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