ST. PETERSBURG — An unregistered aquatic competitor crashed the swim meet at North Shore Pool early Saturady afternoon.
A brown pelican decided to take a dip in the heated waters during the 200 Individual Medley as the St. Petersburg Aquatics team competed against other bay area teams.
Elena Cano, 54, a timekeeper for the event, got photos and video of the pelican as it descended into the pool.
"(The pool) is definitely warmer than the bay water," Cano said.
Cano said many types of birds were flying near the pool, including black birds, seagulls and pelicans.
"All of the sudden, someone said, 'Did you see that?' And there was a pelican in the water," Cano said.
Her video captures the pelican's second dip during today's meet. The bird had briefly landed in the pool during an earlier race, but was scared off. Then it returned, careening from lane to lane like a texting driver.
"They didn't stop any race," Cano said. "We just kept on timing."
"I thought 'I hope the bird didn't poop in the water.'"
The meet concluded shortly after the pelican flew away, with no interruption to the event.
One swimmer, who swam right past the pelican in his lane, had no idea anything was amiss when he finished his race.
"'Bird? What bird?' he said," Cano laughed as she explained that most swimmers didn't know that a pelican had made a cameo appearance.
Contact Josie Hollingsworth at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8562. Follow @josieholli on Twitter