This blogger has shared at least twice now that he did not learn how to swim until after age 30. It was a military-style, four-day immersion class that essentially taught muscle memory to establish buoyancy, confidence and the ability to move from one place to the next in water.
Today swimming still is not a frequent habit. A few laps in pools happen on occasion just because it’s cool to have that ability after years of not. Adults who voluntary get into deep bodies of water know how to swim, or have death wishes, or are drunk. But everything is different in this world since 2020 and more so since 2021.
Alcohol is involved in nearly half of all fatal drownings in the U.S., and one-third of non-fatal drownings, according to a 2018 meta-analysis published in the peer-review journal Drug and Alcohol Review. Nearly 80% of all U.S. drowning deaths are males. At least 20% of drowning deaths are kids ages 1 to 14. People ages 15 to 24 also account for a large portion of U.S. drowning victims. A 2009 study in the peer-reviewed journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found an 88% reduction in drowning risk for kids up to age 4 who had formal swimming lessons.
Between 3,700 and 4,000 Americans die by drowning every year. About 25% are kids under age 19. Thus about 11 people drown per day, meaning drowning deaths are not necessarily uncommon. Sober adult women with average swimming ability are the least likely people to die from drowning in the United States. But that conclusion has been put to the test this summer.
Strange drownings in past two weeks
Drowning deaths have increased in the United States in the last two years. Florida recorded 98 drowning deaths of children ages 9 and under in 2021, up from 69 in 2020, according to state data. Officials indirectly blamed negligent parents. Minnesota reported 53 non-boating drowning deaths in 2021, the highest number in nine years of available data. Colorado is on pace to break its record for drowning deaths in 2022. That all said, the foregoing data could be sheer coincidence. But some of these recent cases look very similar to other deaths and adverse reactions on this blog.
Pau Kahi was a 12-year-old on a three-day, church-sponsored summer retreat last week. Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania rented Summer Grove Camp facilities in New Freedom, Pennsylvania for the event.
All the kids were swimming and playing in a pool from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on June 29, according to a statement by the camp. But chaperones noticed that Pau was missing during the next head count after the pool activities ended. They claim to have “checked the pool and searched the area,” but could not find him. Police were called to take over the search. Somehow cops found Pau dead at the bottom of the pool at 2 a.m. on June 30.
Local mainstream media said Pau had been missing since 3:45 p.m. on June 29. But the camp said nothing of the sort in its statement. Police said they believe it was an accident. Common sense says that everyone at the camp somehow didn’t notice Pau’s body at the bottom of the pool when it closed. The situation sounds eerily similar to what happened to an Olympic swimmer who survived only because of the quick actions of her coach.
Ms. Anita Álvarez is a 25-year-old member of the U.S. Artistic Swimming Team. She participated in both the 2016 and 2020 (2021) Summer Olympics. Ms. Álvarez also won two Bronze medals at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.
The U.S. team was competing in the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary on June 22. Ms. Álvarez had just finished a brilliant solo performance, leaving the crowd in awe. She suddenly lost consciousness and sank to the bottom of the pool. Ms. Andrea Fuentes, a Team USA coach, jumped into the pool and brought Ms. Álvarez to the surface. The viral images, seen in the below CTV News report, shocked the world. But that wasn’t the most shocking part. Ms. Álvarez had a near-identical incident at an Olympic qualifying event in Barcelona on June 12, 2021.
Note that lifeguards are not allowed to jump in and rescue anyone during these events unless the judges recognize a problem and give them the go-ahead. Coach Fuentes released a statement later that day via the team’s Instagram page. She said all of Ms. Álvarez’s vitals were good and that she was doing okay. The coach blamed the incident on Ms. Álvarez pushing herself to her physical limits.
We’ve seen numerous cases of news broadcasters, comedians and others suddenly losing consciousness and collapsing to the floor, similar to what happened to Ms. Álvarez in the pool. The June 22 incident, along with the 2021 déjà vu incident, were enough for the International Swimming Federation (FINA) to disqualify Ms. Álvarez from the team final on June 24.
She voiced her disappointment on Instagram on June 28. Ms. Álvarez said “the universe may have been against me all year.” She broke her foot several months ago, then came down with so-called COVID-19. Ms. Álvarez appeared to be questioning her future in the post.
The International Olympic Committee has not mandated the injections for athletes, but strongly encourages the shots. The 2022 Special Olympics in Orlando mandated the injections, but reversed course after being threatened with a $27.5 million fine for violating Florida law against vaccine mandates.
Ms. Mary Mara was a 61-year-old actress best known for her role in the CBS police drama Nash Bridges, along with roles in ER and Law & Order. She went for a swim in the St. Lawrence River in the early morning hours of June 26. Ms. Mara lived in Cape Vincent, New York, just a few miles from the Canadian border, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.
Police were called to the area with a report of a possible drowning just past 8 a.m. that morning. They discovered a female deceased and floating in the river. They identified her as Ms. Mara. The Jefferson County Medical Examiner ruled the death an accidental drowning the next day.
It’s unclear if Ms. Mara had received the injections. But she believed, per a November 14, 2020 Instagram post, that anyone who relied on natural immunity for so-called COVID-19 was an “unsmart f-k.” She was also a mask zealot and had LGBTV symbols in her IG profile.