RANCHO CORDOVA (CBS13) —Search and rescue crews pulled a Granite Bay man from Lake Natoma on Tuesday.
He had been missing for more than 24 hours after witnesses say he fell out of his boat.
Investigators with the State Parks Department say John Hooten, 67, fell from his rowing scull Monday morning and drowned.
“It’s a huge loss,” said Julien Geluk, a friend and neighbor of Hooten.
Geluk raced with Hooten ever since they became neighbors eight years ago.
“We pretty much hit it off straight away,” he said.
Hooten lived and breathed rowing. He coached the first US women’s Olympic rowing team in the 1976 Montreal Games. His future wife was a member of the team.
“His saying would always be, ‘today I want to get the rating up.’ He always wanted to go 100 percent,” Said Geluk.
On Monday, Hooten fell from his boat. It’s unclear why. His rowing partner tried to save him, but couldn’t.
“They sit backward and he didn’t realize he was out of the boat until he passed him,” said Richard Preston the Folsom Superintendent with California State Parks.
On Tuesday, dozens of people came to the shoreline to wait for Hooten to be pulled up. Many of them were too upset to talk.
“He was always the one who brought the energy,” said Geluk turning away in tears.
The man who gave 100 percent in athletics didn’t stop there.
Hooten volunteered with the boy scouts, and he coached a small swim team in Granite Bay to several championships.
“It was such an accomplishment and what he gave to the team, that they named the scoreboard after him,” said Geluk.
With dozens of accolades and medals to his name, Geluk says inspiring others is Hooten’s biggest achievement.
“Very humble, always giving, never wanting anything in return,” said Geluk.