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Young Swimmer Mourned At Vigil In Southlake

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SOUTHLAKE (CBS 11 NEWS) - Hundreds gathered outside a Southlake church to remember the life of an experienced swimmer who was found "unresponsive" at the Carroll ISD Aquatics Center Monday morning.

Friends and church leaders confirmed Elise Cerami, 13, died after being rushed to the hospital.

Vigil for Elise Cerami
Vigil for Elise Cerami (Jeff Paul - CBS11)

Witnesses said her coach, Bill Christiansen, jumped in to save her and began giving her CPR. Shortly after, they said he collapsed and suspect he suffered a heart attack.

Christiansen is expected to recover.

"Once something is taken from you, you don't really know what to say, it's just surprising," said Shivani Challakonda, a close friend of Cerami. "The second you meet her, she'll just latch onto you and always be there for you."

Friends still do not understand what happened or what went wrong.

"I didn't believe this was happening. I don't know why or how. All I know is that it happened and it's really hard to get over it," said Soleil Singh, a close friend.

One of her teammates, Griffin Rey, organized the vigil outside White Chapel United Methodist Church.

"We all love and respect her a lot," said Rey.

Her friends said while Elise is gone, her thirst for life and positive attitude will live on in all of them.

"It's hard to realize what exactly happened. We're still in shock."

The CISD Aquatic Center was closed Monday and will remain closed through Tuesday.

The Medical Examiner's office has not released an official cause of death.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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