Nick Johnson, a 19-year-old water polo player and active lifeguard, drowned over the weekends while simply swimming laps in an ordinary pool. The news came as a shock as the teenager was swimming alongside the Santa Barbara High School swim team when the accident occurred. Initially, the coroner’s report stated the cause of death as “accidental drowning,” an extremely vague verdict leaving his family and friends in bewilderment.

Many people who knew Nick knew that he was a young highly conditioned athlete, so they were in disbelief after he drowned during a swim that he had done thousands of times previously. “His display of relentless hard work made lasting changes to the work ethic of the athletes in his class and in the classes behind him. Years later, when you see one of our kids jump in the pool first or a kid push himself to his limit, you’ll see a piece of Nick,” stated Mark Walsh, Nick’s Santa Barbara High School Swim Coach.

In fact, pushing himself to his limit was an everyday occurrence for the Santa Barbara swimmer. He first took up the physically grueling sport of water polo back in high school with the Santa Barbara Aquatics Club before advancing to attend U.C. Santa Barbara, one of the nation’s most competitive water polo programs. U.C. Santa Barbara had just began spring break earlier in the week. Despite that, Nick chose to continue practicing swimming with the high school team, with which he once competed, in the morning.

Apparently during the swim, he lost consciousness. Investigators still do not have a clue yet on why he actually black out. They also do not know the duration he was at the bottom of the pool before three Santa Barbara High School swimmers spotted and pulled him out, attempting CPR before an ambulance rushed him to a nearby hospital where he was eventually pronounced dead. Earlier reports stated that the 19-year-old had a seizure in the water, but those reports are not confirmed. At the moment, toxicology tests are awaiting results, which are routine in any instance of an unexpected death of an apparently healthy person.

According to city director of aquatics Rich Hanna, Nick was one of the top lifeguards in the Santa Barbara Junior Lifeguards program. This made his death in the water even more puzzling. For the full story, you can read it here.

Happy Fish Swim School would like to remind everyone that drowning can occur anywhere to anyone at anytime. Hence, we should always take precautions. If you are looking for swimming lessons in Singapore, do check what we have to offer.