Team returns home after shooting

Kelsey Neubauer, Editor-in-chief

Junior Kelly Lennon instinctively launched her body on top of one of her best friends and teammate protect her after a group of people entered her airport terminal yelling ‘get down,’ she said.


Shots were fired in a nearby terminal about an hour earlier.


Moments before, the team entered the airport en route to a tournament in Baltimore. They watched on screens in terminal 1 as the events unfolded in the terminal next to them.


After they were assured that the shooter was caught, a group of people, in a state of panic ran from another area of the airport thinking there may have been a second shooter, said women’s swimming and diving head coach Gerry Cournoyer.


The UVM women’s swimming and diving team stayed together throughout the “mass exodus” that ensued after the shouts of panic entered the terminal, he said.


Along the way, they grabbed the hands of children and kept each other calm, Cournoyer said.


On their way out of the airport they left shoes, laptops, but never each other, senior captain Ali McClure said.


“Stay together, stay together,” Cournoyer said he kept telling the girls.


The team, along with the rest of the terminal, ran across the tarmac and onto the runway, stopping behind a truck. They later walked over railroad tracks and clapped with other survivors when a mother was reunited with her five-year old child, Cournoyer said.


After reaching their hotel at 9 p.m., they were greeted with support from team parents, family friends and university officials who helped them reunite with loss items.


In the face of attack, the team turned to social media to share their experience.


In their own words, the team’s story of escaping a shooting unravelled in the Twitter feeds of the team members.


A still frame from a Fox News segment showed the athletes running to evacuate terminal 1 in the airport.

[media-credit name=”Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport” align=”aligncenter” width=”837″][/media-credit]


The picture was later retweeted by team members, along with the words “UVM can swim, dive and do land sports too.”


“There was ducking and yelling and people began running and they evacuated us to the tarmac,” swimmer junior Kelly Lennon tweeted at around 3 p.m.


The team ran out of the airport’s fences, where they waited for law enforcement, Lennon stated in the tweet.


With “a few bumps and bruises from running,” the team got out safely with everyone accounted for, she stated.


The University expressed its concern and pride for the team’s bravery over the social media platform as well.


Athletic Director Jeff Shulman tweeted he was proud of the team. Their care and bravery during the attacks could not even compare to winning, Shulman stated.


The team finally reached Burlington at around 4:30pm on Jan. 7. They were greeted by their parents, President Tom Sullivan and his wife, Jeff Shulman and others.


Lennon said her mother could not stop touching her, she said.


“She had her hand on my arm and she kept putting it there and looking at me,” she said.


The team competed in a meet against Northeastern last weekend and will finish their


Lennon said this incident will not define her college career or her team’s legacy. They will be defined by how they compete and their sense of team, she said.
Five people were killed and eight others were injured in the attack, a Jan. 6 Associated Press article stated.
Assistant news editor Brandon Arcari contributed reporting.