Fort Worth

Trial begins for assistant swim coach accused of ignoring a child while she drowned

Elise Cerami was a 13-year-old who died quietly June 20, 2016.

Cerami drowned during a routine swim practice at the Carroll Aquatic’s Center in Southlake surrounded by her teammates and coaches.

“No one heard her drown, no one saw her drown and no one was actively scanning the water,” Cerami’s mother, Lori Cerami, said in a drowning prevention video done for Cook Children’s Medical Center.

Testimony is expected to begin Tuesday in the trial of her assistant swim coach, Tracey Anne Boyd, 51, a former Carroll school district employee.

Boyd was charged with abandonment and endangering of a child by criminal negligence, a state jail felony, in a direct indictment on June 29.

The indictment alleges that Boyd failed to “watch or observe Elise Cerami while [Cerami] was swimming” and failed to ensure that she was being supervised by someone else.

When her teammates realized she hadn’t surfaced, they pulled her out, and staff members administered CPR while awaiting paramedics.

Cerami was taken to Baylor Regional Medical Center in Grapevine before being transferred to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, where she was pronounced dead.

Boyd’s LinkedIn page at the time said she was an assistant coach for the Nadadores for about 18 months before leaving in February 2017.

Boyd’s attorney, Dan Hagood, said then that Boyd was “devastated” by Cerami’s death, “but she’s also devastated that there are criminal charges that flowed from these actions.”

A year after the drowning, Cerami’s mother spoke to the Carroll school board and asked trustees to push for higher safety standards at the district’s aquatics center, including having swim coaches receive lifeguard training through the American Red Cross.

This story includes information from Star-Telegram archives.

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