MELVILLE, N.Y. — Marc William Dawson had yet to ship off to the Navy when he died from pushing himself to be among the elite.
Dawson, 17, of Greenlawn, never recovered after passing out underwater last week as he practiced holding his breath in a Huntington YMCA pool.
He was set to ship out in September and hoped to qualify to train as a Navy SEAL, his sister-in-law, Mariel Dawson, said Thursday night. “He wanted to wear that suit and come home and be a proud soldier,” Dawson said.
The Harborfields High School senior had been submerged for about two minutes on Feb. 18 when fellow lifeguards spotted him face-down in the pool, said Det. Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick of Suffolk’s homicide squad. He had vomited into the water.
Investigators have ruled the drowning an accident, and they do not suspect any foul play, Fitzpatrick said.
Dawson had been on duty as a lifeguard at the Y the day he drowned, but he had gone on a break and gone underwater to hold his breath, Fitzpatrick said. After about two minutes, Dawson signaled fellow lifeguards on duty.
“They check on him, and he waves to them and points to his watch,” Fitzpatrick said.
Moments later, Fitzpatrick said, “he’s unconscious under the water, face-down.” Other lifeguards tried to resuscitate him by administering CPR. Dawson died Monday, at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, police said.
Mariel Dawson of Glen Cove said she’ll always remember her brother-in-law. She said he dreamed of life in the SEALs.
A recruit for the SEALS must pass a rigorous screening test, including push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups and a host of aquatic requirements, according to a Navy recruiting Web site.
“He wanted to be very much involved,” Mariel Dawson said. “He wanted to save lives.”
And even in death, Marc Dawson got his wish.
Since his death, five patients’ lives have been changed, she said.
“His heart was given to a man who had four hours left to live,” Mariel Dawson said.