St. Paul’s Student Dies In Tragic Swimming Accident

A sophomore at St. Paul’s School died Sunday night, eight hours after lifeguards pulled him from the school’s new swimming pool. Fifteen-year-old Clifford Nyquist, a straight-A student and accomplished athlete, drowned in four feet of water during a routine Sunday afternoon free swim. Two adult lifeguards were on duty at the time. Nyquist lost consciousness before the lifeguards were able to rescue him from the pool. The Concord Fire Department attempted CPR, and the boy was briefly revived, but he did not show brain activity. After several hours in a New Hampshire hospital, a medical examiner told police that the boy had died. Police and the St. Paul’s School administration are conducting an investigation into the cause of the drowning. Nyquist’s parents, both prominent New Hampshire attorneys, said that their son was a strong swimmer who did not suffer from any medical problems of which they were aware. St. Paul’s School Dean of Students Douglas Dickson told the New Hampshire Union Leader that it appeared unlikely that the student dove into the water and hit his head on the pool floor. About a dozen students were swimming in the eight-lane, Olympic-size pool at the time of his drowning. The pool, part of a new $24 million athletic complex, was opened less than a month ago. Classes were canceled on Monday, as the St. Paul’s School community mourned Nyquist’s death with a number of services. “We are all devastated by the loss of this young man, who was loved by all here at St. Paul’s School. He was a wonderful athlete, a wonderful student, and mostly, a wonderful kid,” Mr. Dickson said in a statement to the Union Leader. During his first year at St. Paul’s School, Nyquist competed on the school’s varsity basketball team and junior varsity soccer team. During the winter, he raced for St. Paul’s competitive skiing team as well as the Gunstock Ski Club in neighboring Gilford, New Hampshire. In 2003, he qualified to compete in the Eastern Junior Olympics for skiing. “He was a great kid, a very talented skier, very nice kid, a polite kid, always respectful. It’s hard to come up with words,” Gunstock Ski Club Coach Kyla Welch told the Union Leader. “He was just a great role model for kids his age, a great kid to coach and very well-liked by all his peers, from all the mountains,” she continued. Beyond athletics, Cliff Nyquist proved his academic ability during his time at St. Paul’s School, ranking among the top in his class. He participated in a community service group that visited Alzheimer’s patients at the Birches, a nearby assisted living facility. Just before swimming on Sunday, he had been at the Birches with his group of volunteers. A resident of New Boston, New Hampshire, Nyquist had attended St. Paul’s School for just over one year, but he quickly made new friends at the school. Several of Nyquist’s friends sent e-mails of condolence to his parents. A memorial service was held on Wednesday, and his funeral took place Thursday morning.