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Thread: Fatalities at the pool

  1. #1
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    Fatalities at the pool

    Coaches
    Has anyone here had to deal with a heart attack and death at the pool. My worst nightmare came true this past Saturday. Long time Masters Coach, swimmer, and all around swimming dude, Kevin Polansky had a major medical event and died at the pool during practice on Saturday morning. The response to the incident was nothing but professional. However, the fact still remains, I had a swimmer under my watch die.

    My first workout since this occurrence will be tomorrow morning. I need some help here in what to say, and do. We will have the grief team present, but the fact remains, all the people in the water will be looking at me.
    Doug Garcia

  2. #2
    Paint test area ahead Michael Heather's Avatar
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    Re: Fatalities at the pool

    Your coaching did not kill him. Remind the swimmers that life is only a one lap race and there are no do overs. He died while doing something he loved, something to which we all aspire.

    Even though this is somewhat tongue in cheek, it is also all accurate. The loss will be tough to cope with for a while because he had a personal impact on many people. But Kevin stories will circulate for as long as there are swimmers who remember him and there is no better way to be honored than being remembered by peers.
    The opinions expressed in the above post are mine, not those of U.S. Masters Swimming. But maybe they should be.

  3. #3
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    Re: Fatalities at the pool

    Thanks Mike,
    Its just a tough situation that gets replayed in my head every time someone asks me about it... which has been a lot the last couple of days.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Heather View Post
    Your coaching did not kill him. Remind the swimmers that life is only a one lap race and there are no do overs. He died while doing something he loved, something to which we all aspire.

    Even though this is somewhat tongue in cheek, it is also all accurate. The loss will be tough to cope with for a while because he had a personal impact on many people. But Kevin stories will circulate for as long as there are swimmers who remember him and there is no better way to be honored than being remembered by peers.
    Doug Garcia

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    Re: Fatalities at the pool

    Wow. That's horrible, and I'm sorry for your loss.

    As for what to say - that's difficult. You have to know this was not your fault whatsoever. Things like this unfortunately happen and it's a cruel reality of life that someone healthy can be taken out by an invisible enemy. It will hurt for a long time, and a good grief team will help talk to people because it's hard to process. Don't be afraid or ashamed to see someone professionally to help in the recovery.

  5. #5
    Moderator Rob Copeland's Avatar
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    Re: Fatalities at the pool

    Doug,

    It looks like you've come up with a nice way to honor Kevin.
    https://swimswam.com/kevin-polansky-...rday-loveland/

    I've known Kevin since our age group days in Iowa in the late 60's- early 70's. We reconnected through Masters Swimming and most recently through NAIA nationals. I plan on wearing a brightly colored Hawaiian shirts on deck at NAIA's to honor his memory.
    The opinions expressed in the above post are mine and not those of U.S. Masters Swimming.

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