Cambridge graduate died during underwater swimming competition

The expert said such a syndrome has only happened once in the 10,000 post-mortems he has carried out.

A “fit and healthy” 24-year-old died suddenly after collapsing in his family pool during his brother’s 21st birthday party, an inquest heard.

Cambridge graduate Dominic Hamlyn, an accomplished athlete, was taking part in an underwater swimming competition when the tragedy happened, frantic friends pulled him from the pool, but he died hours later.

Dominic was the son of specialist neurosurgeon Peter Hamlyn, who saved the life of champion boxer Michael Watson when he was injured during a world title fight with Chris Eubank in 1991. At an inquest today in Maidstone, Kent, assistant coroner Scott Matthewson concluded that the promising scholar died of natural causes.

The inquest heard that Dominic was a “very fit, healthy young man” who had swum two lengths underwater before friends saw him unresponsive. Dominic had given a toast at a “well behaved” birthday party with about 40 guests on a warm night on July 27 last year.

The athlete, who had trained to start competitively rowing, then embarked on an underwater swimming competition with one of his brother’s friends during the early hours. But tragic Dominic was pulled from the water seconds after friends saw two big gasps come from his unresponsive body under the water.

Friends and his father performed CPR as paramedics scrambled to the family’s £3 million farmhouse in Crundale, near Ashford in Kent, in the early hours. Dominic was rushed to William Harvey Hospital in Kent, where he died 15 hours later.

His father said in written evidence read out at the inquest: “We were having a party to celebrate my youngest son Benedict’s birthday. “My sons gave speeches after we sat down to dinner, Dominic included.”

After dinner Dominic set off fireworks as the party moved to the families back lawn. Dominic then decided to go swimming with a Dutch friend of his brother, named Tomas Ter-Reehorst.

Mr Hamlyn said: “Dominic had certainly been drinking but he was not incapable. “It was a very well behaved party and I’m not aware of any drugs being involved. Dominic had stayed sober until the speeches. “Dominic tackled Tomas into the water, and after it quietened down they discussed how far they could swim under water.

Dr Olaf Biedrzycki, a pathologist, said that if Dominic had pushed himself further than usual there was a chance he could have caused himself to blackout underwater. But he said on the balance of probability there was a chance that Dominic suffered sudden adult death syndrome.



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Written by

Tony Winterburn

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