ONLY ON 3: Family opens up about losing Sumner Smith this week
The family of the Baylor student who suffered a cardiac arrest at swim practice and died this week is sharing their memories with Channel 3.
Sumner Smith, 16, passed away Monday night. He was a fast swimmer and a gifted diver for Baylor School.
His mother Robin, older brother Ryan, younger sister Alex and younger brother Trey thanked the community for the outpouring of love and support over the past week.
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"It means a lot for them to be there for us and be there for him," Alex said.
On Tuesday, students from Baylor and other schools met in Coolidge Park for a balloon release. They also left notes and tied balloons to the Walnut Street Bridge.
"I went up on the bridge and read all their notes. And they all said the same thing. They knew him, and they knew the sweet, crazy, goofy kid that we knew. I don't think words can say how beautiful it was," Robin said.
Sumner was a junior at Baylor and had just received his driver's license this past summer.
"We won't be able to drive in the car with him anymore. And have all those family moments will all the children," Alex said.
"He was always the one who would come to you. He would always be the one to cheer you up and be there," Trey said.
Sumner's family said he excelled in every sport he tried but found his passion and focused on swimming and diving. He was a member of the 2014 and 2015 Baylor state championship swim team and placed 11th in the 2015 state diving competition his sophomore year. His family says he loved his team and coaches and they loved him in return.
"I know this was hard on them too, because he was like a child to them. They knew him since he was little bitty. You know 2, 3, 4 years old, he's been around a pool and been around them. And they're such a close group, they really are family," Robin said.
The Smith's thank the Baylor community, Sumner's coaches, emergency first responders, hospital staff and the Chattanooga community for its support this week.
A memorial service will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Baylor School Alumni Chapel.