Pelican Becomes Celebrity After Crashing Swim Meet

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A brown pelican recently proved that swimming is a sport for everyone to enjoy.

Unusually cool weather made the heated North Shore Pool seem quite attractive, and the presence of several humans also enjoying the warm waters only made the pool more interesting. What it didn’t know was that the humans were competing in a Saint Petersburg Aquatics meet.

Much to the amusement of onlookers, the bird began taking a leisurely swim right in the middle of the competition. The pelican shifted lanes several times to avoid collision before growing frustrated enough to abandon the water altogether.

Reactions to the avian participant varied, with observers either concerned or entertained. Timekeeper Elena Cano took pictures and video of the bird’s second dip during the 200 IM race, but admits to being more worried about poop than any potential interruptions.

According to United Press International, the race ended soon after the pelican move to drier ground without any complications. Afterwards, one participant who swam right past the bird typified the swimmers’ responses by asking Cano “Bird? What bird?”

Perhaps it was no coincidence that out of the many birds attending the Florida event, a pelican would be the one going for the swim. The St. Pete Masters team posted a video of the visitor on their Facebook page, commenting that their mascot (also a pelican) had attended the event.

Further inspired by the incident, Swimming World tweeted a copy the team’s video commenting that nothing will stop a dedicated swimmer. Portions of the video have gone viral, turning the unsuspecting bird into an internet sensation.

Originally covered by the Tama Bay Times, the story has gained the attention of news outlets from The Comeback to Fox Sports. Many swimmers across the country have since expressed through social media their envy at not having birds participate in their own meets.

Yet this is not the first time Florida wildlife has decided to share human creature comforts this year. Only five days prior, a crocodile took a dip in an Islamorada pool and was escorted away by police.