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2012-08-11 10:18 PM
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Subject: RE: Participant dies in NYC Ironman
Awful.  I think about stuff like this when I see people post questions about bumping up from a sprint or oly to a HIM or IM in a matter of months.  I love everything about triathlons (except this of course), but I also respect the bite it can have.  Not implying this guy was a beginner at all, just generalization. 

I'm doing my first HIM next week.  My ego and competitive spirit wanted to do a HIM last year after I finished my first Oly.  Instead I trained 12 months.  Saw a cardio doctor to have my heart tested (LT, Vo2, Stress-echo, etc) to make sure it can handle the stress.   I'm made a good game-plan to keep my competitive spirit in check so I don't blow up.  Looking back, I can't imagine I would have done a HIM last year. 


2012-08-11 10:41 PM
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Subject: RE: Participant dies in NYC Ironman
I'm curious if anyone knows if this race is one where the athletes jump into the water to begin the swim. I seem to remember that when the two swimmers died last year or the year before that, the swim started by jumping in. I'm wondering if the sudden shock of the temperature may have an impact.
2012-08-11 10:51 PM
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Subject: RE: Participant dies in NYC Ironman
Tragedy. I hope we get more details for example, did he drown, have heart problem? Thoughts and prayers. Here at IMFL a couple years ago, man died in swim of undiagnosed heart defect. Family sued IM for not having defibs fast enough etc, but lost in federal court, rightly so in my opinion. I know, I know, the odds are very much in favor of vast majority of people having a safe race.
2012-08-12 3:10 AM
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Subject: RE: Participant dies in NYC Ironman
Very sad thoughts go out to the family !I have wondered about this I once watched a ocean swim and a guy died on the beach and I said after seeing that I would never do a huge swim ! And here I am training for a IM - I guess percentage wise it's very low things likd this happening God bless
2012-08-12 7:58 AM
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Subject: RE: Participant dies in NYC Ironman
Horrible....I hope this was not caused by "that guy"....the over zealous age grouper climbing over others in the swim and thinking the washing machine thing is cool.    "That guy" should be feeling pretty horrible about now should that be the case.  Prayers to the family.
2012-08-12 9:02 AM
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Subject: RE: Participant dies in NYC Ironman

Sad News! May God comfort his family and friends and help them deal with this tragedy. 

I have thought about this, since there have been several swimmers that have died over the last few years, I wonder if they experience a panic attack which triggers a heart attack? 



2012-08-12 9:18 AM
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Subject: RE: Participant dies in NYC Ironman

Just awful.  Sad for the family, sad for the sport.  It could be any number of things having so little info at this point.  A number of years back we lost a friend who was a seemingly healthy, vibrant, fit 25 year old. She was casually running like she did often and just dropped, died in route to the hospital.  It was a rare and undetectible heart defect.  She had just had a full physical a month prior.

We take for granted that our bodies will just continue working as they normally do.  It's just a reminder of the fragility of life and to appreciate every bit of it.

2012-08-12 10:32 AM
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Subject: RE: Participant dies in NYC Ironman

The guy was extremely fit.  That is not the cause.  There is a post on ST about his background.  Sometimes, bad things happen and certain things exacerbate underlying issues that people weren't aware of.  It is very sad for the families.

I'm going to quote the post because I think it is good for the curious folks who don't venture to ST:

"My friend and I flew into town from overseas especially for this event. This was the sporting highlight of his year. He was one of the fittest people that I knew. Ex-special forces, counter terrorism and senior law enforcement, trained in surviving in adverse situations including in water. He was also an accomplished athlete, a 2:30 marathoner and was always on the podium. Most importantly, he was a loving husband and a father of three young girls. He was the guy who was always there to help, no matter how big or small the problem was, and was one of the pillars of our community.

We started the day together and he was fine. We talked for a long time before the race. When we got on the starting barge together he had a grin from ear to ear. He shook my hand, said "good luck, see you on the finish line", and we jumped in together. I never saw him again. They pulled me aside at T2 and told me, then took me back to our wives and children.

From what I saw the race was well organised, well handled and they did everything correctly. We can't come to terms with what happened, especially to someone who was at the top of their game in life as a father, husband, member of our community and as an athlete.

I'm posting this to try to end speculation, and I'd ask people to respect his family's wishes for privacy and to keep any personal information out of the public eye."

2012-08-12 11:34 AM
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Subject: RE: Participant dies in NYC Ironman

as posted above, guy was experienced athlete.

water was NOT wetsuit legal for the pros, so no shock of temperature.

autopsy is planned, so we will not know if there was an undiagnosed issue contributing unless the family decided to go public with that information

 

the vast majority of swim deaths have been cardiac deaths from what appears to be flash pulmonary edema - which I would say is close to what happens to some climbers at altitude.

we do not know how to predict this, and it affects all levels of racers.

2012-08-12 1:18 PM
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Subject: RE: Participant dies in NYC Ironman
I think it's tragic. Unfortunately the press loves to string "Ironman" and "death" together in the same sentence.
2012-08-12 7:05 PM
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Subject: RE: Participant dies in NYC Ironman

He was an accomplished runner:

http://www.thepowerof10.info/athletes/profile.aspx?athleteid=14454

As most of us know, run/bike fitness does not=swim fitness, but so far no idea whether he has had any tri experience yet. Regardless, one in every thousand people in the USA die every single day from sudden cardiac death. Statistically, in that regard, endurance races have a better record than the general population... believe it or not. You or I could die at any moment. There are no guarantees in life.



Edited by Rickz 2012-08-12 7:07 PM


2012-08-12 7:12 PM
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Subject: RE: Participant dies in NYC Ironman
BradyFinney - 2012-08-11 11:41 PM

I'm curious if anyone knows if this race is one where the athletes jump into the water to begin the swim. I seem to remember that when the two swimmers died last year or the year before that, the swim started by jumping in. I'm wondering if the sudden shock of the temperature may have an impact.


I did the race yesterday - it was a "jump into the water" start, but water temperature was very mild - any kind of shock from water temperature seems unlikely...
2012-08-12 7:57 PM
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Subject: RE: Participant dies in NYC Ironman
acumenjay - 2012-08-12 10:32 AM

The guy was extremely fit.  That is not the cause.  There is a post on ST about his background.  Sometimes, bad things happen and certain things exacerbate underlying issues that people weren't aware of.  It is very sad for the families.

I'm going to quote the post because I think it is good for the curious folks who don't venture to ST:

"My friend and I flew into town from overseas especially for this event. This was the sporting highlight of his year. He was one of the fittest people that I knew. Ex-special forces, counter terrorism and senior law enforcement, trained in surviving in adverse situations including in water. He was also an accomplished athlete, a 2:30 marathoner and was always on the podium. Most importantly, he was a loving husband and a father of three young girls. He was the guy who was always there to help, no matter how big or small the problem was, and was one of the pillars of our community.

We started the day together and he was fine. We talked for a long time before the race. When we got on the starting barge together he had a grin from ear to ear. He shook my hand, said "good luck, see you on the finish line", and we jumped in together. I never saw him again. They pulled me aside at T2 and told me, then took me back to our wives and children.

From what I saw the race was well organised, well handled and they did everything correctly. We can't come to terms with what happened, especially to someone who was at the top of their game in life as a father, husband, member of our community and as an athlete.

I'm posting this to try to end speculation, and I'd ask people to respect his family's wishes for privacy and to keep any personal information out of the public eye."

thanks for posting this, makes the 'death' belong to a human being, a father and a husband - it is a tragedy but death of any kind generally is.  We have all lost people to cancer, car accidents etc - it happens and it's sad.  He died doing something he loved, a lot of comfort can come from that alone.  Thoughts and prayers with the family and friends. RIP

2012-08-12 8:21 PM
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Subject: RE: Participant dies in NYC Ironman
2012-08-12 8:24 PM
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Subject: RE: Participant dies in NYC Ironman
TriToy - 2012-08-12 11:34 AM

the vast majority of swim deaths have been cardiac deaths from what appears to be flash pulmonary edema - which I would say is close to what happens to some climbers at altitude.

we do not know how to predict this, and it affects all levels of racers.

I experienced it first hand last year and I'm convinced that the vast majority of these things are "swim panic" related from my own personal experience.

I was SBR'ing for almost 9 months every day and was in the best shape of my life, swimming 2 miles a day in the pool.  I went to my first OWS, which was fortunately an organized OWS with kayaks and lifeguards.  I got maybe 100-200 yards into my swim and I was so short of breath I was almost suffocating.  I pulled up and was trying to tread water, but my heart was beating out of my chest like crazy and I couldn't catch my breath.  I kept breathing harder and harder, faster and faster, and couldn't catch my breath.  I was trying to float on my back but kept coughing and it just kept spiraling out of control.  Fortunately a kayaker saw me struggling and I was able to grab on and just lay there for a few minutes.  She slowly drug me back to shore and I was coughing up blood and was very light headed.  I felt like I was at 10,000 ft. of elevation and my lungs just weren't processing oxygen.  Even later that night I was still coughing up blood and felt very light headed.

I stubbornly didn't go to the doctor for several days, and he said everything was fine.  He said my symptoms sounded like I had a pulmonary edema and that I was fine now.

Moral of the story, practice your OWS.  The second time I went out it was better, and the third was even better, and now I have almost zero issues in OWS a year later.

2012-08-12 8:40 PM
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Subject: RE: Participant dies in NYC Ironman
God after reading this if I wasn't nervous about the IM swim I am now even
More ! Imagine having a panic attack at thf swim (which I have had in life from bad anxiety getting getter)
Part of me says this is just to much stress and strain and the other part says Like the Blazeman 'face my fears and live my dreams ' I could get hit by a bus tommorrow


2012-08-12 8:46 PM
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Subject: RE: Participant dies in NYC Ironman
tuwood - 2012-08-12 9:24 PM
TriToy - 2012-08-12 11:34 AM

the vast majority of swim deaths have been cardiac deaths from what appears to be flash pulmonary edema - which I would say is close to what happens to some climbers at altitude.

we do not know how to predict this, and it affects all levels of racers.

I experienced it first hand last year and I'm convinced that the vast majority of these things are "swim panic" related from my own personal experience.

I was SBR'ing for almost 9 months every day and was in the best shape of my life, swimming 2 miles a day in the pool.  I went to my first OWS, which was fortunately an organized OWS with kayaks and lifeguards.  I got maybe 100-200 yards into my swim and I was so short of breath I was almost suffocating.  I pulled up and was trying to tread water, but my heart was beating out of my chest like crazy and I couldn't catch my breath.  I kept breathing harder and harder, faster and faster, and couldn't catch my breath.  I was trying to float on my back but kept coughing and it just kept spiraling out of control.  Fortunately a kayaker saw me struggling and I was able to grab on and just lay there for a few minutes.  She slowly drug me back to shore and I was coughing up blood and was very light headed.  I felt like I was at 10,000 ft. of elevation and my lungs just weren't processing oxygen.  Even later that night I was still coughing up blood and felt very light headed.

I stubbornly didn't go to the doctor for several days, and he said everything was fine.  He said my symptoms sounded like I had a pulmonary edema and that I was fine now.

Moral of the story, practice your OWS.  The second time I went out it was better, and the third was even better, and now I have almost zero issues in OWS a year later.

TriToy's commented about Flash Pulmonary Edema, i went and read up on it earlier. After reading your story Tony and other first hand stories of people who went through this, its starting to sound like Anxiety is involved because its something that people have done doezens of times before but the race seems to bring it on ( i dont have evidence that this doesn't occur in solo sessions...it just appears the race is when it happens). Question is, does the condittion create anxiety after its onset, or is the anxiety coupled with the suroundings creating an enviornment that significantly increases the chances for a flash pulmonary edema?

2012-08-12 8:59 PM
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Subject: RE: Participant dies in NYC Ironman
Bnclev - 2012-08-12 8:46 PM
tuwood - 2012-08-12 9:24 PM
TriToy - 2012-08-12 11:34 AM

the vast majority of swim deaths have been cardiac deaths from what appears to be flash pulmonary edema - which I would say is close to what happens to some climbers at altitude.

we do not know how to predict this, and it affects all levels of racers.

I experienced it first hand last year and I'm convinced that the vast majority of these things are "swim panic" related from my own personal experience.

I was SBR'ing for almost 9 months every day and was in the best shape of my life, swimming 2 miles a day in the pool.  I went to my first OWS, which was fortunately an organized OWS with kayaks and lifeguards.  I got maybe 100-200 yards into my swim and I was so short of breath I was almost suffocating.  I pulled up and was trying to tread water, but my heart was beating out of my chest like crazy and I couldn't catch my breath.  I kept breathing harder and harder, faster and faster, and couldn't catch my breath.  I was trying to float on my back but kept coughing and it just kept spiraling out of control.  Fortunately a kayaker saw me struggling and I was able to grab on and just lay there for a few minutes.  She slowly drug me back to shore and I was coughing up blood and was very light headed.  I felt like I was at 10,000 ft. of elevation and my lungs just weren't processing oxygen.  Even later that night I was still coughing up blood and felt very light headed.

I stubbornly didn't go to the doctor for several days, and he said everything was fine.  He said my symptoms sounded like I had a pulmonary edema and that I was fine now.

Moral of the story, practice your OWS.  The second time I went out it was better, and the third was even better, and now I have almost zero issues in OWS a year later.

TriToy's commented about Flash Pulmonary Edema, i went and read up on it earlier. After reading your story Tony and other first hand stories of people who went through this, its starting to sound like Anxiety is involved because its something that people have done doezens of times before but the race seems to bring it on ( i dont have evidence that this doesn't occur in solo sessions...it just appears the race is when it happens). Question is, does the condittion create anxiety after its onset, or is the anxiety coupled with the suroundings creating an enviornment that significantly increases the chances for a flash pulmonary edema?

I can only speak for myself and my experience.  At first it was just any open water solo or otherwise that brought it on, but after I got more experience it never happens when I'm by myself or even training with groups.  But, during races I have to really prepare myself mentally and consciously keep my anxiety level down.  

Just a month or so ago I did a small sprint race where I went out and warmed up and did the whole swim in 8:30.  I felt awesome and was really hoping to pull an overall top 5 finish in the race because I knew I was competitive with the people racing.  Fast forward 30 minutes later starting with a group of 150 swimmers and my GPS watch was acting up so I was stressing trying to get it sync'd before the start and then I ended up right in the middle of the washing machine.  I tried to keep my cool and then my watch band came undone because I didn't fasten it properly in the rush and I'm trying to just kick and fix my watch while I'm getting swam over from behind.  Next thing you know swim panic kicks in and I'm short of breath and can't catch my breath.  uggh.

Fortunately I'm very good at identifying it right away and talking myself down from the ledge.  So, in that race I just let everyone swim by, calmed myself and then kicked it in.  Ended up finishing in 11:00 so I lost a 1:30 overall on the time I was hoping, but ultimately was no big deal.

So, in my case; yes I anxiety before and during the swim start can contribute.

Back on the topic of this thread obviously none of us know what happened, I'm just discussing a theory based on personal experience.  I feel terrible for the athlete and his family.  

2012-08-12 9:19 PM
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Subject: RE: Participant dies in NYC Ironman
It's been said many times before-- the mass swim start is the one part of the race that you can't rehearse beforehand. You can simulate it to some degree if you swim with a group, but it won't match the intensity or the size of the crowds in the water on race day. Even if you've done dozens of tri's, every swim start is different and you can only prepare so much for what it's going to be like.
2012-08-12 9:27 PM
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Subject: RE: Participant dies in NYC Ironman

jsnowash - 2012-08-12 8:12 PM
BradyFinney - 2012-08-11 11:41 PM I'm curious if anyone knows if this race is one where the athletes jump into the water to begin the swim. I seem to remember that when the two swimmers died last year or the year before that, the swim started by jumping in. I'm wondering if the sudden shock of the temperature may have an impact.
I did the race yesterday - it was a "jump into the water" start, but water temperature was very mild - any kind of shock from water temperature seems unlikely...

I did the race yesterday and saw them doing CPR on the rescue boat that took him back to shore. That was probably around 2/just under 2 miles into the swim, so I doubt that the shock of jumping in had anything to do with it, especially given how warm the water was.  And he clearly knew how to swim very well, given where he was in the pack.  Just one of those things that sadly happens on occasion, especially to very fit men around that age for whatever reason Frown

2012-08-12 9:36 PM
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Subject: RE: Participant dies in NYC Ironman

It's sad..  



Edited by KateTri1 2012-08-12 9:37 PM


2012-08-13 2:04 PM
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Subject: RE: Participant dies in NYC Ironman

It is a tragedy indeed, especially for his family who was here with him form Hong Kong to watch him compete.  I hate that it gives bad press to the sport, and in this case, NYC too.  I was there when the 2 people were coded in last year's NYC triathlon.  Flash pulmonary edema vs. myocardial infarction must be the cause in all cases.  We see things happen to youg kids in basketball and football too, although that is usually an undiagnosed cardiopyopathy.  There is no test that we can do reliably to keep this from happening.   The water is a terrible place to have a problem.

I am hearing about another death, but not seeing anything online yet.  I hope it isn't true.

2012-08-13 2:26 PM
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Subject: RE: Participant dies in NYC Ironman

I purposely sought out rough water conditions in Lake Michigan last week as I prepare for Steelhead.  I swam 1.5 miles in extremely rough water conditions and even ran into a strong rip tide.  I did this because I normally swim in a pool or a calm lake.  The conditions on the big lake pushed me all over the place.  Extremely difficult to spot (didn't help it was down pouring), waves pushing me all around.  I just focused on my stroke and kept at it.  My GPS signal showed decent sighting given the conditions.  You can see the rip tide where it pulled me out 20 yards or so.  For me it was more about getting use to extreme conditions.  Not the same as bodies bumping into you, but as close as I can get.

I do swim with a flotation bouy tethered to my body in case I need it.  I never swim in the big lake without it.  

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