According to Ousainou Senghore’s friend Robin Ejdeholm, Senghore was past the third sandbar off the waters of South Padre Island when he started to struggle. The current was powerful and kept dragging him out further as the waves repeatedly struck him. He struggled to swim back but by the time the lifeguards came, it was already too late; he was nowhere to be found.
On July 4 the churning SPI waters claimed a life as Senghore, a former University of Texas at Brownsville soccer player, drowned while swimming in the Gulf of Mexico.
That day, emergency crews responded to a swimmer in distress near the third sandbar close to Clayton’s Bar and Grill. There they learned the 27-year-old had gone under the water and not come back up.
The Coast Guard and lifeguards on the beach scoured the water for nearly two hours before he was found.
Senghore was not a Valley native though he lived in Brownsville. He was born in Banjul, Gambia and his hometown was Kotu, Gambia in West Africa. He is the son of Ebrina and Awa Senghore.
According to Senghore’s friend Ejdeholm, a 25-year-old Sweden native, Senghore was a strong swimmer and his drowning was unexpected. Ejdeholm was with his friend on the day he passed.
“We were together at the beach,” the UTB student said. “Ous loved the water and would always go in. This time he went a little bit too far out and he didn’t respect the current.”
The two had been friends since their time playing soccer for UTB in the spring of 2011, when Senghore joined as a new recruit from Barton Community College in Kansas. His personality not only made an impression on his fellow players but also his coach.
According to UTB Coach Dan Balaguero, Senghore or Ous, as he was known to his friends, was a very caring person. Balaguero knew Senghore for about two and a half years though he only played with UTB for the 2011 season. In total Senghore spent four semesters at UTB and graduated December 2013 with a degree in business.
Though Senghore wasn’t a Valley native Balaguero explained he loved the area, especially Brownsville.
“He was the type of person who had a great energy; he was a hard worker, a good defender and a good athlete,” Balaguero explained. “We had been watching him for a while; he played at Barton Community College. He played for us for only a short time because he ran out of eligibility.”
According to friend Juan Treviño, even though Brownsville was not his hometown Senghore had close friends at UTB. Treviño had known Senghore since he arrived on campus and according to him the two formed a close friendship.
“He was an amazing person. Good heart, and intelligent,” the 44-year-old said. “He had this glowing personality that shown through his smile. He was an angel, he brought happiness.”
A memorial service was held June 7 for Senghore at UTB. Dressed in white, friends and family released balloons as a token of remembrance. His brother flew in from St. Louis to escort Senghore back home to his family in Gambia. As a mark of appreciation from the athletics department and UTB, Senghore’s brother was presented with a jersey and a soccer ball signed by Senghore’s old teammates.