Dartmouth College Swimmer Drowns at Sarasota YMCA Attempting Underwater Technique

A Dartmouth College swim team member drowned at the Sarasota (Florida) YMCA on Saturday while on holiday with family. 

A Dartmouth College swim team member drowned at the Sarasota (Florida) YMCA on Saturday.

Tate Ramsden likely died attempting to swim four laps underwater without breathing in the outdoor pool at the YMCA Selby Aquatic Center, according to an incident report Club Industry obtained from the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.

The 21-year-old junior from Nashville was in the Sarasota area with his family and went to swim laps at the Aquatic Center. Ramsden swam around 4,000 yards before trying the underwater swimming technique called "100." During the underwater attempt, Ramsden's sister and cousin noticed a "lack of movement."

YMCA lifeguards and others on scene were alerted, removed Ramsden from the pool and CPR was attempted. Three YMCA lifeguards administered rescue efforts before the Sarasota County Fire Department (SCFD) arrived around 2 p.m. to take over the scene. Ramsden did not have a pulse when the SCFD arrived, according to the report.

The automatic external defibrillator (AED) provided by the YMCA analyzed Ramsden twice and never gave an audible indicator of an imminent shock, but called for personnel to continue CPR until conditions were right for a shock, according to the report. The conditions were never met due to the severity of Ramsden's cardiac condition.

An official with the Sarasota Sheriff's Office told Club Industry the investigation is ongoing. Sarasota YMCA sent Club Industry a statement about the incident, noting it was cooperating fully with the police to investigate the incident. 

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to this man's family at this time. This event is nearly impossible to comprehend, and he and his family are in our hearts," the YMCA statement read in part.

Ramsden's death may have been caused by a condition called "shallow water blackout," which can be caused by training underwater without breathing.

"It's another tragic event; it's completely preventable," Dr. Rhonda Milner, founder of the Water Blackout Prevention Organization, told ABC News. "One of my current concerns, he was an excellent swimmer; he didn't understand that he was putting himself at risk."

A letter from Dartmouth College President Phil Hanlon, sent Sunday to Dartmouth students, faculty and staff, read in part:

It is with a heavy heart that I write to inform you of the death of Tate Ramsden, a member of the Class of 2017, who died yesterday while swimming in Sarasota, Fla., where he was on holiday with family members.

We have been in touch with Tate's family to share our deepest sympathies with them at this time of heartbreaking loss. Tate was a member of the men's swimming and diving team and a brother in Beta Alpha Omega fraternity.

Tate's family is planning a memorial service, which will take place next weekend in his hometown of Nashville, Tenn.

The full statement from the YMCA read:

Every year for the last seventy years, thousands have arrived at our YMCA and our expectations were that they would have a wonderful experience during their stay.

Unfortunately, there was an aquatic emergency Saturday at the Evalyn Sadlier Jones YMCA Branch Pool and a 21-year-old guest passed away after being extracted from the pool by our lifeguards.  

Our thoughts and prayers go out to this man's family at this time. This event is nearly impossible to comprehend, and he and his family are in our hearts.

It is important for all to know that, as is our custom, we are immediately launching an investigation into the incident and are cooperating with all local authorities in their investigations.

Out of respect for the family, we ask that you honor their privacy at this difficult time. Again, I'm sure you join us in offering your prayers to this man and his family.

Club Industry Content Producer Eric Stromgren contributed to this report.

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