Wednesday, November 28, 2012

FINA, Condemn this Guinness world record!


From SwimSwam
Jordie Proffitt, a former college swimmer who swam two years at Alabama before transferring to USC in 2003, has broken the World Record for a 50-meter swim underwater in a 25 meter course, according to the Henderson, Kentucky newspaper the Gleaner.


We are still waiting for an autopsy report on Louis Lowenthal's tragic death at an NBAC practice and today I find out that Guinness has a world record for a 50-meter under water swim. Some like myself have suggested Lowenthal's death may have been due to a hypoxic training set and now a hypoxic stunt is worthy world record.

The majority of people that are competitive swimmers are 18-years-old and way younger. Even FINA was bright enough to make a 15-meter underwater rule to avoid senseless tragedies that could ensue during a race. (Was it David Berkoff that brought us this style of swimming?)

I suggest that FINA should aggressively encourage Guinness to remove this event record from their books and any attempts to break it should receive no acknowledgement whatsoever.

[UPDATE - I suggest SwimSwam avoid coverage of events like this well.]


Anonymous said...

All sports have risks. People are seriously hurt or die playing football, boxing, running, doing triathlons, and swimming. That doesn't mean we shouldn't allow them or ignore that they exist (as you suggest FINA should do).

The fact of the matter is that every serious swimming program has some sort of breath control training (including at SCAQ), and under controlled conditions, this does not have a significantly elevated amount of risk.

The important thing here is not to be overly alarmist, it's to be educated about the risks and how to monitor them -- this education doesn't come from the purposeful ignorance you're preaching.

BTW: It's my recollection that FINA didn't make the 15meter rule for safety, but because swimming an entire race underwater wasn't particularly spectator friendly.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should wait for the results before you draw conclusions.

Tony Austin said...

I am an outsider on many issues including this one.

As for SCAQ doing breath control sets, I have mentioned my opinion to the owner and we disagree.

However, as for the US NAVY, they have researched shallow depth drowning extensively and I agree with what they have stated about this subject. They have charts and diagram all about the perils of hyperventillation and maximum distances.

Here is a snippet from 'Sea and Shore Magazine', a magazine put our for both Navy and Marines:

"... A sophomore at the U.S. Naval Academy fell victim to shallow-water blackout while doing breath-controlled laps in a yacht club’s pool. According to the victim’s father, he was trying to go 75-meters underwater when he passed out and went to the bottom. Lifeguards jumped in, pulled him out, and performed CPR until medical personnel arrived and took him to a hospital. Doctors, however, were unable to save him. The victim was a member of the
Naval Academy’s swim team.


During practice, swimmers weren’t allowed to go farther than 25 meters underwater. The only safe way for swimmers to increase their endurance is through aerobic activity.

Protect all hands from the hazard of hyperventilation and breathholding, including Sailors preparing themselves for diver or basic underwater demolition/Seals (BUD/S) training, by briefing them periodically on the grave risks involved. ..."

Anonymous said...

Tony, you should do an entire post on shallow water blackout.

The Navy article summarizes why close supervision and lifeguard CPR may not be enough. Here's the excerpt from 'Sea and Shore', Winter 2009-2010 (referenced in your previous comment):

"Victims of SWB usually lose consciousness within 15 feet
(five meters) of the surface, where expanding, oxygen-hungry
lungs of breath-hold divers literally suck oxygen from their
blood. The blackout occurs quickly, insidiously, and without
warning. Victims (as depicted in staged photo above) die without
any idea of their impending death."

Tony Austin said...

They still mention that benchmark of 25-meters only but perhaps we are splitting hairs now.

Tony Austin said...

I will do a post on shallow water black out! Thanks for the suggestion

Lucy Johnson said...

Bruce Wigo, ExecDir at ISHOF, has written on shallow water blackout in the past. You can probably get some good information from him. It's a good idea to revisit this issue from time to time as a reminder to swimmers, so a blog post about it would be helpful. If you read about a (generally) male high school swimmer dying in the pool, there is a good likelihood he was trying to show up his buddies by swimming underwater farther than they could. Because of this, I don't let my swimmers go more than 25 yards underwater, and I completely discourage back-to-back underwater swims. From what I've read, Hyperventilating helps to dispell the carbon diocide in the blood, but the catch is that the buildup of carbon diocide is what tells your brain that you need to breathe again. Without that trigger, sudden cardiac arrest can result.

Tony Austin said...

I have been meaning to readdress for a long time. Thank you for bringing it up again.