Eighteen-year-old Harvey Barnett was a head lifeguard and a professional surfer preparing to head off to a Division 1 school for swimming.
But what he saw one day after coming home from work forever changed his life.
“When I got to my parents’ home, a bomb had gone off,” Dr. Barnett recalls. “People were just walking around in the street aimlessly.”
Barnett’s infant neighbor had rolled down into a drainage ditch and drowned in about 3 inches of muck and water.
“As an 18-year-old, not seeing any grey in the world, I saw only black and white,” Barnett says. “And I knew that I never wanted to see such a horrible tragedy again.”
At that moment, the teenager made a plea to a higher authority.
“I looked up into the clouds and I said, ‘God, whatever it is that I have to do to never see that again, I will do it. Just tell me what it is,’” Barnett recounts.
And so he started Infant Swimming Resource, today a 46-year-old program with which CrossFit Kids recently teamed. ISR’s goal is to prevent pediatric drowning through instruction to children as young as 6 months.
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Additional reading: Not One More Child Drowns: Infant Swimming Resource by Marla Carnes, published Aug. 29, 2011.