Tribute to Palm Desert Water Polo Player
Family and friends of a water polo player who died last year started a fundraising swim-a-thon at Palm Desert High School.
16-year-old Christian Morales died of a massive heart attack in the Shadow Hills High School pool last June.
The Palm Desert High School student had just received a scholarship to compete with a summer water polo club.
His family, friends and school found a way to pay tribute to his life.
Blanca Morales swims with her three daughters in memory of her son, Christian.
"It's keeping my son's memory alive, and also seeing that a lot of people still thinking about him, not only me, which it really helps to know that you have such a wonderful son, he's no longer here," said Blancca.
Dozens of students dived into the pool to pay tribute to their departed teammate, classmate, friend and brother
"We know we're not the only ones who cared about him, many other people did and it's nice to see everyone and help and support so his memory stays," said Christian's sister, Stacey.
All three of Christian's sisters are on the swim team.
"Swimming is like us swimming in his honor," said his sister, Elizabeth.
"We're swimming in his memory, and we're just passing him on and everyone on the swim team remembers him for who he was," said sister, Samantha.
Christian's teammates say he brightened many people's lives.
"It's almost like he's here, and this is what he would have wanted and so I know that that's why the parents put this together for him in his memory," said Amanda Gerhardt with the Palm Desert Swim Team.
Palm Desert High School's Principal Bob Hicks says the teen was a great water polo player, a good student and a caring person.
"He was a gentleman, he truly cared about people and helped when he saw a need," said Hicks.
And this tribute swim will fund scholarships for a graduating girl and boy on the swim or water polo teams: a fitting tribute to the memory of Christian.
"That he was very enthusiastic, that he was humble, that he was always looking out for everybody else, and that he never give up, he always kept on trying, he never gave up," said Blanca.
And as friends, teammates and family finish that lap, they remember Christian, who always loved to be in the water.
Palm Desert High School's principal said they plan for this swimming scholarship tribute to be an annual event.