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Hypoxic Blackout (Shallow Water Blackout) Reminder

With as much confidence as swimmers have in the water, it is easy to forget about shallow water blackout (aka hypoxic blackout). 

Side note: several years ago they tried to get the general public to stop saying "shallow water blackout" because it is a bit of a misnomer -- you can obviously blackout in deep water, too. But that clearly hasn't happened.

This morning Adam Peaty posted a video on Instagram showing himself doing breatstroke pullouts underwater for 50 meters.

"Repeat as many times as you want. 60m next week."



This is a perfect opportunity to remind ourselves the severe dangers of shallow water blackout. Young kids pushing themselves to go 50 meters underwater is the last thing we want any of them trying to do on their own after practice.

Look I know Peaty doesn't mean any harm -- surely he has social media managers -- but he must be cognizant of the dangerous behavior he is inadvertently promoting. 

Point is, we need to be talking more about the dangers of breath holding. We shouldn't wait until someone drowns to talk about it. The culture of safety surrounding breath holding needs to change and it begins with you. 

Talk to your coaching staff. Talk to your parents. Talk to your swimmers. Talk to your lifeguards. Talk to your aquatic staff.

Shallow Water Blackout Resources

USA Swimming's PSA featuring Bob Bowman:


Here is the Hypoxic Blackout Powerpoint presentation in partnership with the YMCA, the American Red Cross, and USA Swimming from the 2017 World Conference on Drowning Prevention. S/O to Connie Harvey (ARC) and Mike Espino (YMCA) -- two hard working leaders in water safety in America. 

Inside you will find safety information for swim lessons, lifeguards, swim instructors, and swim coaches.