Herndon High Students paint the landmark rock in front of the high school in honor of Jimmy McLaughlin. McLaughlin was a strong presence in Herndon High athletics and the Herndon community. His mother, Kathy McLaughlin, is a Herndon High educator of Health and Physical Education as well as the Herndon High Swim Team Coach.
Photo by Erin Murphy/The Connection
Jimmy McLaughlin, 2006 Herndon High School graduate, died after falling more than 120 feet down an elevator shaft at a South Korean hotel. Petty Officer 3rd Class James “Jimmy” McLaughlin, 28, was a member of the United States Navy and was stationed in South Korea with Underseas Rescue Command.
McLaughlin was trying to climb out of the elevator after it got stuck between floors at the Hotel International in the city of Changwon in southeastern South Korea. He was in cardiac arrest when rescue crews arrived and died after being taken to a hospital according to the Stars and Stripes news website.
For Herndon High School, McLaughlin won States his senior year in the 100 meter butterfly and second place in the 100 meter backstroke following a 17-month interlude due to a shoulder injury. He holds three records with the Herndon High Swim team. Jimmy’s three brothers -- Tommy (2005), Christian (2008) and Patrick (2012) -- were also involved in Herndon High athletics.
McLaughlin graduated top of his class at Virginia Tech and was awarded the “Hooyah Award” for honor, courage and commitment. After graduating from Virginia Tech in 2006, McLaughlin trained to become a Navy Seal. After surviving the last three days of “hell week,” he was forced to drop out of training due to a back injury but stayed close to water by becoming a Medical Navy Diver. He was stationed in San Diego where he lived with his wife, Meghan Coddington, also a 2006 graduate of Virginia Tech.
Over three years, he made six National cuts with the Virginia Tech club swim team. According to his hokiesports profile, McLaughlin “earned first-team all state, all-district, all-region, all-metro and all-American in the 100-yard backstroke, 100-yard butterfly and in the 200-yard medley relay as a senior”.
A petition to the Kingstream Community HOA Board, which has been signed by around 400 members of the community, to rename the Kingstream pool in honor of Jimmy McLaughlin, was written soon after his death.
“Jimmy touched so many lives in Herndon and throughout the swimming world. Our families knew him not only as a neighbor, but as a friend, coach, and fellow swimmer for KS, HSL, HHS, VHSL, and PVS as he competed with and coached,” according to the petition.
The Memorial Service for Jimmy McLaughlin was held on Thursday, May 26 at Coomber Hall. In lieu of flowers, an athletic scholarship will be set up at Herndon High.