Victor Swim Club devastated after ‘swim dad’ killed by drunk driver

[anvplayer video=”5097839″ station=”998131″]

VICTOR, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Victor Swim Club community is devastated over the tragic loss of "swim dad”, 52-year-old Steve Kneeland.

Kneeland was killed by a drunk driver in Parma on Sunday night.

"As a staff, as a club family, we were shattered. Heartbreaking doesn’t even begin to describe the process,” head coach for the Victor Swim Club, Michael Murray told News10NBC Reporter Stephanie Duprey.

Murray said Kneeland’s personality was larger than life. Kneeland’s two young boys swam for the club. Murray says Kneeland was always quick to volunteer no matter what.

That he was the number one cheerleader for his kids in and out of the pool. Kneeland was the kind of swim dad to tell any kid, to "just keep swimming".

“He had that unique ability to make you feel like you knew him forever when maybe you only knew him for a couple months,” Murray said, deeply saddened.

Kneeland was an Army veteran, who is described as the ultimate "swim dad".

"He was the loudest cheerleader in the stands. He was the parent that got all the other parents up on their feet when our kids were in a close race, he was a parent leader and just a wonderful person,” Murray said.

Kneeland leaves behind his wife, Jamie, and their two young boys, Noah and Eli, who are 10 and 12.

"The two most important things to Steve for his sons were attitude and effort,” Murray added.

The crash happened on West Ridge Road Sunday night. Investigators say James Jacobs was driving drunk and traveling the wrong way when he hit Kneeland’s car head-on. Police say Jacobs is charged with DWI and vehicular manslaughter. The Kneeland family lives in the Buffalo area, and would regularly travel to Victor to swim. They were headed home from a championship meet the night of the crash.

"Noah and Eli had competed remarkably well. Noah in fact, had broken a long-standing Victor Swim Club record. You could tell the family was on cloud nine,” coach added.

Murray said Steve had the ability to light up a room in ways that are irreplaceable.

"This is a family that leads with service, they lead by example they give so much back to the community that they live in and our club, this is like losing a family member,” Murray said.

There is a GoFundMe set up for the family.