A violent weather system stretching across the South has claimed at least 12 lives due to severe storms and tornadoes. Alabama swimmer John Servati was one of those killed, the school confirmed Tuesday.
Alabama spokesman Shane Dorrill said the junior freestyle and backstroke specialist was injured during a storm near the Tuscaloosa, AL campus and died at a local hospital on Monday night, according to Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com. Dorrill also stated that the athlete's girlfriend was able to escape without being hurt.
I understand that he was in a house off-campus and was hit by a retaining wall. I don't know how it happened. I do know he was with his girlfriend and she is uninjured.
Schlabach noted a similar string of severe weather caused billions of dollars worth of damage in the Tuscaloosa area about three years ago. Former Crimson Tide football Carson Tinker, who is currently the Jacksonville Jaguars long snapper, was injured and his girlfriend, Ashley Harrison, was killed.
The Tupelo, Mississippi, native competed in the SEC Championships in both of his first two seasons at Alabama, according to his profile on the school's athletics site. He also was named to the Dean's List both years and earned a spot on the SEC Academic Honor Roll as a sophomore.
Andrew Gribble of AL.com provided further information about Servati's decorated swimming career. He set several state records, helped lead his high school to four straight state titles and was named the Tupelo Sports Council Athlete of the Year twice:
Setting multiple state records, Servati helped lead his Tupelo High team to four consecutive Mississippi State championships. He was named the Tupelo Sports Council Athlete of the Year in 2007 and 2010.
An account run by the coaching staff of the University of Alabama swimming and diving team sent out a message of condolence after the tragic loss was confirmed by the school:
Servati was 21.