The rarity happened quickly, but the delay forced the double dual girls swim meet between host Everett, Oak Harbor and Coupeville to be cut short on Tuesday, Oct. 5.
A Seagull freshman dove in to swim the third leg of the 200-meter freestyle relay for Everett and went a little deep. The girl, who due to privacy concerns Everett coach Jane Johnson chose not to identify further, struck her head on the bottom of the 4-foot, 6-inch Forest Park community pool.
“She dove in off the deck,” Johnson said. “The starting blocks have long been removed. When that happens, though, pool protocol takes over. The lifeguards jump in and do their jobs.”
The girl hit the bottom, but the relay managed to finish. Then things came to a halt while first the lifeguards then the EMTs that were called as a part of protocol, tended to the girl.
“The pool does a really good job,” Johnson said. “They are very cautious with our athletes.”
The delay pushed the boundaries of the time Everett had in the pool. Local swim lessons begin, Johnson said, at 4 p.m. By the time the injured girl was safely moved, there remained the 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke and 400 free relay to swim.
Only the varsity heats of the two 100s were swum before time ran out, forcing the cancellation of the relay.
Oak Harbor was declared the winner over Everett, which had enough points to defeat Coupeville.
“This sure doesn’t happen very often,” Johnson said. ‘I’ve been coaching here five years and I think this is the first time it’s happened to a non-diver.”
As for the girl, Johnson said she was back in school on Wednesday. Doctors have put her in a precautionary neck brace for a week, the coach said.
But “she is fine,” Johnson reiterated.