The water bubbled around Naomi before it quieted, and fellow performers grew quiet too. Fransisca Dobrev had been watching intently from outside the pool.
She realized the excellent team performance was falling and scrutinized the situation to find the issue. What she saw had her diving into the water.
At the age of twelve, Naomi Imani already knew what she wanted to be when she was older. She had always known that she was special.
Naomi didn’t surround herself with Barbies and doll houses but instead felt drawn to swimming pools. She knew that her future lay within but had no idea that it would also try to take her life.
Beautiful And Determined
Public DomainAt eleven, Naomi was already determined to become a world-class synchronized swimmer. She had grown up, being the coach’s daughter, around the water and saw all the spectacular things people could achieve.
She saw that synchronized swimming held both beauty and discipline, but as determined as she was to join the sport, her parents were against her participating.
A Challenging Sport
Naomi dreamed of becoming a synchronized swimmer. Her parents tried to change her mind, reminding her about the sport’s dangers.
She was not swayed and started training after months of begging her parents. Only then did she understand what her parents meant when they said synchronized swimming was a demanding sport.
Three Important Keys
According to Naomi, three critical pillars were holding synchronized swimming together. First was mental and physical control over one’s body. This meant that one would have to master their breathing, every muscle in their body, and mind.
Secondly, each team member needed to work together in a near-blind environment, leaving no room for error. Finally, the dangers of the sport were a reality with multiple teammates near one another, like concussions. Naomi eventually realized what she had gotten herself into.
Naomi trained harder than before, determined to stick to her dream of being a world-class synchronized swimmer, despite all the dangers and hardships.
Soon she was representing her school at the state level after making it into her high school’s synchronized swimming team. She knew that it wasn’t a long wait until she performed on a global stage.
Climbing To The Top
Naomi’s team was a marvel to see, particularly her lively performances. They caught the interest of notable individuals who’d guide her into the country’s national team.
She had reached where she always dreamed of being, but she had done it at a cost. Her doctor and parents told her that something terrible would happen if she continued her career.
Naomi was at the peak of her career, but she’d suffered many concussions and other injuries, all of them taking their toll on her mental and physical wellbeing.
Naomi pushed herself harder despite having been told to slow down. She would avoid mentioning her injuries to her teammates, coach, or parents and eventually had it catch up to her one day.
To The Limits
Pexels – CottonbroSynchronized swimming is known to come with hardships. Swimmers push their bodies as far as they can when healthy and even when sick.
Nothing else mattered to Naomi. She just wanted to make her country and loved ones proud. She would do anything she could to keep it up, no matter the cost, but it would be too late once she realized her mistake.
It Went Dark
It was at one of the most significant artistic swimming championships in the world when it happened. Naomi and her teammates had excelled at their routine.
While Naomi was submerged in the middle of their routine, her sight went hazy. Her burning lungs felt as though they were ready to burst before darkness came over her.
The bubbling water around Naomi became quiet, the chaos of her fellow performers falling silent. She was drowning. Outside the pool, her coach, Fransisca Dobrev, had been watching closely.
Realizing that her team’s flawless performance was suddenly breaking apart, she narrowed her eyes to pinpoint where the issue arose. What she’d see would send her into the churning mass of water.
Jumping Into Action
Fransisca dove into the water in the middle of her team’s performance. She’d seen Naomi’s shadow beneath the bubbling surface. The girl was unmoving, her knees near the pool’s floor with her hands limp by her side.
Fransisca didn’t waste any time. She knew that the lifeguards around the pool weren’t privy to what was happening, given that they couldn’t tell if what was going on was part of the team’s routine or if Naomi was genuinely drowning. Would Fransisca reach her in time?
Fransisca beat her arms and legs as fast as she could, holding her breath until she was close to Naomi. She reached out for the girl, grabbed her, and swam toward the surface.
The lifeguards had already jumped into the pool, helping her bring Naomi to the pool’s side, where they administered first aid. But although they’d do everything they could to resuscitate the swimmer, she wouldn’t come to while in the stadium.
The Emergency Room
Naomi was taken to the emergency room, where she finally regained consciousness. Her team’s doctor insisted she stays out of the water for a few days while his colleagues monitored her vitals.
The swimmer supported her teammates from the poolside, cheering them to victory. Meanwhile, her doctor’s determined the cause of her fainting, shading light on what happened in the pool.
Shallow Water Blackout
“Shallow water blackout,” the doctor shared as he perused Naomi’s test results. He explained that the phenomenon is a loss of consciousness because the brain has little oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Since an optimal amount of carbon dioxide usually triggers the body to search for oxygen, a lack of it results in the person “blacking out” due to oxygen deficiency. Although the experience was scary for Naomi, she was lucky that her coach was looking out for her.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.