Student drowns in Lake Mendota

19-year-old UW-Madison student was swimming with friends
Student drowns in Lake Mendota

Authorities have identified a swimmer who drowned in Madison’s Lake Mendota as a Chicago man who was a full-time student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office said 19-year-old John Nguyen was swimming with several friends before 7 a.m. Thursday when he went under and did not resurface.

Divers found him about 15 minutes later. He was taken to a Madison hospital, where efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.

The medical examiner said the preliminary autopsy results are consistent with an accidental drowning.

The incident happened a short distance from a pier near the University of Wisconsin-Madison Limnology building.

UW-Madison said in a news release that Nguyen, known as John Vietnam, was a star of the First Wave Spoken Word and Hip Hop Learning Community. UW-Madison said Nguyen was involved in numerous organizations around campus since he came to the university from his hometown of Chicago.

UW-Madison Dean of Students Lori Berquam released a statement on the death.

“We’re deeply saddened by this tragic loss, which comes just before the beginning of a new semester,” Berquam said. “We will be reaching out to those in the university community who knew this student to offer all of our help, support and condolences.”

This is the second drowning in Lake Mendota this summer. In June, a UW graduate drowned while swimming at night. 

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