Coach says 'Peter' brought team together with humor

Published  4:44 PM HST Oct 07, 2012
Frank "Peter" Chi
HONOLULU -

The death of a University of Hawaii athlete has left the swimming team shocked.  Frank "Peter" Chi, 19, was known as a scholar and an inspirational team member.

There is an old video of Chi giving an acceptance speech for winning an award for being "most inspirational."

In the video, Chi said, "Anything can happen to anybody. What you really have to do is just live your life to the fullest. Have no regrets and don't take anything for granted because you never know."

In the home season-opening meet on Friday, he placed fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke for the University of Hawaii.

On Saturday, Peter didn't show up for the second day of the meet.  The team found out after the win that Peter had passed away.

"Losing Peter was the same as losing a family member. It was pretty hard to deal with.  We were in the team room, and everyone immediately started crying and bawling," said Peter's teammate Mitch Reed.

His head coach, Victor Wales, says Peter had Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, a heart disorder. He said Peter had a heart episode two years ago, but survived it and went back to the team stronger.

"He went from being a walk-on swimmer, to a scholarship athlete, to a finalist at our conference, to achieving United States National Time, which is the highest thing you can get as a swimmer," said Wales.

The coach said Chi brought the whole team together with his humor, and he will always remember Peter as the team's inspiration.

Wales said, "He knew it, and everyone knew the risk he was putting himself at, but that was Peter."

Peter's teammate Cody Miller said, "We want to now do it not just for ourselves and for the team, but for Peter too.  We want to try and win conference for Peter."

Wales said UH's athletics department is planning a memorial later this week.

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