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UMass Struggles With Swimmer’s Death

January 12, 1996

AMHERST, Mass. (AP) _ The University of Massachusetts swimmer who died after collapsing at a swim meet was mourned by classmates Thursday and remembered by his coach as the ``epitome of what a student-athlete should represent.″

Greg Menton, a 20-year-old junior from Dundee, Ore., who was also on the school’s water polo team, was pronounced dead about an hour after an apparent heart attack Wednesday at a meet at Dartmouth in Hanover, N.H. Autopsy results were not available Thursday.

``The world has lost a great person,″ swim team co-captain Jeff Little said at a news conference Thursday. ``It’s so strange that 24 hours ago I was sitting, joking, laughing with one of my friends. Now, today he’s gone.″

Team physician Dr. Daniel Clapp said he had given Menton three annual physicals, most recently Aug. 19, and had never detected a hint of heart trouble.

``He had successfully competed in a vigorous water polo season and had several top performances in swimming meets already this year,″ Clapp said. ``There was no reason to believe this incident would occur.″

Menton was the only student in the history of the UMass athletic program to have a full scholarship in water polo and swimming.

His swim coach, Russ Yarworth, said Menton was ``the epitome of what a student-athlete should represent.″

``Greg was a goal-oriented athlete,″ the coach said. ``He wanted to become one of the few athletes in the nation to qualify for two different NCAA championships.″

Menton held UMass school records in the 100-yard backstroke (51.38 seconds) and the 100-yard butterfly (50.14). He swam the anchor leg of the 200-yard medley relay (1:33.71), which broke the school record at the 1995 Atlantic 10 Championships.

As a member of the university’s water polo team, which this fall reached the final four for the squad’s highest finish ever, Menton set the school record for the most steals in a season (63) and scored 40 goals and 29 assists.

Menton was majoring in sports management and had been named to the 1994-95 UMass Athletic Director’s Honor Roll for academic achievement.