UNO swimmers reflect on Ft. Lauderdale encounter

Posted at 10:14 PM, Jan 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-08 23:14:25-05
It's been two days since a gunman opened fire at the Fort Lauderdale Airport, killing five and wounding eight others.
Thirty-one University of Nebraska Omaha swimmers and coaching staff were inside the airport Friday, caught in the chaos.
Several UNO swimming and dive team members arrived in Omaha Sunday afternoon with sighs of relief. 
They give this account of the terror inside Fort Lauderdale Airport, after a shooting rampage unfolded. 
"That was a hysteria moment,” said UNO Women’s Swim Coach Todd Samland. “I didn't hear a shot. That doesn't mean there wasn't one. I couldn't tell why we were running, but we were given instructions to run, not just move patiently to the next terminal, they were like, 'you need to run, and run now.'" 
Samland returned to Omaha, thankful to bring his team home safely. 
"The loss of those people and the difficulty that that veteran had, my heart goes out to him and the families that are dealing with loss,” Samland said. “I'm dealing with no loss. I'm dealing with an inconvenience. My team is dealing with no loss. They're dealing with an inconvenience." 
This swimmer says she remembers running as fast as she could into a bathroom with her teammates as they locked themselves inside.
"I don't even know how to describe it,” said UNO Swimmer Cassandra Jahn. “It was terrifying. I was shaking and I had to sit down. My teammates were around me the whole time trying to support me and a lot of other teammates were a lot more calm in that situation than I was." 
After being stuck in the Fort Lauderdale Airport for more than seven hours, with little to no information, Jahn says it was overwhelming when she realized everyone was going to be OK.
"I hadn't cried in the stall, but as soon as I got on the phone with my mom after we got let out of that stall, it was just everything came over me and I was calm, but it was a weird sense of relief and sad,” she said.
The rest of UNO Women’s swim team will arrive in the overnight hours into Monday by bus.