August 31, 2016

No New Information About Swimmer’s Death At Community Park Pool

Since the August 20 death of 24-year-old Colin Simonelli of Princeton, who was found “unresponsive” at 2 p.m. in the shallow part of the main swimming pool at Community Park, the most pressing question has been how this could have happened on a busy Saturday afternoon with 12 lifeguards on duty, two at the main pool. According to the town’s spokesman, municipal administrator Marc Dashield, the matter is currently under investigation by the Princeton Police Department. A preliminary autopsy has been completed, but no information about any cause of death is likely to be announced until there are toxicology results, which could take “between six and eight weeks.”

In the words of the original release, “pool personnel initiated life-saving efforts rescuing Mr. Simonelli from the pool and beginning medical treatment. The Princeton Police Department along with the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad responded and assisted with lifesaving efforts. Mr. Simonelli was transported to the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro where he was pronounced deceased later that evening.”

Interviewed by telephone, Princeton Council’s liaison to the recreation department Jo Butler pointed out that Colin was a pool member, an active user, and a good swimmer, and that there appeared to be no evidence of “horseplay” or “foul play.” She called it “a tragic event not just for the family but for the community,” and praised Gary DeBlasio at Corner House for being available 24/7 for small group meetings or one-on-one with lifeguards or anyone else at the scene who might be in need of counseling.

The death appears to be the only such water-related fatality since the pool opened in 1967.

According to the obituary Town Topics received by way of Mather Hodge Funeral Home, Mr. Simonelli was born in Princeton where he was a lifelong resident except for three years in Pittsburgh. He was “a lovable and loving son, grandson, brother, cousin, and friend, whose heart, laughter, compassion, and courage will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him.”

Mr. Simonelli was a 2010 graduate of Princeton High School majoring in philosophy and social policy at UMass Boston. His mother Susan Simonelli says “Colin was very much looking forward to returning to school the following week.”

That would have been this week.