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23-Year-Old College Swimmer Dies Suddenly - No Cause of Death Given

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Ty Wells, a recent graduate of the University of Arizona and a member of the university’s swim team, died unexpectedly on Friday. He was 23.

The cause of his death has not been disclosed, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

“Several people close to the program [said] that rumors circulating that the death was caused by a motorcycle accident are untrue, and that the Arizona medical examiner is still working to determine the cause of death,” SwimSwam reported.

A statement posted on Arizona’s athletic department website said Wells swam for the university from 2018 to 2022.

“On behalf of the entire University of Arizona community, I want to extend our heartfelt condolences to the Wells family along with Ty’s friends, teammates, classmates and colleagues,” said vice president and director of athletics Dave Heeke.

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“Ty was a tremendous young man who proudly represented the University of Arizona in the pool, classroom and community. He was a light that shined bright in the lives of everyone he came across, and we will keep him and his loved ones in our thoughts during this incredibly difficult time.”

Wells is still listed on the Arizona swim roster as a fifth-year student.

In a GoFundMe appeal, Ian Ingram wrote, “Our Arizona Wildcat swimming family was devastated at the sudden passing of one of our most adored swimmers this past Friday.

“He was a guiding light to all of his friends and teammates as well as to all of us parents. He brought out the best in all of us and cared so deeply for all of his friends. His spirit was contagious, his smile lit up a room and he was a big brother to so many.”

“He was an incredible young man who left his mark on all of us. He will be remembered by all of us with love in our hearts, FOREVER!! We are all better for knowing this beautiful young man.”

Wells was from Manteca, California, and graduated from Ripon High School. There, he set school records in the 100 butterfly, 100 breaststroke, 50 freestyle, 200 and 400 freestyle relay, and 200 medley relay, according to the Star.

The Arizona Desert Swarm reported that Wells specialized in the breaststroke at Arizona.

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“During the 2022 Pac-12 Championships he set personal bests in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter breast, and last June competed in the USA Olympic Team Trials in Omaha for the 2022 Tokyo Games. His most recent meet was the Toyota US Open Championships Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in Charlotte, where he competed in the 100- and 200 breast.”

Wells earned a bachelor’s degree in health sciences and physiology in May 2022, according to the Star. He was planning on pursuing a career in physical therapy or sports medicine.

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Lorri Wickenhauser has worked at news organizations in California and Arizona. She joined The Western Journal in 2021.
Lorri Wickenhauser has worked at news organizations in California and Arizona. She joined The Western Journal in 2021.




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