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Two Mass. drownings mar holiday weekend

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The scene near the drowning in Orleans on Saturday.
The scene near the drowning in Orleans on Saturday.Photo by David G. Curran

An elite college swimmer from New York who was trying out to be a lifeguard during a competition in a Cape Cod lake and a teenager from Lawrence who went swimming in a Georgetown pond drowned Saturday as hot, humid weather swept the region.

In Orleans, a man went underwater in distress during an exercise at 8:49 a.m. at Pilgrim Lake, Chief Anthony Pike of the Orleans Fire Department said.

The victim was identified as Jack Jakubek, 22, of Newburgh, N.Y., according to the Cape & Islands District Attorney's office.

Jack Jakubek.
Jack Jakubek.

Lifeguards and fire officials on duty at the lake immediately responded, Pike said.


The tryouts were part of a competition for summer jobs among returning lifeguards at Nauset Beach, Pike said.

Divers brought the man to the surface at 9:23 a.m. and attempted to resuscitate him on the shore, Pike said. He was taken to Cape Cod Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Pike said.

Orleans police and State Police are investigating, Pike said. Police did not return calls requesting more information.

Jakubek had graduated this month from the State University of New York at Cortland, where he was captain of the men's swimming team for two years and planned to return to work as an assistant coach.

"As good of a swimmer as he was, he was an even better person," said Brian Tobin, the men's head swimming and diving coach at the university.

Jakubek held the SUNY Athletic Conference record for the 100-meter breaststroke and the school record for the 200-meter breaststroke, Tobin said.

Jakubek worked last summer as a lifeguard on the cape. His teammates in New York are shocked, Tobin said.

"Everyone's devastated," he said. "He was the kind of teammate that every teammate wants to have, and a swimmer that every coach wants in the pool."


In Georgetown, a 17-year-old boy drowned in Pentucket Pond around 3:20 p.m., law enforcement officials said.

The teen, who was not identified, was from Lawrence, according to the town's parks and recreation Facebook page.

Local police got a 911 call at 2:48 p.m. for assistance at the pond at American Legion Park on Milton Way, officials said.

Georgetown police and fire departments responded and notified State Police around 3:20 p.m., said David Procopio, a State Police spokesman.

The Beverly Fire Department and its dive team also responded, according to a dispatcher at the department.

Crime scene tape was seen wrapped around a bench on a dock that extends into the Georgetown pond.
Crime scene tape was seen wrapped around a bench on a dock that extends into the Georgetown pond.Jessica Rinaldi

The victim was located around 3:41 p.m. at a depth of 15 feet, about 30 feet from the beach, officials said at the scene. Medics on scene pronounced him dead.

Pentucket Pond is located down a dirt road, next to a ballfield, playground, and ice cream stand. A large sign warns that no lifeguard is on duty.

The incident is being investigated by the Georgetown Police and State Police detectives assigned to the Essex District Attorney's office.

A neighbor who said he had gone swimming there often expressed shock at the death.

"I've never heard of anything happening at this [pond]," said Ricky McHardy, 31, a neighbor who said he has been swimming at the pond since he was a child.

The area is patrolled regularly by police, who appeared to respond quickly to Saturday's drowning, McHardy said.

Witnesses were shocked to see rescue crews arrive.

"They came out with a body bag and a sheet from the fire department," said Barbara Gosselin, 45, of Haverhill, who was attending a family event when she saw rescue crews recover the teen's body.


Gosselin said she grew up in Georgetown and this was the first drowning she knew of.

"My heart goes out to the family and friends who were here to witness it. I wouldn't wish this on anybody," she said.

Hayden Kenny, 12, said he was at the pond with a friend Saturday afternoon. He saw four people, two men and two women, there. He noticed a man waving his arms in the water but thought he was joking around, Kenny said.

The two boys left the pond, only to return later to find the dive team on the scene and a woman crying on the beach.

"We call our parents before we go swimming," Kenny said.

A sign posted at American Legion Park in Georgetown, where a 17-year-old drowned.
A sign posted at American Legion Park in Georgetown, where a 17-year-old drowned.Jessica Rinaldi

Globe correspondent Martha Schick contributed to this report. Alexandra Koktsidis can be reached at alexandra.koktsidis@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @akoktsidis. John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @draillih.