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TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2007

Hartselle's Dan Meyer swallows his sword as a stingray swims close by.
Courtesy photo
Hartselle's Dan Meyer swallows his sword as a stingray swims close by.

Captain Cutless' underwater act
Sharks, stingrays circle about as Hartselle man swallows sword in aquarium

By Deangelo McDaniel 340-2469

HARTSELLE — With a stingray swimming by his head, Dan Meyer slowly stuck a 24-inch steel sword down his throat.

"I'm still alive and still kicking," the Hartselle man said three days after his history-making event.

With sharks and stingrays circling in 15 feet of water at Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Meyer went to the bottom with weights around his waist and ankles, and two swords.

A few seconds later, he became the first person in America to swallow a sword while underwater.

"This is the most difficult thing I have ever done," said Meyer, whose performing name is Captain Cutless. "It took pinpoint accuracy."

Almost out of air

Meyer said he almost ran out of air when he started to swallow the sword.

He didn't realize until he watched the video that a stingray swam by when the sword was halfway down his throat.

"If the stingray had hit me, it would have been a very bad situation," Meyer said. "I'm sure I would have been seriously hurt."

Meyer, who swam with sharks while residing in the Bahamas, has been one of the world's leading sword swallowers for seven years.

He decided to combine sword swallowing and swimming with sharks and stingrays as part of Myrtle Beach's annual Bike Week.

On the night before going underwater, Meyer entertained an audience and his throat swelled.

"This was not a good time to be going under water to swallow a sword, but I decided to do it," he said.

So, what's next for Meyer, who is executive director of Sword Swallowers Association International?

"Maybe I can find some friendly alligators," he joked. "Actually, I don't know of anything that can top that, but I'm thinking."

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