American Water Polo Player Dies During World Masters Championships Match

Now that the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships have concluded, the Masters portion of the biannual competition is now underway in Gwangju, Korea. The pool swimming events of the Masters competition begin Monday, August 12th, but Masters water polo competition took place all last week, culminating with its finals yesterday at Nambu University.

In a Saturday match against Australia’s Perth Cockatoos, an American water polo player died after suffering an acute heart attack. According to the Gwangju organizing committee, the 70-year-old player, whose name has not yet been released, lost consciousness in the match around 2:28 pm local time on Saturday.

The athlete was immediately removed from the water and given CPR, then transported to a nearby hospital where he underwent surgery. The man died at 5:30 am the following day.

The Korea Times reports that the American player had suffered from angina and arteriosclerosis for some time.

Officials will be meeting the athlete’s family members at the U.S. Embassy in Seol to discuss returning his body to the United States.

The World Masters Championships concludes on August 18th.

Update since original publishing: athlete’s name was Bob Wake.



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1 year ago

This is tragic, prayers for the family that he can return home safely

1 year ago

Died doing what he loved to do on the world’s biggest stage. RIP

Reply to  Hank
1 year ago

This is honestly how I’d want to go.

1 year ago

Bob Wake was a great team mate and I was blessed to know him. The entire Blue Thunder Water Polo club will miss you Bob! When it is my time I want to go doing something I love – you lived well! May those left behind have peace and be blessed by your life and memory. JH

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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