Search Called Off for Rowing Coach
Catilo was preparing to go to medical school and had talked about becoming a surgeon because of his "steady hands," according to classmate Carlamae Chavez, 20, who met Catilo the summer before their freshman year.
"He always got done whatever he said he would do," said Chavez, who is president of the Organization of Young Filipino Americans, known as OYFA, which Catilo also joined.
Another friend, Cassandra Bradby, 20, added: "He was always studying and always on top of his game. He was one of the most disciplined people I've ever met. . . . When you first met him, he's kind of quiet, kind of shy. But once you get to know him, he really makes you laugh. He really knows how to have fun."
Last year, Catilo performed a dance number that ended in a dramatic pose, with his hands running through his hair. By the end of the semester, he was nominated for a gag category of "best hair" by his peers, said Kareena Balallo, OYFA's former cultural chairman.
"He was a confident, good-natured kind of guy, very relaxed," said Balallo, who is also a rising senior. "When we all found out [about the accident], we were all hoping and praying that we would hear something positive."
Instead, friends and family were told the grim news late yesterday afternoon when the search was called off. The family declined to comment.
In the afternoon, a candlelight vigil was held for Catilo at the Boathouse in Old Town Alexandria. More than 100 people hugged and cried, including young men and women who were T.C. Williams graduates or who had rowed with Catilo. They joined his parents and others in the Alexandria community for more than an hour, praying and singing "Amazing Grace" as the sun set.
Ed Cannon, a T.C. Williams teacher and head boys crew coach, addressed the participants, calling Catilo "amazing" and "joyful" and telling them that they lighted candles "to symbolize his inner light."
"He is our friend, our brother, our student, our rower, our coach," Cannon said. "Feel the joy that he always expresses. Let us support each other."
The youth crew program of the summer boosters program, which includes students from T.C. Williams and elsewhere, has been suspended until July 6. The adult crew program will resume to prepare for a meet during the Fourth of July weekend.
Tomorrow, counselors and coaches will be at the boathouse to offer counseling and answer questions about water safety.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company
Scott Morgan, an Alexandria rescue squad member, takes Gamble McGowan and search dog Tucker, from Southern Maryland, out to help search the Potomac.
(Gerald Martineau -- The Washington Post)