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Fresnoid
August 8th, 2013, 09:55 PM
Louis 'Dewey' Slater, 65, Dies After 1500 at U.S. Masters Swimming Nationals

http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/lane9/news/Masters/35580.asp?q=Louis

Dewey & I had agreed to count for each other during the 1500 at Nationals but I ended up not entering the meet. I feel guilty for not being there with him, but also relieved that I did not have to witness the death of a friend.

I don't think he ever posted on this forum, but he did lurk a lot and was a regular reader of pwb's High Volume workouts.

At 2009 SC Nationals, he tackled the ultimate double, racing the 1000 and 1650 on the same day, placing top 3 in both. The next morning, he came back and finished 3rd in the 400 IM.

Several years ago, our main coach commented that he would prefer to die either on his bike, or while coaching a hard swim set. Dewey said he would want to go during a race.

novaswimwear
August 8th, 2013, 10:10 PM
Sad news to hear :(

Is the 1650 a masters only length ?

Bobinator
August 8th, 2013, 10:37 PM
http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/lane9/news/Masters/35580.asp?q=Louis

Dewey & I had agreed to count for each other during the 1500 at Nationals but I ended up not entering the meet. I feel guilty for not being there with him, but also relieved that I did not have to witness the death of a friend.

I don't think he ever posted on this forum, but he did lurk a lot and was a regular reader of pwb's High Volume workouts.

At 2009 SC Nationals, he tackled the ultimate double, racing the 1000 and 1650 on the same day, placing top 3 in both. The next morning, he came back and finished 3rd in the 400 IM.

Several years ago, our main coach commented that he would prefer to die either on his bike, or while coaching a hard swim set. Dewey said he would want to go during a race.

I was so sorry to hear about a death of a fellow swimmer at Nationals. It is nice he passed while doing something he enjoyed, and the fact that you quoted him saying he would choose to go during a race almost makes it seem better yet.
I hope it was quick and painless for him, and maybe those he left behind can take solace in the fact he got to end it the way he wanted.
RIP Dewey.

Allen Stark
August 8th, 2013, 10:40 PM
I am so sorry.My condolences to all that knew him.

Bill Sive
August 9th, 2013, 09:02 AM
I was there and was and was actually watching him swim the 1500. I had just met the swimmer, Megan, in the lane next to Dewey. The Responders were on this super fast. I was wondering what the outcome was. Thoughts and prayers for Dewey and his family. I will light a candle for him.

ALM
August 9th, 2013, 09:22 AM
Here is a nice article about Louis "Dewey" Slater. He had been a continuous USMS member for more than 20 years; you can find Top 10 listings for him dating back to 1980.

Fresno store owner Dewey Slater, 64, dies at Masters swim meet (http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/08/08/3430968/fresno-swimmer-65-dies-at-masters.html)

ekw
August 9th, 2013, 09:23 AM
This is so sad. Condolences to his family and friends. All the responders, volunteers, and swimmers are in my thoughts as well. I am glad to know that this is how he would have chosen to go and hope that gives those who love him solace.

jaegermeister
August 9th, 2013, 09:39 AM
A loss for his family, community, and swimmer's everywhere. The article linked above paints a portrait of a sincere and gifted man.

We all assume some risk when we are active. There's been some low-level debate/discussion in the medical community regarding the health risk of swimming. Having recently survived a small heart attack, I'm keenly aware of this. Also, we lost one of the most active members of our local club this past year at age 70. This much we know: the risk if very small, it is not predictable in relation to who or when, but of course healthy lifestyle leads to lower overall risk. Studies of sudden death in athletes indicate if the person is young (less than 35-40 or so) often there's an unrecognized heritable issue. If the age is 45 or greater, almost always it is unrecognized coronary artery disease.

The key take home is to recognize symptoms that might indicate trouble, if they are present (the hard part is that many instances of cardiac arrest have no premonitory symptoms). For me, the earliest sign was "Why am I having heartburn at 5:30 AM, I haven't eaten anything?" For my deceased team-mate, his family recalled that in addition to "not feeling well" he had vague chest discomfort before he passed.

I will say a prayer for Dewey and his family, pay him homage as I slip into the water, and swim on.

ALM
August 9th, 2013, 10:15 AM
Is the 1650 a masters only length ?

No, but it is a distance swum only in the United States. It is swum in a 25-yard pool, which is the most common course here. A distance of 1650 yards is roughly equivalent to 1500 meters.

jessicafk11
August 9th, 2013, 11:04 AM
Very sorry to hear about this. Sending prayers and condolences to his family and friends.

nhc
August 9th, 2013, 11:39 AM
Very sorry to hear this. It seems relatively rare to die in a pool race comparing to open water? If the heart conditions are usually triggered by intense activities (it seems?), perhaps people prone to heart diseases (older, or with family history) should "take it easy" during races or avoid intense competitions? I understand many people love competitions (esp. members of this forum), but from the point of view of health and longevity, I wonder if there have been studies comparing between the effects of lifelong competitive versus lifelong fitness swimming? It would make an interesting subject.

gull
August 9th, 2013, 03:01 PM
The risk of sudden cardiac death due to coronary artery disease is increased slightly with strenuous (as opposed to moderate intensity) exercise. In all likelihood, if he hadn't suffered this during his 1500 it would have occurred at some other time and place. At least here there were first responders who could attend to him promptly, which gave him his best chance of surviving.

Godspeed, Dewey.

Sojerz
August 9th, 2013, 04:06 PM
Too sad. I didn't know him and feel like I lost a friend. Seems like we shared similar values; we're almost exactly a year apart in age. The swimming world will miss his good karma, and I hope his family and friends will soon be able to cherish all of the memories from such a terrific person.

On completion and life, as my parents taught me (see bold part below):

"You'll find the road is long and rough, with soft spots far apart,
Where only those can make the grade who have the Uphill Heart.
And when they stop you with a thud or halt you with a crack,
Let Courage call the signals as you keep on coming back.

"Keep coming back, and though the world may romp across your spine,
Let every game's end find you still upon the battling line;
For when the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name,
He writes - not that you won or lost - but how you played the Game."
[Emphasis added]

Excerpted from Alumnus Football by the immortal Grantland Rice.

RIP Dewey, swim towards the light.

Bobinator
August 9th, 2013, 05:15 PM
The risk of sudden cardiac death due to coronary artery disease is increased slightly with strenuous (as opposed to moderate intensity) exercise. In all likelihood, if he hadn't suffered this during his 1500 it would have occurred at some other time and place. At least here there were first responders who could attend to him promptly, which gave him his best chance of surviving.

Godspeed, Dewey.

Hi Gull, I'm glad to hear a cardiologist say this! This is definitely the "take and feel" I get on situations like this.
I have a stupid, genetic condition called LQT and I didn't find out about it until the age of 56.5. Throughout my life I was a swim team member, a solid and decent triathlete, and a sub 3 hour marathoner. When I was first told I couldn't exercise due to this precarious heart situation I freaked out. When my EP refused to talk to me anymore I found a new EP/Cardiologist who was much more qualified in the LQT area and definitely a people person who spent time with me as a person, not just a fluky heart. After breaking the IU Healthcare- Methodist Hosp. max record on the treadmill in flipflops, and receiving a genetic test confirming LQT I learned myself and one of my daughters have a never before seen genetic mutation Heterozygous for Gly983Asp in the SCN5A gene; novel, variant of unknown significance in the SCN5a gene. In other words we are heterozygous for a novel variant of unknown significance in the SCN5A gene. My EP was impressed w/my Ecko-stress results and told me my variant was probably non-problematic but he still thinks I should take Beta Blockers. (my lqt remained long as the hr elevated but never became arrhythmic) The IU med-center is now studying our case.
What does this mean for me?? I think about my curious heart rhythm frequently. When I'm tired or not feeling my best I sometimes hesitate going to practice but in the end I always decide this: I am the same person I've always been my whole life and my heart, endurance, and physical energy has always been one of my most positive assets. If I give up on this part of my life I won't be the same, fearless person I've always been, and my career will no longer be relevant to what I feel and believe. I finally started swimming and competing again and am slowly working my way to fearless confidence. I've made a deal with myself that if I die during this quest it would probably happen anyway so why make myself miserable.
Yesterday after learning of Dewey's death I had some negative thoughts about my heart on the way to the pool but I tried my hardest to stick them away and out of sight. My warm-ups always suck, but I was rewarded with a nice 3,400 Long Course workout and more importantly I still feel like myself.

gull
August 9th, 2013, 08:17 PM
Just to clarify, I was addressing the risk of SCD due to CAD. As you know there actually is an LQT variant associated with SCD while swimming.

Fresnoid
August 9th, 2013, 08:49 PM
Here is a nice article about Louis "Dewey" Slater. He had been a continuous USMS member for more than 20 years; you can find Top 10 listings for him dating back to 1980.

Fresno store owner Dewey Slater, 64, dies at Masters swim meet (http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/08/08/3430968/fresno-swimmer-65-dies-at-masters.html)

Thanks for linking that article. It was on the front page of the paper this morning.

james lucas
August 10th, 2013, 12:29 AM
This much we know: the risk if very small, it is not predictable in relation to who or when, but of course healthy lifestyle leads to lower overall risk. Studies of sudden death in athletes indicate if the person is young (less than 35-40 or so) often there's an unrecognized heritable issue. If the age is 45 or greater, almost always it is unrecognized coronary artery disease.

Those words bear repeating. Heart disease can affect swimmers, young and old - and everyone who swims seriously should be checked regularly by a physician and should be watchful for and attentive to the many risks and signs of heart disease, no matter how subtle, as all too often the risks go unrecognized.

To underscore the importance of preventive heart care for everyone, no matter how fit, it's worth noting this is not the first time we've had a tragic loss in Southern California: http://forums.usms.org/archive/index.php/t-8056.html

You can learn more by following this thread: http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?8199-Another-USMS-death-while-competing ... In particular, note the link to the American Heart Association's screening tool ...

Celestial
August 10th, 2013, 08:02 AM
My condolences to his family & friends. AND to all the people at the pool - what a horrifying experience to have while hosting a sporting event! (I'll bet he was so pissed when he got to heaven - He probably said something like: "Put me back! I was on my way to a best time!")

ALM
August 10th, 2013, 11:35 AM
At least here there were first responders who could attend to him promptly, which gave him his best chance of surviving.

Godspeed, Dewey.

There is a study that just came out that looked at survival rates for sudden cardiac arrest, related to the location where the incident occurred. They looked at three types of locations: traditional exercise facilities, "alternative" exercise facilities (such as bowling alleys, dance studios), and non-exercise facilities.

Link to full article:
Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survival Odds Greater at Fitness Facilities (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130807155350.htm)

Excerpt:
Aug. 7, 2013 People experiencing sudden cardiac arrest at exercise facilities have a higher chance of survival than at other indoor locations, likely due to early CPR and access to an automated external defibrillator (AED), among other factors, according to a study published online today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The findings underscore the importance of having AEDs in places where people exert themselves and are at greater risk of sudden cardiac arrest...

Location of the sudden cardiac arrest was categorized as occurring at a traditional exercise facility (health clubs, fitness centers), an alternative exercise facility (bowling alleys, workplace or hotel gyms, dance studio) or a non-exercise facility (banks, restaurants, shopping centers, airports).

In total, 52 sudden cardiac arrests occurred at traditional exercise facilities, 84 at alternative exercise facilities and 713 at non-exercise facilities. Survival rates were 56 percent, 45 percent and 34 percent, respectively. Where information was available on the activity at the time of arrest, in 77 percent of cases the sudden cardiac arrest occurred during exercise, with only 18 percent occurring after exercise and 4 percent before exercise.

Researchers also collected information on what type of exercise people were doing when the sudden cardiac arrest occurred. The most common activity was basketball, with 20.5 percent of occurrences. Basketball is often played at non-traditional exercise facilities, like community centers or church gyms. Following basketball were dancing and "working out," both at 11.6 percent; treadmill at 8.9 percent; tennis at 6.3 percent; bowling at 5.4 percent; and swimming at 4.5 percent...

gull
August 10th, 2013, 11:42 AM
...and everyone who swims seriously should be checked regularly by a physician..

Sound advice. Risk factor modification clearly lowers your risk. But the reality is that sudden cardiac death can be the first manifestation of CAD, and detection of a so-called vulnerable plaque (ie one that is more likely to rupture) is not possible at the present time.

Stevepowell
August 12th, 2013, 12:08 PM
Bobinator; Re betablockers, Over the last six months I've experimented and settled on a non-generic BB called Bystolic. It seems to slow my swimming less than the std stuff. Pricey though.

orca1946
August 12th, 2013, 05:39 PM
A loss to us all. Rest in peace my fellow swimmer!

Bobinator
August 13th, 2013, 11:14 PM
Bobinator; Re betablockers, Over the last six months I've experimented and settled on a non-generic BB called Bystolic. It seems to slow my swimming less than the std stuff. Pricey though.

I've heard Bystolic is good. I check in with the ep 1X per year so I'll ask him about it next time. Thanks Steve!

kimgerly
August 15th, 2013, 08:34 PM
Like Dewey, I would prefer to die doing what I love, either riding my bicycle or while swimming a hard set/racing. Blessings and best to Dewey's family. May we learn from his example, and may his spirit carry on…

As mentioned by another poster, I have to be vigilant about recognizing "symptoms that might indicate trouble", due of my history of over-training for decades as a highly-trained athlete in other sports. Decades of over-training and not maintaining a consistent routine, year after year, manifested a mitral valve prolapse condition. This condition was revealed my former cardiologist, marathon runner, Kenneth Baughman at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine when I was 34.

And like Bobinator, I too freaked out when I learned about my condition, especially because my VO2 uptake and fitness level, stress test stats always returned results in the 95%+ range. It, however, wasn't until ~2008, at the age of 47, when I was training with Dennis Baker in Oregon, swimming even 30s splits for 10 x 50m freestyle when this condition really reared it's head. I literally thought my chest was going to explode on the sixth/seventh interval. I immediately stopped, because I wasn't too keen to have my chest pounded on. Because of this experience, I took several years off, thinking I would never be able to swim with intensity again.

Having an unusually high threshold for pain doesn't help, either--and I think one always needs to be mindful of this. This mitral valve prolapse condition requires being ever so mindful about how I am feeling, carefully monitoring my heart rate, and being able to discern between a persistent sharp, burning pain radiating down my left arm (when I sometimes pull my intercostals out of alignment when swimming backstroke) versus a pain escalation only when I am exerting myself through sustained, high-intensity aerobics. Feeling like my chest is going to explode is another indicator--something I'd rather not experience again. And because of my condition, I train the duration of most sessions at a moderate intensity. And when girded on to participate in a swim meet, I also only race sprints now, because it's usually not long enough for the discomforting cardiac pain to present.

Occasionally, I'll ramp it up during training sessions when I am in the zone, feeling good, and show Coach Marcia Benjamin that I can still notch it up at times. Perhaps one day, I'll be able to put it all back together and achieve a Top 10 individual time. But the fear of that pain is ALWAYS in the back of my mind, and I too am "slowly working my way [back] to fearless confidence." It is dubious if I will ever swim under 30s for 50m freestyle again, like I did in my teens and 20s, but I am going to try.

And so, in general, I have resigned myself to adhering to Dr. Baughman's advice to practice fitness for life instead of 'blowing a gasket', which I am sure I would do if I were to train like the banshee I was in a past life. My priorities now are to use swimming to manage my arthritis, manage my stress, achieve the post-swim, endogenous morphine elixir effect and learning how to finesse my fluid mechanics in an effort to become an efficient swimmer. I also try to practice a mantra Dennis "Superfly" Baker imparted to me some years ago, "It's all about the process."

Fresnoid
August 15th, 2013, 09:38 PM
If anyone has the urge to visit Fresno, we're having a Dewey Memorial workout on September 7. The main set is a 45 minute straight swim, no breaks, no mixing it up, no easy, build, descend, drills or kicking, just crank it out for 45 minutes.

Maui Mike
August 17th, 2013, 09:32 PM
kimgerly --- Thanks for a fine post. I, and I'm guessing many other Masters swimmers, share similar realities. Sometimes it's just so frustrating.

james lucas
August 18th, 2013, 03:57 PM
I'm guessing many other Masters swimmers share similar realities.

My sense is that Mike would be guessing correctly. This thread points to the need for USMS to strengthen its preparations and procedures for meets (and workouts) to ensure a robust response in the event of a heart-related problem. As good as our organization has been in providing for an emergency response, any organization can improve its readiness for low-probability and high-risk events.

kimgerly
August 18th, 2013, 07:51 PM
Mike, thanks for raising this preparedness issue.

It was difficult coming to the conclusion to be more forward and open about this very private matter. But, coming from a family with members who wear the titles of RN, physical therapist and athletic trainer, prevention, preparedness and proactivity are key, cultural operatives for minimizing traumatic events.

In the recent past few years since I have returned to swimming with USMS, I informed my current coach and lane mates about my condition. I do this mostly with the ultra-competitive sorts I train with, so they don't heckle me too much when I sit out an interval or back-down in intensity--this is out of necessity for managing my condition.

Not to mention, this way they are apprised and more aware about the potential, and will likely be more aware and prepared to deal with the situation if it ever presents, again. Additionally, my hope and aim by empowering them with this information will minimize any emotional shocks, too.

I also carry around a copy of my DNR [Do Not Resuscitate] order in my wallet, in the event my heart stops or I stop breathing while swimming. I have also showed this document to my coaches, so they are apprised of my wishes, and so any confusion is minimized.

I reiterate, if I have to leave our 'space ship' prematurely, I can think of no better way than while I am swimming.

NB: I entered a few meets in the recent past [2008, 2009, 2012], but posted NS, mostly because I was terrified of 'hurting' myself. And altho I finally got around to taking the plunge in October 2012, 31 years since I had competed in any swimming events, I reluctantly raced ultra-conservatively, posting rather slow times. Overall, it was fun and memorable. A good introduction back. On-the-fly, at the last minute, my CALM [formerly SCAM] teammates at the time, and I entered the 'low-hanging fruit' 4x100 IM relay. And to our surprise, altho much slower than what we set out to do, we posted a Top 10 time last year. The psychological aim to race again was to start taking baby steps back, commence progressively overloading and practicing consistency, variety and balance for life.

For me, on top of pain management and stress management, because I'm still possess the competitor's mindset, I require a goal to achieve. I need to race. But I need to do this mindfully and without reckless abandon now.

Fresnoid
August 19th, 2013, 12:00 AM
kimgerly, in your first post are you saying that mitral valve prolapse was brought on by your training?

kimgerly
August 19th, 2013, 01:10 AM
Yes, Fresnoid. It was due to my history as an all or nothing rowing athlete. What Dr. Baughman was able to discern, from his years of experience treating elite athletes, rowers in particular, he saw this as a 'fairly common' condition in rowers. And in my case, when I was a sweep rower in the 4's and 8's, I was known as the 'engine'--my role was to make up for any strength that might be lacking by my other mates in the boat during a race--an utterly painful, out-of-body-experience role/job.

What happens to a great many rowers is the myocardia/heart wall muscle enlarges to accommodate the increased blood flow to sustain the rather intense demand placed on the larger muscle groups. The myocardia can sometimes markedly increase size as a result of this demand. Kind of like what happens, especially if one is genetically predisposed, and lifts heavy weights--in body building circles this is sometimes called hyperplasia. What transpires in a great deal of rowing athletes, if they do not maintain a consistent, regular training regimen [pick me] is the the outer walls of the myocardia reverts to it's former size, loses elasticity. When this happens repetitively [pick me], elasticity of the wall muscle is quite compromised/lost. Additionally, there what is known as a back-wash/mitral valve prolapse--where the valve flaps of the mitral valve do not close smoothly or evenly, yielding chest pain I'd rather not revisit, if I can help it.

When Dr. Baughman sat me down in November 1994 after performing all his tests (stress test, echocardiogram) his report concluded:
- enlarged left atrium
- normal left ventricular size and left ventricular dysfunction
- mitral valve prolapse with valvular redundancy
- mitral regurgitation (mild)
- tricuspid regurgitation AKA back-flow (mild) [thankfully sans pulmonary hypertension]

At the time, I was only at the beginning of the off-season training schedule, and he was able to catch this condition, before it escalated what could have been a fatality. He sat me down and issued this sobering advice, giving me two choices:

Choice 1. I could continue to try out for the national rowing squad, but there was a VERY GOOD likelihood I would 'blow a gasket.'
Choice 2. I could give up the intensity of the sport of rowing, and find other activities for practicing fitness for life.

I opted for Choice 2.