Beach rescue
Shock and disbelief on Santa Barbara’s East Beach. (John Palminteri / KEYT News photo)
Marcie Kjoller

Marcie Kjoller

Authorities have released the name of the swimmer who died Sunday after being pulled from the water in distress at East Beach.

The victim was Marcie Fuller Kjoller, 50, of Santa Barbara, according to Kelly Hoover, a spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Coroner’s Bureau.

Kjoller, a former champion collegiate swimmer at UCSB, was a teacher at Santa Barbara Charter School, according to Laura Donner, the school’s director of education.

Emergency personnel were dispatched shortly before 10 a.m. Sunday to the shoreline near the volleyball courts, according to the Santa Barbara Police Department.

Kjoller had gone to the beach with a group of friends to swim, and was found in distress in the water.

She was brought to shore and CPR and other life-saving efforts were undertaken, but Kjoller eventually was declared dead at the scene.

Kjoller taught first and second grades at Santa Barbara Charter School, which operates on the Goleta Valley Junior High School campus.

“Marcie was a wonderfully enthusiastic, caring, and kind teacher,” Donner told Noozhawk. “Marcie was a teacher in our SBCS HomeBased Partnership program for 11 years, before moving to the classroom program this year.

“She brought so much joy with her each day through her bright smile, loving hugs, and warm sense of humor. Marcie dedicated each day to helping the kids in her class and being the best teacher she could be for them.

“We grieve the loss of a dear colleague and friend, and extend our thoughts and prayers to Marcie’s family.”

Counseling support services were mobilized for staff and families on Monday, which was teacher in-service day, Donner said.

Counselors were meeting with teachers, staff, and families, and will provide counseling support for students and families on Tuesday and throughout the next few weeks, Donner added.

Kjoller was a three-time NCAA All-American who helped the Gauchos to four consecutive Big West Conference women’s swimming titles. She remains among the best freestylers in school history, according to the university. 

The Coroner’s Bureau is investigating the cause of death.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.