Alabama Swimmer John Servati – Remembered
The University of Alabama Men’s Swim team was saddened Monday evening after John Servati lost his life due to injuries sustained at a house off campus during the severe storms in the Tuscaloosa area. The Junior from Tupelo, MS was 21 years old and his tragic death will be felt by many.
Many of us wonder how will we be remembered once we are gone and many if not all of us would like to be remembered like John Servati. “John definitely had a genuine heart,” Alabama team captain Phillip Deaton said. “He was a carefree guy who always had this huge smile on his face. He was my training partner for three years and I can tell you that while he liked to goof around and have fun, when he stepped up on the block he was intensely focused – he was a competitor and an amazing teammate. As a team, we are doing the best we can right now.”
Servati’s primary events were the Freestyle and Backstroke and he was a three-time member of the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll and a scorer at the SEC Championships. “John Servati was an extraordinary young man of great character and warmth who had a tremendously giving spirit,” UA head coach Dennis Pursley said.
Prior to coming to Alabama Servati was a U.S. Open qualifier and two-time NCSA Junior National Championship competitor. He helped Tupelo High School with four consecutive state Championships as well as set the state records in the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke and was part of the state record setting 200 medley and freestyle relays. While in high school all he wanted to do was to swim for the Crimson Tide according to his coach Lucas Smith and he did just that earning a scholarship to the University in the 2011 – 2012 academic school year. During his freshman year Servati competed in the 100 and 200 backstroke as well as the 50 freestyle at the SEC Championships and recorded career-best times in both the 100 and 200 backstroke touching at 49.57 and 1:49.22 respectively.
Not only was Servati a student athlete for Alabama but in June he was scheduled to head off to Lake Tahoe for a 10-week Christian-outreach program which he was very excited about. That was the type of person John was, he was a helper, a person that would deny himself for others. “He wanted to help. He thrived off helping others,” Lucas Smith said.
“John was so much more than a student and more than a teammate to all of us,” Assistant coach James Barber said. “He was someone that was almost larger than life with his personality, his perseverance as an athlete, the focus and determination that he has as an athlete.
Servati knew the importance of being a team player and he lived that every day. “He talked more about the team than he talked about himself. He was a servant,” Smith said. “He trained to get faster in the pool not for himself, but more for his team and that’s what his goals were. He loved the team”.
“He was a model student-athlete who excelled in his sport of swimming, his pursuit of excellence in academics, and his value as a son, brother, friend and teammate to all who knew him. Our thoughts and prayers go out to John’s family and friends as we grieve his passing.” – UA Athletic Director Bill Battle.
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