Key Details Still Elusive Following Yesterday’s Funeral of North Baltimore Aquatic Club Swimmer Louis Lowenthal (Which Michael Phelps and Bob Bowman Do Not Appear to Have Attended)

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A moving story in the Baltimore Sun covers the gathering of family and friends yesterday to celebrate the life of 14-year-old swimmer Louis Lowenthal, who clearly was a special and rather brilliant young man. See “Louis Lowenthal memorial recalls teen’s curiosity, quirks and infectious joy,”,0,5939004.story.

Not noted in the newspaper account, and presumably not in attendance at the funeral, were the owners of the North Baltimore Aquatic Club: Michael Phelps and his coach, Bob Bowman. And even if they were there in a supportive background role, Phelps and Bowman still haven’t shed any procedural light on how young Lowenthal was stricken, and how their Meadowbrook swim facility was staffed and equipped to handle the situation.

(By the way, there is some dispute over my calling Phelps and Bowman the co-owners of NBAC. The definitive answer to that question is buried in corporate paperwork somewhere. At minimum, those worthies have direct or indirect equity through stakes in Meadowbrook and in the Michael Phelps Swim School. And that is not to mention their age-old community ties and their responsibilities as global spokesmen for their sport.)

One needs better access than I to Phelps’ phalanx of handlers in order to know exactly what has trumped this hometown tragedy on his busy dance card. More golf photo ops, perhaps. Or a booking on Saturday Night Live. Or maybe just the 400th iteration of the interview in which this self-absorbed millionaire exacts psychological revenge on all the losers of his boyhood who taunted him over having big ears.

Meanwhile, swimmer-blogger Tony Austin keeps asking the right questions about what happened on the North Baltimore deck on the morning of October 28. Piecing together what is known, Austin guesses that young Lowenthal had to have been unconscious in the water for at least two minutes, perhaps as long as four minutes.

In his new post,, Austin also undertakes the grim beginning of a review of the literature on drowning and brain damage. In a nutshell, time is of the essence.

Irv Muchnick

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick