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Swimmer Dies at Annual Lake Swim in Lake Audubon

by Fatimah Waseem May 29, 2018 at 11:30 am 6 Comments

The body of a 45-year-old swimmer was recovered Monday afternoon from Lake Audubon.

Kevin Ruby was competing in the 31st annual Jim McDonnell Lake Swim when a family member noticed he was missing for more than an hour. Ruby finished a one-mile race but never showed up at the end of race two, which covers two miles.

Police believe Ruby may have drowned. Foul play is not suspected and a medical examiner will determine the cause of death, police said.

More than 600 people participated in the event. Swimmers wore bracelets, which were used to check in and out of the event. Event organizers were not immediately available for comment.

Remi Currell, who was a guard at the event, said the event was handled professionally.

“This sort of accident is not exclusive to our race. There is no way to completely [foolproof] this type of event, and the only way I can think of making it safer is to have one lifeguard per person, which is impossible.”

Police and fire and rescue personnel searched the area from Sunday noon through the night. The helicopter-assisted search resumed Monday. Ruby’s body was found around 12:45 p.m. that day.

Nearly three years ago, a 63-year-old man participating in the swim died after losing consciousness during the event.

The event happens at a Reston Association lake, but is organized by the Reston Masters Swim Team.

The team issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon:

Reston Masters is honored to have had Mr. Ruby compete at our Jim McDonnell Lake Swims for many years. He was a very talented top finisher. Earlier Sunday morning Mr. Ruby won his age group in the 1-mile race with a time of 23:38.

As part of all our races, Fairfax County on-water EMS staff are an integral part of our operations. We are especially grateful for the timely and extensive additional support from Fairfax County Police and Fairfax County Fire & Rescue.

Please join Reston Masters in keeping Kevin Ruby in our hearts and memories as an accomplished distance swimmer.

Photo by Fairfax County Police Department and Jessica Peachey

  • Volunteer

    Normally I get invitations to volunteer either as a paddler or as a surfer. Unsure how many volunteers they had this year but it appears perhaps not enough. In past years the swim event featured 5-10 canoes and 5-10 boards plus 3-5 pontoon boats and Ffx Cty fire boats.

  • Volunteer


    Scientists are warning that entering cold water suddenly, without taking time to acclimatise, may cause abnormal heart rhythms that can be fatal. In the study, published in the Journal of Physiology, they explain how rapid submersion in cold water, combined with holding ones breath, automatically activates two powerful responses in the body which may interact and cause conflict at the level of the heart.


    In the swim event, a combination of stresses can lead to a panic attack (or something like it): the excitement of the moment, the chaos of swimming into and over other people, the chest constriction of the wet suit, the darkness and coldness of the water, competitiveness and the desire not to quit when friends and family are watching.

    • Sachin

      So sad and So true about what you said i was participant at the event and swim 1 mile thrice a week but dont know what happened on Sunday just ran out of breath in few mins I am so glad I alerted the rescue team and they got me off the race.

    • G

      The water temperature was 78.8 degrees in the morning, which is not cold. It was actually too warm for wetsuits and they were not allowed.

  • Donald

    Thoughts and prayers going to the Ruby family.



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