Warm tributes have been paid to a young Co Armagh man who tragically died after collapsing at his local swimming pool.
Christopher Rogers – a former member of Armagh Swimming Club – was rushed to hospital following a training session at Orchard Leisure Centre in Armagh city on Friday night.
Doctors battled to save him, but the 20-year-old sadly passed away on Saturday morning at Craigavon Area Hospital. It is understood he had no underlying health issues.
The council-owned leisure centre is to remain closed until further notice as a mark of respect.
Christopher, a former pupil of St Colman’s College in Newry, has been described by those who knew him as “one of the nicest guys” you could ever meet.
Friend and teammate Lachlan Mackey paid a moving tribute to Christopher on social media, posting: “Being able to swim with Chris for a few years taught me so much both in and out of the pool. One of the most gifted swimmers the Orchard Leisure Centre has ever seen, and one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met.
“He had so much going for him and had a positive impact on anyone he’s ever met.”
Christopher’s heartbroken brother Oisin revealed he made it to the hospital just minutes before he died.
He told the Armagh I: “Christopher’s heart had stopped beating and the doctors had stopped working on him. At that point my mother Teresa held his hand and spoke into his ear, ‘Christopher, please wake up, I love you’.
“After this, his heart started and he started breathing by himself. For two-and-a-half hours he fought bravely to allow us enough time to say goodbye to him.”
Ulster Unionist councillor Gordon Kennedy, who knows Christopher’s family, said they have been left “heartbroken” by the tragic loss.
He added: “It’s an awful shock for the family and the wider community in the Armagh area. As a father myself, I can only imagine the pain they are going through.”
Christopher leaves behind his parents Malachy and Teresa and brothers Oisin and Michael.
His funeral is to be held in the church of St Patrick, Ballymacnab, at 11am on Wednesday. He will be buried in the graveyard there.