Traverse City Record-Eagle


December 4, 2012

Soccer player found drowned in NMU pool

MARQUETTE — An 18-year-old freshman on Northern Michigan University's varsity women's soccer team who drowned was alone in a pool when she was discovered after a team workout, school officials said Monday.

Public safety director Mike Bath said a student exercising Friday in an area overlooking the pool at the Physical Education Instructional Facility in Marquette reported seeing Arianna Alioto in the water about 30 minutes after the workout ended and teammates left.

Employees found her unresponsive, and after unsuccessful life-saving attempts by staff members and emergency responders, she was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, Bath said.

A lifeguard must be present whenever someone is in the pool, Bath said. Officials were investigating where the lifeguard was when Alioto was in the pool.

School spokeswoman Cindy Paavola said the lifeguard was with the team but "as the entire team left the pool, so eventually did the lifeguard." The assumption was Alioto was with the team, Paavola said.

Bath said many answers are still unknown, such as what caused her death and why she was alone in the pool at any time. Results from the autopsy aren't expected for two to four weeks, but he said an initial observation found no trauma to her body.

Bath said the investigation will take time because those being interviewed "are dealing with the stress" of Alioto's death. Counseling is being offered to team members and coaches, as well as any student, faculty member or administrator who needs it.

Alioto, a 5-foot-3 center midfielder from Columbia, Mo., was redshirted this fall while recovering from a knee injury.

A crowd of at least 200 gathered Saturday night for a candlelight vigil to remember Alioto, including members of other university sports teams.

Visitation was scheduled for 4-7 p.m. Friday at Memorial Funeral Home in Columbia and a funeral service was planned for 10 a.m. Saturday at First Christian Church.

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