PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – East Carolina lost a promising young golfer this week in Trevor Times, a Williamsburg, Va., native who died in a Memorial Day swimming accident. Times disappeared Monday in College Creek, a popular swimming spot in nearby James City.
Times, 18, was last seen at about 2:15 p.m. Monday, swimming toward a sand bar about 75 yards offshore. Witnesses on the beach saw him submerge and not resurface. According to Maj. Steve Rubino with the James City County Police Department, a search operation was immediately dispatched that included the James City County police and fire departments, a boat from the Virginia Marine Resource Commission and a Coast Guard-manned helicopter.
Times’ body was not recovered that day, and the recovery mission was suspended for darkness at 8:15 that evening. Times’ body was found by a dive team the next morning at approximately 10:20. He was about 35 feet offshore, in 6-foot-deep water, and later identified by his father, Terryl, a surgeon in Williamsburg.
“We don’t believe that his body was in that same location, because the current in that area was very strong and it’s kind of in and out and swirling,” Rubino said.
Strong currents and riptides are the norm for College Creek, where a handful of deaths have been reported in the past 15 years.
Times, who would have graduated in less than a month, played on the golf team at Jamestown High School, and last fall tied for third in the Group AA state high school tournament. He also made 10 AJGA starts during the past four years and finished T-11 at the Frederica Junior Open in 2011. He reached the semifinals of the Virginia State Golf Association’s Junior Match Play last June.
The East Carolina team found out after the NCAA Championship banquet on Monday night, after hearing about Times’ disappearance on a social media sites. Playing in its first NCAA Championship, East Carolina finished 26th in the 30-team field, at 43-over 895.
“It already seemed like he was ahead of most college golfers when it came to having a process, selecting a shot and committing to it,” said head coach Press McPhaul. “It was obvious that he wanted to be really good, and he was going to work as hard as he could to get there.”
Harold Varner, ECU’s top player, told NCAA.com that the team mood this week at Riviera Country Club went from upbeat to somber upon hearing the news.
“We sat at dinner going from, ‘Let’s make match play’ to ‘Let’s wake up tomorrow,’ ” Varner said. “It certainly put things in perspective.”
Varner, one of a small number of black golfers in NCAA Division I, said he had developed a special relationship with Times, who also is black.
“Of all the recruits, this is the first one I played golf with,” said Varner, 21, a senior from Gastonia, N.C. “When he came down another time, I spent time with him. He reminds me a lot of myself. What I admire about him is that he wanted to learn so much. He is so hungry to learn. I know this would have been a good breeding ground for him.”
A funeral service for Times will take place at 2 p.m. Friday in Williamsburg, Va. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the ECU Educational Foundation Inc./Golf.
– Julie Williams, Ryan Lavner contributed