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College student drowns
Man disappeared while swimming in lake
1 Drowning pic2
Hall County's Dive Team is briefed Tuesday morning on the reported drowning of a man in a lake at Gold Creek Golf Club. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

The search is over for a 22-year-old Southern Catholic College student who drowned Monday night while swimming in a lake at Gold Creek Golf Club.


Authorities have said Kevin Sinnott, of Ireland, was attempting to swim the length of the lake with a group of friends when he began to struggle about 8:30 p.m.


Sinnott was one of nine children of Kathy Sinnott, a Chicago native and Irish citizen who represented southwest Ireland in the European Parliament for five years before losing in this year's election. She traveled to the United States upon hearing the news of her son's drowning.


Dawson County’s search and rescue unit spent nearly four hours Monday night looking for the student, who reportedly grew tired and went under the water.


The unit returned with Hall County’s dive team to resume the search Tuesday morning. The body was recovered shortly after 2 p.m. in about 14 feet of water, 15-18 feet off shore.


“Some of the group tried to go back and help him but were not successful,” said Dawson County Sheriff’s Sgt. Johnny Holtzclaw. “What this appears to be is an unfortunate accident.”


Holtzclaw said there were no indications that alcohol was a factor in the incident.

Sinnott's body was sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab for examination, authorities said.


Father Shawn Aaron, president of the college, said in a news conference at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, that it is a very difficult time for students at the school.


“Death is an ally, it teaches us to live life. This young man has become a prophet to us,” said Aaron.


Aaron described the victim as a young man of strong faith and a good heart, one of the best students on campus.


He also said that the college is asking for prayers during this difficult time.


The county’s rescue team also helped a rafter on the Amicalola River early Monday.


The man was trapped on a rock, where he had sought safety from rushing water that was 3.5 feet higher than normal.


Rescuers received the call about 7:45 p.m. Sunday. A decision was made around midnight to shelter the man on the rock until daybreak.


“We were able to provide him with sheets of plastic and blankets for shelter and comfort until daybreak when we had planned to extract him from the river,” said Lanier Swafford, chief of emergency services.


But when lightning began about midnight, Swafford said, the man left the rock and authorities were able to rescue him without injury.


“He is very lucky to have survived, especially to have come out of the situation with no injuries,” Swafford said.


Staff Writer Elizabeth Hamilton contributed to this report.