Greenwich teen remembered as fierce Darien athlete

Emily Fedorko was the kind of gymnast any coach would want on his team.

She was strong-willed, competitive and excelled at the sport, said John Schwartz, the Darien YMCA gymnastics director.

The 16-year-old girl was killed in a tubing accident off Greenwich Wednesday afternoon.

"It's devastating to our gym," Schwartz said.

Emily was a member of the Darien YMCA house team, which she joined in September 2010, after leaving the U.S. Academy of Gymnastics with several other gymnasts. She was 12 when she entered the Y's gym," Schwartz said.

Emily stopped competing in 2011, but rejoined the team to train for the Greenwich High School gymnastics squad. Her younger sister is also a Darien gymnast and the two were fiercely competitive and shared a tight bond, Schwartz said.

"These guys were incredibly close," Schwartz said. "At the same time, they were incredibly competitive, not just against other athletes but against each other."

Schwartz, who learned of Emily's death around 5 p.m. Wednesday, said he never had seen athletes as competitive as Emily and her sister.

"She was a really sweet kid," Schwartz said. "She was strong-willed and I can't say enough good things about her. She was beautiful and incredibly smart."

Emily, who would be have been a junior at Greenwich High School this year, was an honor student.

Schwartz said Emily had "a lot of friends, a lot of really close friends."

On Wednesday, Emily and another teenager were speeding on a tube atop the waters of Captains Harbor, a mile or two from Greenwich Point, when they fell off sometime between 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., police said. The girl driving the boat pulling them, also 16, turned to pick them up, and the boat collided with the two girls in the water, police said.

Emily was severely injured by the boat's propeller. Her companion, 15, suffered a serious injury to her lower leg and was transported to Stamford Hospital. Her injury was not life threatening.

"It's scary when you have young kids out on the water," Schwartz said. "We can always look back and say we should have done this and could have done that but this accident was just a freak accident. It could happen to anybody."

There were two other teenage girls on the boat at the time, including the driver.

"It's a tragic sequence of events," said Greenwich Police Lt. Kraig Gray. "The girls were out having a good time."

Greenwich Time staff writer Paul Schott contributed to this report.; 203-330-6583; @Meg_DarienNews