In the wake of East Carolina University’s decision to eliminate its swimming and diving teams due to budget problems exacerbated by the pandemic (true fact), a near-tragedy took place 3,000 miles away in Berkeley, California, home of the University of California’s swimming program, a perennial NCAA powerhouse. University Life has obtained the details:
On May 23rd, University of California officials proudly announced that the school would not terminate its swimming program. However, they failed to communicate that they would attempt to save money over the summer by draining the pool and turning off all the lights in the team’s training facility.
What officials did not realize was that the men’s diving team has a long tradition of holding a secret practice at midnight on Memorial Day.
“It’s just a way of getting the guys together and bonding in preparation for the fall season,” says Asher Blake, team co-captain. “When we snuck into the Spieker Aquatic Complex just after midnight on May 25th, we were annoyed that the lights wouldn’t come on, but it was no big deal. Even in the dark, we knew where the pool was.
“The first sign that something was definitely wrong was when Hayden Tiff, our top competitor on the 27-meter platform, did his signature jackknife dive. Instead of hearing the brief, sharp splash of his body entering the water, what filled the air resembled the sound of a large cockroach being stepped on in a tenement kitchen.
“Grayson Fenz immediately cannonballed from the platform to find out what the problem was, and we heard the same sickening crunch. Three more guys followed him before somebody grabbed a flashlight and we looked into the pool.
“Jesus H. Christ, it was a freakin’ train wreck down there! Looked like the basement of Alpha Kappa Lambda after a Saturday night keg party. Bodies splayed all over the place. Fortunately, nobody suffered anything worse than a mild concussion, and everyone is expected to fully recover. We dodged a bullet, man!
“The doctor in the emergency room told us that the brains of high-divers are significantly smaller, and their skulls thicker and harder, than the brains of non-divers. It’s a scientific fact. I guess that kind of explains why we dove into an empty pool in the first place, and why our injuries weren’t more serious. Awesome!”