California 15-Year-Old Dies In High School Swim Session Of 57 Swimmers

15-year-old Ben Curry drowned during a school swimming lesson at San Ramon Valley High School’s pool in California back in May of this year and the student’s parents are now suing the School District as well as the teacher at the scene, Aaron Becker.

Curry was one of 57 students in the water under the supervision of Becker on May 8th. Becker reportedly told the class to ‘tread water for 3 minutes’ and also warned them that he would add time should they touch the lane line, which Curry reportedly did. Per The Sun, Curry wound up slipping under the water after treading for 3 ½ minutes and wasn’t discovered even after students were dismissed from the pool.

Per the lawsuit, “He [Becker] then left the pool area without taking roll at the end of class, with Benjamin under the water, and Benjamin’s clothing and cell phone alongside the pool.”

It wasn’t until the next class entered the area under a different supervisor that the teen’s body was discovered.

The parents’ suit also alleges that CCTV footage shows Becker was distracted by his cell phone and not watching the kids.

‘I’ve learned from reviewing the video and having it enhanced that it appears that the instructor was looking at his cell phone while standing on a diving board, when he should’ve been supervising the children,’ said Andy Shwartz, Curry’s attorney. (The Sun)

This is the 2nd high school drowning death we’ve reported this month, as 14-year-old swimmer Julian Urbina died after being pulled from the pool unconscious during a Thornton Fractional South High School practice in Illinois last Wednesday, November 14th.

Urbina was reportedly engaged in ‘conditioning’ exercises with the T.F. South Swim Team when he went underwater at the deep end of the pool and failed to surface.

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Justin Wright

Two things I see here.

1. 57 kids is too many for one coach to reasonably keep track of.

2. When you ARE presented with a large group of kids like that, it becomes of utmost importance to pay very close attention.

As a club swimmer, my coach refused to leave the side of the pool until we had done a visual scan of the pool underwater. As a lifeguard who has responded to three drowning incidents, I’ve realize one simple (yet imperative) rule about swimming; ALWAYS watch the water. This situation is gross negligence on two fronts and with very basic safety rules in place, was entirely preventable.


School/school district should be held responsible. This is not an abnormal thing that happens at Northern California schools. I’ve seen this too much with PE teachers with no swimming background in charge of extremely large groups of kids while not properly supervising them. The teachers need to be certified in swim safety or not be allowed to keep swimming in their curriculum. There also need to be rules in place for a proper student to teacher ratio… 57 is completely ridiculous. This was not an accident, it’s full on neglect by the school for allowing this to happen. This is a school problem that needs to be addressed and unfortunately people are going to have to lose their lives and… Read more »


I believe it was also reported that the coach did not have current life guard certification


No required for a PE teacher doing a school pool portion. It’s one of the issues I have with CA Schools because they allow PE to do this but no requirement for teachers to have lifeguard or water safety training.


Why are there no lifeguards in CA?? My Daughter (an excellent lifeguard) traveled to San Jose to compete in water polo Junior Olympics. A teammate got a head injury with 100s of competitors, coaches, and spectators around. SHE took control and backboarded this girl and handed her off to the paramedics. ZERO lifeguards were there for this HUGE Water Polo competition. WTF CA. get it together. I live in GA and even the most trivial swim meet has MULTIPLE lifeguards focused on the safety of all in the water.

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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