Wamego reaches $350K settlement with family of late swimmer who died at indoor pool

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The family of a late Manhattan man, who drowned last year at the Wamego Indoor Aquatics Center, has reached a settlement with the Wamego city government.

A joint statement from the family of Thomas (Wyatt) Balman and the Wamego city government Tuesday, announced that John and Seana Balman received a $350,000 pre-litigation settlement for the wrongful death of their son.

The 20-year-old Balman, was an Academic All-American swimmer at Soka University in southern California, who fainted while swimming laps at the pool and drowned on Oct. 13, 2020. Riemann Injury Litigation, the family’s legal counsel, says Balman had a pre-existing medical condition that causes fainting.

The law firm argued that the two lifeguards on duty failed to perform their duties adequately. The firm says security footage showed Balman swimming for about a half hour with no trouble before the incident, when he began swimming erratically then stopped moving. He was underwater for six minutes, according to the firm, before his sister, rather than the lifeguards brought him above the water.

As part of the settlement, the Wamego Aquatics Center is updating its safety policies and regulations.

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