A celebrated athlete mysteriously died in the Virgin Islands. Here’s everything we know about Jamie Cail’s sudden death
One of the top high school swimmers of the 1990s has been found dead in the US Virgin Islands. Jamie Cail was only 42 years old and the cause of death remains a mystery.
The body of the retired swimming champion was discovered in the home she shared with her boyfriend in St John on 21 February, local police say.
Ms Cail, originally from Claremont, New Hampshire, was part of a relay team that won a gold medal at the 1997 Pan Pacific Championships before she enrolled at the University of Maine and competed as part of its swim team in the 2000/01 academic year, according to ABC News.
She’s being remembered as “one of the best high school swimmers in the country in the 1990s”.
This is everything we know about Jamie Cail:
Case under investigation
Local police said in their statement announcing her death that the case is under review by the Criminal Investigation Bureau but has offered few other details.
Mr Cail’s boyfriend, who remains unnamed, returned from a bar at around 12.08am on Tuesday “to check on his girlfriend,” finding his partner lying unresponsive on the floor, the police statement said.
A friend helped him to get her into a car and she was taken to the nearby Myrah Keating-Smith Clinic.
She was declared dead on arrival at the scene, after CPR attempts and a call to 911. Her boyfriend identified her after her death was declared. Police were notified of her death at around 2.39am, authorities said.
Loved ones remember Cail
“She was just a very beautiful person,” a friend told ABC affiliate WMUR out of Manchester, New Hampshire. “She had a huge heart. She was really loving and kind and well-loved and popular on the island and everybody knows her.”
“Everyone from the, you know, older generational, local families to the younger people, everybody loved her,” the friend said, adding that Ms Cail had been working at a coffee shop on the island.
Offering further background on Ms Cail’s career as a swimmer, Swim Swam states that, in addition to her 1997 Pan Pacific relay gold, Ms Cail also took a silver medal at the 1998/99 FINA Swimming World Cup in Brazil in the 800 freestyle as part of the US Swimming National B Team.
She also swam for the Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida, where she remains a team record holder in a number of disciplines within the 15-16 age group, before moving to Huntington Beach, California, to train with the Golden West Swim Club, where she won two state championships races before relocating again to Maine for university.
Jessica DeVries wrote on Facebook that Ms Cail was her cousin.
“We are all devastated as a family. Pat and Gary, Jamie’s parents are living in Maine,” she wrote.
“They are absolutely shook to the core. We are all mourning together and are unbelievably grateful and blessed by the outpouring of love and uplifting experiences you are sharing with us,” she added.
Jooyoung Lee shared his memories of his former teammate on Twitter.
“Very sad to hear that my [high school] friend and teammate, Jamie Cail ... has passed away,” he tweeted.
Very sad to hear that my hs friend and teammate, Jamie Cail (in the middle with the Bolles suit), has passed away. Jamie had an unmatched work ethic. She left everything in each practice and became a world class distance swimmer through grit. Rest in peace to a real one 😞 pic.twitter.com/IZ1lE4U2IS
— Jooyoung Lee🥋 (@theyoungjoo) February 22, 2023
“Jamie had an unmatched work ethic. She left everything in each practice and became a world-class distance swimmer through grit. Rest in peace to a real one,” he added.
“I remember we used to do dry land training to supplement swimming. One set was 10 x 1 minute rapid jumps while holding weights over one’s head. Most of us would hold 10 pound weights. Jamie would hoist a 45 pound plate above her head and push through pain. She was a real one,” he said.
He added that “my friend, Ashley Ellis (on the far left) shared with me on Facebook that I took this photo after they broke the national high school record in the women’s 4 x 100 Freestyle relay. Just feeling all kinds of sad today, realizing how life takes us all in different directions”.