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nhc
August 12th, 2012, 01:35 AM
Another death happened in the swimming portion of triathlon yesterday.

The day before, Ironman Will Proceed After Hudson River Is Declared Safe (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/11/sports/sewage-hudson-river-ironman-triathlon.html)

Now Hudson River swimmer dies during Ironman race (http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/hudson-river-swimmer-dies-during-ironman-race/2012/08/11/ce9c0a06-e3e0-11e1-89f7-76e23a982d06_story.html)

I think the temperature was too high for triathlon.

swimthegoodfight
August 12th, 2012, 06:48 AM
do you know specifics not provided by the article?

what was the water temperature? was the athlete in a wetsuit?

does USAT have a water temperature at which wetsuits are not allowed?

chaos
August 12th, 2012, 09:07 AM
I'm posting an exchange from FB... a brief conversation relating to the article between two of the most skilled support persons I know:

M - Very, very sad! It was a well organized race with lots of support and coordinated effort. The Time Trial start released two swimmers from the barge every second and the usual start mayhem and washing machine was avoided.


G- you were on the detail?


M- I was kayak captain between 1400m-2000m. We had great boat support, great kayakers (one of them proud dad of two Ironmen racing today), great swimmers (only two had to get pulled) and good current. The swimmer who died today was almost at the finish, very tragic.


M- I always ask myself if we could have done better.


M‎- and by the way, the article claims that the "treacherous waters of the Hudson River" claimed his life. The river was calm and with a slight current with the swimmers. Perfect day for a swim.

norascats
August 12th, 2012, 09:16 AM
Many triathletes do very little training in swimming. If you run too hard, you can stop running and walk. If you're biking too hard, you can get off and walk. If you don't know how to regulate your breathing during a swim, you're in trouble.
I'm a good swimmer, but I find the bumping and jostling to be very upsetting.

jaadams1
August 12th, 2012, 12:34 PM
Many triathletes do very little training in swimming. If you run too hard, you can stop running and walk. If you're biking too hard, you can get off and walk. If you don't know how to regulate your breathing during a swim, you're in trouble.
I'm a good swimmer, but I find the bumping and jostling to be very upsetting.

I agree with this 100%. I've been a pool swimmer since I was 7 on a year round team, with only a few years of a break between 26-31. I'm 35 now, and consider myself an experienced swimmer in good shape and good health.
In OW conditions, I still get that Panic Attack shortly into the start of the race. I'm not sure exactly why, but I know how to just slow down, and relax a bit to control my breathing. Eventually I get going and am fine.
An unexperienced person in the water, who knows what happens to them in Panic Attack mode, or the mass start situations? I always try to start off to the side of the front of the pack, and haven't yet had to fight my way through a pack.

sarah_q
August 13th, 2012, 11:35 AM
http://forum.slowtwitch.com/gforum.cgi?do=post_view_flat;post=4102049

Very tragic.

ourswimmer
August 13th, 2012, 01:59 PM
Generalizing about how triathletes don't know how to swim, or don't know how to swim in a pack, is fun (and truthy, if not strictly true) but it's completely off-point for this tragedy. As you can see from reading the article as well as the excerpt chaos posted from a conversation between people who were there: (1) the race didn't have a mass start; and (2) the person died toward the end of the swim, not at the beginning. Furthermore, sarah_q's post links to a conversation mentioning that the person was a very experienced triathlete.

They had a similar death at this year's Vineman, in Northern California--a very experienced triathlete had a medical emergency toward the end of the swim, and it turned out to be fatal. In both cases, I think that a previously undiagnosed heart abnormality, or high water temperature at least in the Vineman case, is far more likely than athlete underpreparedness to have been the cause.

Rob Copeland
August 13th, 2012, 03:32 PM
what was the water temperature?According to the NOAA buoy at the Battery, water temp was 77-78F

does USAT have a water temperature at which wetsuits are not allowed?Yes

geog
August 13th, 2012, 08:35 PM
To me, the bizarre thing is that all those athletes who died had wishes, or seemed to have had wishes, that the circumstances and cause of their death be kept private. That is the complete opposite of what i would want should i die on a swim (or ...). Rather, i'd want the details of the circumstances and actual cause to be widely, freely and openly investigated/disseminated so as to help other athletes either avoid the same fate, or to help other athletes understand and gage the unavoidable risks ... "is the pleasure/enjoyment that I will get out of the race worth the risk of not being alive for my children or spouse for their future?". I know of more than one climber/mountaineer whose spouses required them to give up rock climbing and mountaineering before agreeing to start a family, so such weighings do take place.

Maybe the it is a byproduct of their ultra-competitiveness that elites (and others) want to keep the details private, i.e. don't share training/strategy/nutrition/psychology/... info that might help another athlete finish ahead. Since i am a) arguably non-elite and b) disinterested in group competitions, the by-product theory might, or might, not explain the difference.

Or maybe the wishes of the deceased athletes are just not being honored.

nhc
August 14th, 2012, 08:08 PM
Some pictures of the Ironman victim (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/dead-ironman-competitor-identified-hong-kong-andy-naylor-43-article-1.1135873) (Hong Kong cop).

mjtyson
August 14th, 2012, 08:55 PM
does USAT have a water temperature at which wetsuits are not allowed?

I did a triathlete-organized OW swim in Little Elm, TX a couple weeks ago. ALL of the triathletes competing in the 4K swim wore at least a knee to shoulder suit (sometime two-piece, sometime one-piece). One guy put a full wetsuit on. And this is in 86 degree water.

To the race organizer's credit, he announced to everyone that due to the water temp, he wouldn't allow wetsuits...but he did allow the shirts.

Now, as to the other "triathletey" things that happened, (plug coming...) you'll have to read my race report on my blog. ;)

ChrisM
August 17th, 2012, 03:42 PM
Generalizing about how triathletes don't know how to swim, or don't know how to swim in a pack, is fun (and truthy, if not strictly true) but it's completely off-point for this tragedy. As you can see from reading the article as well as the excerpt chaos posted from a conversation between people who were there: (1) the race didn't have a mass start; and (2) the person died toward the end of the swim, not at the beginning. Furthermore, sarah_q's post links to a conversation mentioning that the person was a very experienced triathlete.

They had a similar death at this year's Vineman, in Northern California--a very experienced triathlete had a medical emergency toward the end of the swim, and it turned out to be fatal. In both cases, I think that a previously undiagnosed heart abnormality, or high water temperature at least in the Vineman case, is far more likely than athlete underpreparedness to have been the cause.

This. Speculating as to why someone died in the swim without any facts supporting the speculation is, I am not so sure fun, but it is popular. It helps people think "it won't happen to me because I am not one of them." That's my theory at least. That's not always true. I am a sub 1 hour IM (2.4 mile) swimmer. Fast for those folks, not fast here, and I was pulled from a race for a very serious unforeseen medical condition that might not have ended well had there not been lifeguards there.

swimthegoodfight
August 20th, 2012, 05:25 AM
Another triathlon swim-related death in Vermont this weekend - August 18

God bless this athlete and his family

rxleakem
August 20th, 2012, 07:23 AM
Another triathlon swim-related death in Vermont this weekend - August 18

God bless this athlete and his family

Tragic indeed. (http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20120818/NEWS/308180009/Triumph-and-tragedy?odyssey=tab%7Cmostpopular%7Ctext%7CFRONTPA GE)

oceangirlinthedesert
August 20th, 2012, 04:56 PM
Undiagnosed heart issues can manifest themselves with fatal consequences during periods of extreme exertion. Athletes are not immune. Please read my article about one very experienced, 40-year old Masters swimmer whose life was restored after suffering cardiac arrest immediately after a swim workout, in the upcoming September/October issue of SWIMMER. More deaths can be avoided if we all take responsibility by getting regular medical check ups, listening to our body, preventing and treating heart conditions and learning CPR.

ALM
August 27th, 2012, 09:58 AM
Here is an article by a woman who describes what happened to her during an Ironman race. I am including a few excerpts; the full article can be read by clicking the link.



Why I Also Almost Died During the 2012 New York City Ironman Triathlon (http://www.policymic.com/articles/13194/why-i-also-almost-died-during-the-2012-new-york-city-ironman-triathlon)
By Andrea Himmel

I wanted to share something about the man who died during the latest Ironman US Championships in New York City, and my personal experience with the same medical condition he suffered from during the race.

After a year of training and focusing my life on this race, I had to pull out around mile 56 of the bike ride. I had developed what I learned was a swimming induced pulmonary edema (SIPE), a form of high output heart failure...

....I'm sharing this because I think it's really important for triathletes to understand this "high output heart failure," which has an unusual incidence in triathletes and results from this perfect storm of some or all of the following variables that are independent of your fitness/training.


Use of Wetsuit: It adds additional extrinsic compression to the extremities that shunts blood up to the core Here, I blame the NY Ironman's poor logistics as this was further exacerbated by the fact that we had to wear the wetsuit for 2 hours leading up to the swim.

Temperature of Water: It causes blood to pool into the core and out of extremities, to keep the body warm (cold is anything below body temperature, so don't think this only applies in freezing water).

Pressure of Water: Water exerts a much larger force on bodily tissues than air does, and the increased pressure forces blood from the skin, muscle, fat etc into the vessels/circulatory system.

Pre-race Adrenalin: It increases cardiac output AND constricts blood vessels moving blood toward the core.

Hydration: It increases the volume of blood cells


I am not sure what any of us can do with this information given that you can't train to prevent it, but if you are swimming and feel the onset of chest congestion, etc, it should be taken seriously.

It starts with just congestion in your chest and coughing up of what quickly becomes copious amounts of frothy, pink, and occasionally very bloody, sputum, and with that you feel a crackling/rattling deep in your chest when you breathe, and over time shortness of breath disproportionate to the exertion. This is possible in warm water, without a wetsuit, etc, so don't write it off you must stop the exertion at that point, and it will resolve itself (mine did)....

Sedonahomes3
August 27th, 2012, 04:25 PM
Thanks for all the posts - particulary Ann Lea. I'm a small framed man (5'8") and 155 lbs and in good shape (I run a 10k each morning and bike each night) and OW swim twice a week (but I am also 51 yrs old). I'm running my first triathalon in San Diego in a couple of weeks (run marathons etc. before), but figured I better research a bit the dangers associated with three separate workouts in a race -- particularly as related to swimming.

geog
August 27th, 2012, 07:54 PM
thanks Anna Lea ...

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20887912

Am J Emerg Med. 2010 October; 28(8):941-6.

Swimming-induced pulmonary edema in triathletes.

Miller CC 3rd, Calder-Becker K, Modave F.

swimthegoodfight
August 28th, 2012, 07:21 AM
great info related to the physiology and mechanics of the onset of heart failure in our athletic pursuits.

does someone on the board recall the most recent death in an open water swim event only?

These accidents are only avoidable in a perfect world. The demographics of triathletes and open water swimmers includes a large proportion of 40 - to 60-year olds including me. We typically have good fitness but can be unaware of particular medical issues.

Ken Classen
August 28th, 2012, 11:31 AM
thanks Anna Lea ...

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20887912

Am J Emerg Med. 2010 October; 28(8):941-6.

Swimming-induced pulmonary edema in triathletes.

Miller CC 3rd, Calder-Becker K, Modave F.


CONCLUSIONS:The identification of hypertension and fish oil in particular as risk factors raise questions about the role of cardiac diastolic function in the setting of water-immersion cardiac preload, as well as the hematologic effects of fish oil. Mechanistic studies of these risk factors in a directly observed prospective cohort are indicated. Fish oil? who knew?

geog
August 29th, 2012, 02:18 PM
does someone on the board recall the most recent death in an open water swim event only?


5 weeks ago in the English Channel, though maybe not the most recent:

risk - U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums


The demographics of triathletes and open water swimmers

I'd imagine that for any age bracket, there are major demographic differences between triathletes and open water swimmers, though maybe not any significant difference between triathletes and those pool swimmers who do an open water swim every now and then.

orca1946
September 4th, 2012, 02:38 PM
I read that about the channel swimmer!
I don't recall if a cause was listed for the death.

ALM
May 10th, 2013, 09:34 PM
IRONMAN Introduces SwimSmart Initiative in North America (http://www.ironman.com/triathlon-news/articles/2013/05/swimsmart-initiative.aspx)

"...In an effort to improve athlete satisfaction and reduce athlete anxiety during the swim portion of the race, IRONMAN will test different swim race starts and other course enhancements in 2013..."

jroddin
July 2nd, 2013, 12:51 PM
Article in the Washington Post today about deaths in long distance races (triathlons and marathons):

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/triathlons-may-be-especially-risky-for-men-age-40-and-older/2013/07/01/33eb5d14-df60-11e2-b2d4-ea6d8f477a01_story.html

Martel
July 9th, 2013, 11:02 PM
I hope this year everyone has a safe race that is complication free and fun. It is always a shame to see people pass this way, or during an event that is meant to be fun and challenging.

slknight
July 15th, 2013, 10:40 AM
Another one. :(

http://www.ldnews.com/state/ci_23661992/man-dies-during-triathlon-harrisburg

Although it sounds like he might have had a pre-existing condition.

knelson
July 15th, 2013, 12:12 PM
A woman who had almost completed an English Channel crossing died yesterday:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2363941/Susan-Taylor-death-Horrified-friends-realised-English-Channel-charity-swim-ended-tragedy-live-Facebook-updates.html

nhc
July 15th, 2013, 07:56 PM
A woman who had almost completed an English Channel crossing died yesterday:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2363941/Susan-Taylor-death-Horrified-friends-realised-English-Channel-charity-swim-ended-tragedy-live-Facebook-updates.html

Horrible. Understandably no one wants to give up with only 1-2 miles to destination.