The University of Alabama confirmed that one of the fatalities in the storms that ravaged the southeastern United States yesterday was a member of the swim team.
Junior John Servati was in a friend's basement when a retention wall gave way. He was a Dean's Lister and was on the SEC Academic Honor Roll. Servati, from Tupelo, Mississippi, set state records in high school in the 200M freestyle and 100M backstroke.
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Alabama's head swim coach, Dennis Pursley, released a statement through the swim team's Twitter:
"During this incredibly difficult time, our thoughts & prayers go out to the Servati family & to all who knew John. John Servati was an extraordinary young man of great character and warmth who had a tremendously giving spirit. John will forever be in our hearts and a part of the Crimson Tide legacy."
UA's Director of Athletics, Bill Battle and the swim team captain, Phillip Deaton, made statements in a press release from the university's Athletics Department.
"We are all saddened to learn of the untimely death of John Servati," UA Director of Athletics Bill Battle said. "He was a model student-athlete who excelled in his sport of swimming, his pursuit of excellence in academics, and his value as a son, brother, friend and teammate to all who knew him. Our thoughts and prayers go out to John's family and friends as we grieve his passing."
"John definitely had a genuine heart," Alabama team captain Phillip Deaton said. "He was a carefree guy who always had this huge smile on his face. He was my training partner for three years and I can tell you that while he liked to goof around and have fun, when he stepped up on the block he was intensely focused - he was a competitor and an amazing teammate. As a team, we are doing the best we can right now."