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Pelican crashes Florida swim meet, swimmers oblivious

By Ben Hooper
A pelican wanders into the path of a swimmer in St. Petersburg, Fla. Tampa Bay Times video screenshot
A pelican wanders into the path of a swimmer in St. Petersburg, Fla. Tampa Bay Times video screenshot

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Jan. 26 (UPI) -- A brown pelican trying to escape the cold crashed a Florida swim meet -- and the only ones who didn't notice were the swimmers.

Spectators at the St. Petersburg Aquatics meet Saturday at North Shore Pool said the brown pelican made two appearances during different events while apparently trying to use the heated pool to warm up from temperatures in the 50's.

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A video posted to Facebook by the St. Pete Masters team -- which has a pelican as its mascot -- shows a participant narrowly avoid swimming right into the pelican, which flew to another section of the pool at the last second.

Elena Cano, 54, a timekeeper for the event who also captured video of the pelican, said the bird didn't cause any delays.

"They didn't stop any race," Cano told the Tampa Bay Times. "We just kept on timing."

"I thought 'I hope the bird didn't poop in the water,'" she said.

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Cano said the swimmers -- including the one who nearly collided with the pelican -- were oblivious to the presence of the interloper.

"'Bird? What bird?' he said," Cano recalled the swimmer saying when he got out of the water.

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