Tragedy Hits College Swim Teams; Three Swimmers Die from Car Accidents

PHOENIX, Arizona, April 8. Three collegiate swimmers have passed away over the past weeks. Nicholas Lee, a junior swimmer at Rose-Hulman, died due to an automotive accident on Saturday, while Delta State swimmers Molly Bates and Merve Terzioglu also died as a result of a car accident at the end of March.

Here are press releases from each of the schools as they mourn the passing of these student-athletes:

Rose-Hulman Press Release:
An automobile accident Saturday afternoon (April 5) claimed the life of Rose-Hulman student Nicholas B. Lee, a junior biomedical engineering major from Bryan, Texas.

Another student, Adam C. Effinger, a senior computer engineering major from Plainfield, Ind., was injured critically in the same accident. He was lifelined to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis where he was listed in critical but stable condition this morning. Updates on his condition can be obtained at Caring Bridge Link:

The single-vehicle accident occurred on Woodsmall Road in southern Vigo County.

Both students were members of the Rose-Hulman men's swimming team.

Special on-campus counseling services were made available for Rose-Hulman students by the Office of Student Affairs. Students began learning about this incident upon returning from spring break (March 30 – April 6) during the weekend.

"Rose-Hulman has always been a community that rallies to assist each other in time of need, and we need to draw on that sense of community at this tragic time," said President Gerald S. Jakubowski.

Delta State Press Releases:
April 7, 2008


CLEVELAND – Merve Terzioglu, 21, a freshman on the Delta State University Swimming and Diving team, passed away Monday, April 7 from injuries received in an automobile accident on March 29. Terzioglu had spent the past eight days receiving treatment at the Elvis Presley Trauma Center in Memphis, Tenn.

"Our hearts go out to Merve's family, friends, and teammates today. She was a star in and out of the pool and her passing is such a tragedy," said Brian Hein, head coach of the Statesmen and Lady Statesmen Swimming and Diving teams.

Terzioglu's passing is the second causality resulting from a one-car auto accident on Highway 61 north of Cleveland on March 29. Molly Bates, a teammate on the Lady Statesmen Swimming and Diving team, lost her life in the accident as well.

Terzioglu, a native of Istanbul, Turkey, was a standout performer in the pool for Delta State this season. She garnered the Most Valuable Swimmer Award at the New South Intercollegiate Swim Conference Championships in February and was recognized as a member of the All-NSISC team. In her first season with the Lady Statesmen, Terzigolu participated in the NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships in St. Louis, Mo.

Delta State University counselors and several area pastors are on hand to offer support for the team, coaches, and student body during this difficult time.

Delta State and DSU Athletics are planning a memorial service for Terzioglu. Specifics on the service are not available at this time. As plans are finalized, additional information will be released.

April 2, 2008


CLEVELAND – Over 350 students, faculty, staff and members of the community turned out Wednesday night to honor and celebrate the life of Molly Bates, a member of the Lady Statesmen Swimming and Diving team who lost her life tragically in an auto accident on March 29, at a memorial service held at Wyatt Gymnasium on the campus of Delta State University. Bates, 19, was a native of Jacksonville, Fla.

"The show of love, care and respect for Molly was amazing," said Brian Hein, DSU head coach. "The memorial service was so very special and exactly what many of our students needed. It was moving to see just how many people turned out tonight. Molly was a very special person and she will be deeply missed."

The service included a musical tribute by Kristin Dambrino and Barry Bays. Several members of the Delta State Swimming and Diving team and friends of Bates spoke during the ceremony. The service concluded with a candlelight vigil inside the Delta State Aquatics Center.

April 2, 2008


JACKSONVILLE , FLA. –Funeral arrangements have been set for Molly Bates, 19, of Jacksonville, Fla., who died tragically in a one-car accident on Saturday, March 29. Visitation will be held Thursday, April 3 from 5-8 p.m. at Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home, located at 11801 San Jose Blvd., in Jacksonville. The funeral is set for Friday, April 4 at 1 p.m. Services will be held at San Jose Catholic Church.

In lieu of flowers, Molly's parents have requested that donations be made to the account setup to help defray medical expenses for the three Delta State students, Caitlin Dudley, Regan Niemann, and Merve Terzioglu, who were injured in the accident. Checks should be made payable to "Molly's Mile Fund" and mailed to: DSU Athletics, ATTN: Molly's Mile Fund, DSU Box A-3, Cleveland, Miss. 38733. For more information about "Molly's Mile Fund," please contact Dana George with DSU Athletics at (662) 846-4289.

March 31, 2008


CLEVELAND – Delta State University will honor the life of Molly Bates, a sophomore swimmer on the Lady Statesmen Swimming and Diving team, Wednesday, April 2, at 8:00 p.m. in Wyatt Gymnasium.

Bates' life ended tragically late Saturday night after the vehicle she was traveling in crashed on US Highway 61 South.

Bates, 19, was a beloved teammate and fierce competitor. Head coach Brian Hein described her as, "full of energy and the type of person people gravitated towards. She was a pleasure to be around and she will be sincerely missed."

The memorial service will feature a slideshow presentation highlighting Bates' life. Immediately following the service, a candlelight vigil will be held inside the Delta State Aquatics Center. The memorial services are open to the public.

March 30, 2008


CLEVELAND – Delta State University, the DSU Department of Athletics, and the Swimming and Diving teams are mourning the loss of Molly Bates, who was tragically killed in a one-car accident on Highway 61 just north of Cleveland on Saturday night. Three additional students, Merve Terzioglu ( Istanbul, Turkey), Regan Niemann ( Oveido, Fla.), and Caitlin Dudley ( Huntsville, Ala.) were injured in the accident and are currently recovering in area hospitals.

"Life is such a fragile thing. One minute the world is in front of you and the next it's taken away. Molly (Bates) was a wonderful person, full of personality. She was someone you naturally gravitated to and someone that wanted the absolute best for her friends and teammates," said Brian Hein, head coach of the Delta State Swimming and Diving team. "Our prayers are with all the families touched by this tragedy."

According to authorities, the vehicle containing the Delta State students was traveling south on Highway 61 when the driver lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle crossed into the median flipping several times. First responders from the Bolivar County Volunteer Fire Department and Bolivar County Sheriff's Department were on the scene in minutes.

Bates and Dudley were transported to Bolivar Medical Center in Cleveland, while Terzioglu and Niemann were sent to Northwest Regional Medical Center in Clarksdale. Bates was pronounced dead upon arrival at BMC.

The three surviving students were sent to area trauma centers after being stabilized at local hospitals. Dudley was transported to University Medical Center in Jackson, while Terzigolu and Niemann were sent to the Elvis Presley Trauma Center in Memphis, Tenn. All three are currently receiving treatment for the injuries sustained in the accident.

Terzioglu, a freshman from Istanbul, Turkey, and Dudley, a freshman from Huntsville, Ala., are also members of the Lady Statesmen Swimming and Diving team. Niemann, a native of Oviedo, Fla., is a former member of the Swimming and Diving team, and is currently enrolled at DSU.

Delta State counselors and several area pastors are on hand to offer support for the team, coaches, and student body during this difficult time. They will remain on call around the clock as long as their services are needed.

Delta State and DSU Athletics are planning a memorial service for Bates. Specifics on the service are not available at this time. As plans are finalized, additional information will be released.

Swimming World extends its condolences to the friends and family of Lee, Bates and Terzigolu. Special thanks to for bringing these stories to our attention.

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Author: Archive Team

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