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Team Depth

By By Taryn Plumb, Boston Globe

First, turbulence ߞ; arms, legs, flippers, snorkel tubes, splashing, dashing, fluttering.

Then, a collective plunge and sudden quiet; chaotic water slowly settling.

Curiosity pulls observers to the pool’s edge. Lean over and squint and, among blue ripples, a Hawaiian-trunk-wearing swimmer slowly and silently guides a fluorescent orange puck along the bottom with a stick.

Other swimmers circulate like feeding fish; the water gets choppy, dense with bodies in slow motion, until the churning makes it impossible to see below the surface.

But just what is going on in the turquoise depths of this University of Massachusetts Lowell pool?

A fierce, competitive underwater hockey game.

“Everybody, when they first hear about it, says, ‘underwater what?’ ’’ said Christopher Niezrecki, an associate professor in the mechanical engineering department at UMass Lowell.

Niezrecki, the founder and faculty adviser of the college’s underwater hockey club ߞ; which attracts eight to 15 players weekly and is one of just four in the state ߞ; admits that many “are surprised that it is a real sport.’’

Read the entire underwater hockey story.