Dan Bewley And Terry Hood, The News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- Students at Edison High School are answering a challenge from their teacher. Tim Allen nearly died last year, and doctors credit his love of swimming for saving his life.
On Thursday his students took a plunge to show him how much he means to them.
One stroke at a time, one lap at a time, the Edison High School swim team is on a special mission. They're competing in a triathlon: swimming, biking, and running.
For inspiration they only have to look to their coach, Tim Allen.
"I think he's awesome. He's a really cool coach," said junior Darcy Waller.
One year ago Allen had surgery on his foot. Afterwards, a blood clot formed in his leg then became a pulmonary embolism in his lung.
"You know I swim a lot, and I try to stay healthy but I just couldn't breathe, couldn't get any air in," said swimming coach Tim Allen.
His doctors didn't think coach Allen would survive, but here he is. They credit his love of swimming, up to two miles a day, for keeping him alive.
So Thursday, on his 60th birthday, he's challenged his team to challenge themselves.
"Today's like a celebration, turning 60 is a big thing for anybody, but being around after last year made it even more important, kind of gives you a new perspective on things," Allen said.
The swimmers are pushing harder than they've pushed before, reaching for a place that many say they wouldn't have found without Coach Allen leading the way.
"We've learned that it takes a lot of mental strength as much physical strength as it does to get through the hard times," said sophomore Paul Long.
The competition was also a fundraiser for the swim team. Students got sponsors for each lap they swam, biked, or ran.
Allen hopes they can do it again next year.