company behind the Vasa Trainer and Vasa Swim Erg, widely used in the United States and around the world. Recently, Rob has been on a mission that has less to do with innovative swim training and more to do with preventing tragic deaths due to Shallow Water Blackout.

For an overview on Shallow Water Blackout, go here. 

To learn the FACTS about Shallow Water Blackout, go here. 

To learn about PREVENTION of  Shallow Water Blackout, go here. 

Many thanks to Julia Galan and Rob Sleamaker for their in-depth support in educating the swimming community on this issue.

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7 years ago

This kinda scared me…

8 years ago

I live in south eastern Virginia. At least once sometimes more often we hear on the news of a pool drowning at a hotel. Most of the time it’s reported that the kids were having a breath holding contest. Shallow water blackout is most likely the cause.

Suny Cal
8 years ago

Very informative. Never heard of this with experienced swimmers. I hope coaches at my daughters D-1 school listen to this advice when practicing underwaters!!

Peter Davis
Reply to  Suny Cal
8 years ago

Well, I wasn’t very experienced then, but in 1996 my coach, Jerry Bozo(Valley Splash – San Jose, CA), split second dove to the bottom of a semi-deep pool to rescue me when I blacked out. He dragged me to the surface, onto the deck, and got me breathing and conscious. I developed an abscess in my chest the size of a grapefruit from the bacteria in the water that filled my lungs, and spent a week in the hospital recovering, at age 11 or 12. I am forever grateful and love that man. Thanks Jer.

I sometimes joke with our kids that I owe one forward, and at practice, everyday, I have the thought that today may be the day.… Read more »

8 years ago

Oh please
What a shameful way to try and cleanse themselves of not having a lifeguard there to save Louis
Those of us on the inside know the truth of shst happened