Alabama swimmer remembered for 'giving spirit'

  08-26-13 MWSW Headshots John Servati Photo by John Michael Simpson 08-26-13 MWSW Headshots John Servati Photo by John Michael Simpson

A University of Alabama spokesperson confirmed the death of UA student John Servati, 21, a junior on the men’s swim team, Tuesday morning.

Servati died Monday night at DCH Regional Medical Center as a result of injuries sustained at an off-campus house during storms that swept through the Tuscaloosa area.

In an emailed statement to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, FCA Campus Director Gary Cramer said Servati was killed in his attempt to save his girlfriend from the collapse of a retaining wall.

"John Servati was an extraordinary young man of great character and warmth who had a tremendously giving spirit," UA head coach Dennis Pursley said in a statement Tuesday. "During this incredibly difficult time, our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and to all who had the good fortune to know him. He will forever be in our hearts and a part of the Crimson Tide legacy."

Servati competed in the freestyle and backstroke at Alabama and scored at SEC Championships.

"John definitely had a genuine heart," Alabama team captain Phillip Deaton said. "He was a carefree guy who always had this huge smile on his face. He was my training partner for three years and I can tell you that while he liked to goof around and have fun, when he stepped up on the block he was intensely focused – he was a competitor and an amazing teammate. As a team, we are doing the best we can right now."

Servati, a Tupelo, Miss., native, set Mississippi records in the 100 backstroke and 200 freestyle in his prep career. As a member of Tupelo High School swim team, he was on the team that set the state record in the 200 medley and freestyle relays.

A business major, Servati was a three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll.

"We are all saddened to learn of the untimely death of John Servati," UA Director of Athletics Bill Battle said. "He was a model student-athlete who excelled in his sport of swimming, his pursuit of excellence in academics, and his value as a son, brother, friend and teammate to all who knew him. Our thoughts and prayers go out to John's family and friends as we grieve his passing"

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