21-year-old college swimmer drowns in Florida YMCA pool

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A trip to Florida ended tragically Christmas weekend when a young Nashville man and college swimmer died at a YMCA pool.

Tate Ramsden, 21, died Saturday, Dec. 26 in Sarasota, Florida, at the YMCA’s Selby Aquatic Center while visiting with his family.

Tate Ramsden
Tate Ramsden (Courtesy: Dartmouth College)

A graduate of Montgomery Bell Academy in Green Hills, Ramsden was a junior swimmer on scholarship at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

According to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, they received calls of a possible drowning with CPR in progress around 2 p.m. Saturday.

When deputies arrived, the fire department was on the scene trying to save Ramsden’s life.

Three lifeguards were also on duty at the time and authorities say they all “administered rescued efforts” before authorities got there.

Unfortunately, life-saving efforts were unsuccessful. The 21-year-old swimmer was pronounced dead at 2:13 p.m. An autopsy is being completed to determine the exact cause of death.

The Sarasota YMCA released the following statement:

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.

Tracy Spalsbury
Director of Marketing & Communications

According to the incident report, deputies were told Ramsden was visiting Sarasota with his mother, sister, uncle and cousin. He was visiting the pool with the latter three family members.

He had been swimming for some time, approximately 4,000 yards, before “practicing his underwater swimming techniques.”

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office say they believe he was trying to complete a “100,” which is four laps in the pool, without surfacing for air.

At some point, Ramsden’s sister noticed he wasn’t moving underwater. Lifeguards were notified and a bystander from Washington State called 911.

News 2 learned Ramsden was an avid swimmer with the Nashville Aquatic Club (NAC).

Tate Ramsden, center (Photo: Submitted)

“He worked really hard at it and it was in high school years that he really sort of blossomed into a good swimmer,” said Nashville Aquatic Club Head Coach John Morse.

Ramsden started swimming competitively at the club at the age of six, according to Morse.

“He was about as good as they come,” said Associate Head Coach Doug Wharam. “Always the first one to lend a helping hand to the new kids in the group. That’s the kind of person he’ll be remembered as.”

“My understanding is what Tate was doing was 100 yards underwater, so holding his breath going four lengths of the pool underwater, and, no, that is absolutely is not something that’s taught and it’s very much discouraged,” said Morse.

“We’ll never know what he could have accomplished in life so it’s very sad,” he continued.

The 21-year-old also served with Habitat for Humanity in Nashville, as did his family.

“Members of the Ramsden family have been loyal volunteers with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville for years and we would like to express our sincere condolences to the entire family at this time,” said Sherry Stinson, director of marketing and PR for Habitat of Greater Nashville.

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