A Lenoir-Rhyne University student drowned late Monday afternoon while swimming with college friends in Lake Hickory, school officials and Catawba County authorities said.
Vince Njoku, a 19-year-old freshman from Woodstock, Ga., had gone to Geitner-Rotary Park to celebrate the end of the school year, authorities said.
Officials said friends report Njoku jumped into the water about 5:30 p.m. but did not come back up. Rescue crews arrived a few minutes later, and divers found the student’s body about 6:45 p.m. in 13 feet of water.
Njoku was majoring in computer science, according to the school. He was a member of the football team that reached the national championship game last year. Head football coach Ian Shields issued a statement, saying Njoku was a loved teammate and will be missed on the campus.
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The university said it will have grief counselors available to meet with students and staff on Tuesday. Katie Fisher, Lenoir-Rhyne’s dean of students, said those in need of help can go to the Cornerstone Center on campus.
Njoku was a 2013 graduate of River Ridge High School near Atlanta.