Alabama Coach, Team Captain React in Immediate Aftermath of Servati’s Death

Alabama head coach Dennis Pursley, team captain Phillip Deaton, and Alabama Athletics Director were the first to react in the morning after the death of Alabama junior swimmer John Servati. Servati passed away Monday after severe flooding forced he and his girlfriend into a Tuscaloosa basement, where he held up a crumbling retaining wall so that she could escape unharmed.

We have heard from many within the Alabama Swimming community, and are working on gathering some “in memory” thoughts from his friends, family, and teammates that we will post throughout the day and the week in a sort of ‘memory wall’ for Servati. If you have something to share, please send it to [email protected] so that we may include it.

See thoughts from the program’s three leaders below.

“John Servati was an extraordinary young man of great character and warmth who had a tremendously giving spirit,” UA head coach Dennis Pursley said. “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.”

“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.”

“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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Selfless act of bravery. Terribly unfortunate loss for the swimming community.

We are all deeply moved by this story. Goes to show you what great men and women we have in our sport. It’s a shame to have lost a life so prematurely and we wish his family and the U of Alabama community the best.


“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Gospel of John 15:13.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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