Former F&M Captain Dies



By Madelyn Pennio Reprinted with Permission from the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal

A recent Franklin & Marshall College graduate and former swimming champion died unexpectedly early Sunday while visiting the campus, police said.

Police were called to the common area of a suite in Thomas Hall shortly before 5 a.m. Sunday and found Philip Rehders, 22, unresponsive, Lancaster city police spokesman Sgt. Todd Umstead said Monday.

Rehders, of Rumson, N.J., was taken to Lancaster General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

According to college President John Fry, Rehders, who graduated in May with a degree in English, traveled to F&M from Philadelphia on Saturday, arriving on campus about 8 p.m.

Fry said Rehders was accompanied by a friend, also an F&M graduate.

School officials are trying to determine what happened, Fry said, but little is known other than Rehders had been out with friends before he died.

"We're trying to put together a chronology of events," Fry said. "It's fair to say he was with friends at an off-campus apartment, but that was not all the stops."

Umstead said an autopsy was performed Monday morning. He said the coroner will determine the cause of death after toxicology tests are complete.

"We don't know anything for sure at this point," Umstead said. "We don't believe his death was related to any criminal activity. But we are labeling it suspicious. There are a lot of unanswered questions."

Rehders was captain of the F&M men's swim team his junior and senior years and holds the school record in the 100-yard butterfly. He also was a member of the Centennial Conference record-holding 400-medley relay team.

Fry said the men's swimming team won three of its last four Centennial Conference swimming championships. After each win, he said, he hosted a celebration for the team at his home.

"Phil would always be there," he said. "He was a fantastic kid and great athlete."

Citing Rehders' determination, Fry called him a model swim team captain.

"You don't get elected as a leader two years in a row if you're not," he said.

Although Rehders was successful and won many competitions, Fry said, he, like his fellow teammates, was humble.

"They are a serious, hardworking, self-effacing group," Fry said. "They don't brag about their accomplishments. They are confident in a quiet way."

Rehders is survived by his parents, Ken and Meg Rehders, also of Rumson, and two siblings.

This article is copyright of and reprinted with permission from the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal


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