North Baltimore Aquatic Club Fights ‘Shallow Water Blackout Syndrome’ (Otherwise Known As Drowning)

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January 18, 2013
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I have been leaked what I believe to be an authentic email memo to North Baltimore Aquatic Club coaches from Bob Bowman, the head coach and CEO. Here’s the full text:


Dear Coaches,

On October 28, 2012, NBAC Swimmer Louis Lowenthal lost his life to Shallow Water Blackout Syndrome. This syndrome almost exclusively affects accomplished swimmers. In an effort to prevent any further tragic occurrences of SWBS and to educate Maryland coaches about its origins and affects, I am teaming with Dr. Alan Lake, Louis’ pediatrician and other local medical experts to host a round table discussion at 12:00 noon on Sunday March 3, 2013 at the Bryn Mawr School athletic complex (at the end of Cottonworth Avenue past Meadowbrook.)

This will be an informal discussion which explains how SWBS is triggered and how we can best prevent its occurrence. Please join us for this most important discussion. Please let us know you are attending by emailing [email protected]
by February 25, 2013.


Bob Bowman
North Baltimore Aquatic Club


My leaker considers this highfalutin nonsense.

“‘Shallow Water Blackout Syndrome’ is drowning,” he said. “You can give it any name you want, but if the proper precautions were in place — i.e., lifeguards — a swimmer who is affected by SWBS would be a saved swimmer. Isn’t this something we all learn in lifeguarding class when being certified?”

Lowenthal’s autopsy report was just released by the Maryland medical examiner. My order for a copy of it is in process. I would be delighted to be scooped on this story by the passive Bowman-Michael Phelps rah-rah corner that is the Baltimore news media.

Irv Muchnick

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick