Family and friends of Central Valley High School junior Adam England remember him as confident, supportive and fun.
“Adam was extremely confident. He always spoke his mind. He was the life of the party,” said Ron England, Adam’s father. “He knew what he wanted to do and did it regardless of what others thought.”
Adam England died early Monday at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, less than a week after he was injured in a car crash in Post Falls.
In an email sent to the Central Valley High School community, Principal Kerri Ames thanked the community for “prayers and support during this difficult time.”
The 16-year-old was a competitive swimmer who raced with teams in Coeur d’Alene and Spokane.
England’s goal was to make the Brigham Young University swim team, his father said..
“That was his dream,” said Ron England. “You know you have to get very fast to make that team, and he was getting there.”
Adam England was especially close with the elite swimmers he swam with on the Coeur d’Alene Area Swim Team (CAST), including team captain and longtime friend Ethan Downing.
“He was the kid that loved to make sure everyone was smiling and having a good time,” Downing said.
The CAST team practiced together nine times a week, starting at 5:20 a.m. Downing and England would have to get up early to make practices, but Downing said those early mornings never affected England’s dedication.
“He was one of the hardest workers we’ve had,” Downing said. “At practice, he would always put in his all. He was very supportive.”
The crash occurred just after 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4, on a slick Interstate 90 in Post Falls.
England lost control of the sedan he was driving, hit a barrier and stopped on the right side of the road, Idaho State Police reported. While outside of the car, England’s sedan was hit by a Jeep entering the interstate. England’s car then hit him and he fell over the concrete road barrier, said Cpl. Brady Walker.
England was taken to Kootenai Health, where he was listed in critical condition. England was initially believed to have lost brain function, but when he started responding to stimuli, he was transferred to Harborview, said Micah Hudlet, the swimmer who organized a GoFundMe fundraiser for England.
Seattle University student Chang Se worked with England at Witter Aquatic Center as a lifeguard over the summer along with Downing.
The boys would try to take their breaks together so they could jump off the diving board, Se said.
“He was always super-positive,” Se said.
England was a distance swimmer whose signature race was the 400-meter medley, but Downing said he “swam a little bit of everything.”
“He went to every practice that was offered,” Se said. “He never really complained.”
“He loved swimming a lot more than most actually,” Downing said. “He put his heart and soul into it.”
Everyone on the team knew that England would be there for them if they were going through a tough time, said Se.
“He never really held himself back when he wanted to say something,” Se said. “He didn’t really care what others thought of him.”
But that ability to say what was on his mind didn’t impede on his snappy sense of humor.
Both Se and Downing called England “goofy.”
“He was the person who would always have a comeback from anything right away,” said Downing.
Se was able to visit England on Friday.
“I was pretty hopeful when I heard the news last week because I heard that he was showing signs of life,” Se said. “This time it just hurts even more because it’s for sure.”
The CAST team decided “the best way to cope with what’s going on is to be together,” said Downing.
The swimmers gathered at the house of a team member Monday afternoon to share memories of England and support each other, Downing said.
“When you go through those workouts together and the difficulties together it just kind of forces a different kind of bond between the group of guys,” Downing said. “We were really close before this happened, and we’re even closer now.”
Downing said England leaves an impression on his teammates and the regional swimming community.
Though Ron England said it’s not fair his son’s life was cut short, he believes Adam “has lived life to the fullest.”
The family hiked on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, backpacked Havasu Falls, hiked into a rain forest in Costa Rica and frequently skied local mountains, Ron England recounted.
One of his son’s favorite trips was a week in Barcelona, Spain, for spring break last year, England said.
“We’ve just been overwhelmed with lots of love,” he said.
A funeral for Adam England will be 11 a.m. Saturday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 21022 E. Wellesley Ave., in Otis Orchards. The community is welcome to attend.
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