All-American High School Swimmer Vance Sanders Passes Away in Florida

Another high school swimmer has died in Florida, marking the fourth tragic death of a young athlete in January, 2015 alone.

Vance Sanders of East Lake High School and the Clearwater Aquatic Team died on Friday, in what Florida Swim Network is calling a suicide.

The news was reported to SwimSwam by another club coach in Florida on Friday evening, and confirmed by Florida Swim Network, who had a personal relationship with Sanders, on Saturday morning.

We have been unable to track down anyone from the Clearwater Aquatic Team or the Sanders family for comment.

Sanders was a sophomore at East Lake High School, and a State Championship meet/U.S. Nationals qualifier. His bests included a 1:39 in the 200 free, a 49.5 in the 100 fly, and a 1:48.1 in the 200 fly.


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Lane 8
4 years ago

Five years already… still thinking about you, imagining what could’ve been.

9 years ago

Such a shame to see such a talent go

Andrew Mills
9 years ago

Vance Sanders was a great athlete. I have known him for a little over 3 years now and its hard to say in words how to describe him. He would always boost your moral behind the blocks. I talked to him on the 17th of January and the last CAT meet. I will be praying for Vance. God bless his soul. R.I.P.

Mark Cianciolo
9 years ago

If anyone is interested in sending a donation, here is the link, and thank you very much.

Mark Cianciolo
Reply to  Mark Cianciolo
9 years ago

I am sorry Braden, can you please help me post the link to

9 years ago

Shocking news :
Last year at the NASA Meet in Florida a young teenager approach my son and myself and started a conversation with us. After a brief conversation I thought to myself that boy is very sociable and polite. I ask him which team he swam in and how old he was. Today, I seen this in the news. Shocking !!! Why ? at 15 ….

9 years ago

As a swim mom and someone who lost a brother to suicide, my heart breaks for Vince’s family and teammates, as well as other elite swimmers who we have lost as of late. The swimming community at large needs to make mental health education a priority – and soon. Let’s take these tragic outcomes and educate our children, our swimmers, our loved ones about the importance of caring for one’s mind as well as one’s body. Let’s end the stigma of mental health issues among athletes and make a difference in someone’s life. Prayers for comfort and healing to Vince’s family and team.

9 years ago

All my prayers are with the family. I do understand what you are going thru. Our son was killed in a house fire 8 years ago and it is a hurt that one has to live with. Honor and protect his memory

michael kenney
9 years ago

Vance was the happiest/funniest kid I have ever met. no one could tell what was going on with him since he always had the biggest smile. He never failed to put a smile on my face and make me laugh until my stomach hurt. He will be missed but never forgotten. RIP to the best swimmer and the nicest guy around.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner 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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