Tennis Player Drowns: What Happened to Alex Rovello? 21-Year-Old Oregon Athlete Found Dead in National Park [REPORT]

By iDesign Staff Reporter May 13, 2013 3:55 PM EDT
Willamette National Forest, in Oregon, where 21-year-old tennis player Alex Rovellow drowned on Saturday. Photo: Creative Commons
Willamette National Forest, in Oregon, where 21-year-old tennis player Alex Rovellow drowned on Saturday. Photo: Creative Commons

A tennis player drowned after a diving accident in Oregon on Saturday. Alex Rovellow was a 21-year-old tennis star at the University of Oregon. He was at the Willamette National Forest with friends and other university athletes swimming at Tamolitch Falls. Rovellow dove off of a 60 foot cliff into 37-degree water and reportedly hit the surface face and chest first.

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Friends and witnesses became worried when he didn't surface after the dive but were "hampered" by the deep waters and cold temperatures. There was no cell phone service so a witness ran two miles to call 911 around 2 p.m.  Four local rescue teams worked to find the young tennis player and finally recovered his body after midnight, 30-40 feet below the water's surface.

Rovellow was the first tennis player in Oregon history to win four singles state titles and was ranked No. 24 in the country when he was in high school. He was also featured as an up-and-coming athlete in Sports Illustrated in 2010. Rovellow had a 21-8 record so far this season. 

"He was an amazing person and teammate and his spirit will live on forever with all of us who were fortunate enough to have known him. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his parents, Geri and Jim Rovello, and to the entire family," said University of Oregon tennis coach Nils Schyllander. Police do not believe that alcohol was a factor in the drowning. A memorial service will be held for the tennis star Saturday, May 18.

"Alex was so much more than a dedicated and exemplary student-athlete at the University of Oregon," said the school's athletic director. "He was a son, a friend, a teammate, a leader, whose warm personality brought everyone together and whose contributions to the extended Oregon community will resonate long after today."

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