A 40-year-old woman who suffered a heart attack during the swimming leg of yesterday's New York City Triathlon has died, the AP reports. According to Triathlon director Bill Burke, the woman hailed from Elmhurst, Illinois, and went into cardiac arrest twice. Michael Kudryk, 64, of Freehold, New Jersey also suffered a heart attack during the swim and was pronounced dead yesterday at St. Luke's. With these deaths, there have been three total in the 11 years that the Triathlon has been held—the first being the 2008 death of a 32-year-old man during the swim.
"Nobody goes into this event expecting this type of tragedy," Burke told the Times, "It's one of those unforeseen life events that happens when you get this many people to participate in physical activity." Last year the AMA released a report on triathlon deaths that found that 14 people died from competing in them from 2006 to 2008, 13 of them during the swimming leg, and 7 out of 9 of those people who had autopsies possessed "cardiovascular abnormalities."
The report goes on to detail why the swimming portion is more dangerous than the biking or running legs:
According to the Post
Because triathlons begin with chaotic, highly dense mass starts, involving up to 2000 largely novice competitors entering the water simultaneously, there is opportunity for bodily contact and exposure to cold turbulent water.3 Triathlons also pose inherent obstacles to identifying distressed athletes and initiating timely resuscitation on open water.
, "Kudryk, a metal-company executive," was an avid athlete and he "and his sons were in the relay-team division. He swam, as sons Michael, 40, and Christopher, 36, waited to handle the cycling and running portions."
This year, the Triathlon only allowed 20 swimmers to begin at a time, which one participant said "was very easy; you usually get kicked or whacked, and that didn't happen to me." Another participant was hospitalized yesterday for gashes on her back, legs, and elbow after striking a pothole on her bike while riding on the West Side Highway.