University of Hawaii Swimmer Dies in Pool

HONOLULU, March 5. MIKE Sheldt, an 18-year-old freshman swimmer at the University of Hawaii swimmer died yesterday. Sheldt, of Charlotte, N.C., was found submerged in 5 feet of water while warming up in the Duke Kahanamoku Aquatic Complex pool.

He was pronounced dead at Straub Hospital yesterday afternoon.

It was the first death of a UH athlete during a practice or competition in 30 years, according to UH officials. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.

In a written statement, UH head coach Mike Anderson said: "We're all shocked and numb at the loss of Mike Sheldt. We are very concerned at taking care of his family and our kids and trying to go forward one step at a time."

Sheldt, a medley specialist was training for a qualifying meet for the NCAA championships, scheduled for Friday through Sunday at UH.

A University spokeswoman said a teammate of Sheldt's noticed he was at the bottom of the pool in 5 feet of water and pulled him out. Staff members then immediately began administering CPR.

Anderson was on a recruiting trip yesterday, but the men's and women's swimming teams were under the supervision of two assistant coaches and two graduate assistants. UH pool manager Bruce Kennard also was at the complex.

Dr. Andrew Nichols, the athletic department's physician, raced from his nearby office to the pool, where he used an automatic external defibrillator on Sheldt that was stored at the swimming complex. Paramedics also used the defibrillator.

According to the spokeswoman, Sheldt was not breathing and did not have a pulse when he was pulled from the water. Sheldt was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Paramedics were told by UH officials and teammates that Sheldt was not under medication, had no history of medical problems, and did not use street drugs, steroids or performance-enhancing drugs.

UH athletic director Herman Frazier spoke with Sheldt's family members in North Carolina last night.

"He was a member of our athletic 'ohana," Frazier said in a written statement. "We will miss his contributions to our swimming program. Our prayers are with his family, teammates and coaches."

After a team meeting last night, university psychiatrists offered grief counseling to the swimmers. Teammates last night declined comment.

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