I am in a Dangerous Sport

For most people, the swim is the most daunting part of the triathlon. I’m not sure what it is about water but it is something that many people are or have been afraid of at some point in their life. For triathletes, it is usually a big step to move out to an open water race where there are no lines, the water is unpredictable and people are thrashing all around.
Personally, I love open water swimming, unless I get pummeled by an ocean wave like I did in Mazatlan, but that is for another post. I have always known that people die during the swim portion of the triathlon, but I never realized it was so frequent. Yesterday I was reading a review of 2008 on slowtwitch. I was shocked to read about some of the people that had passed away in the past year. Here are some stories to those who died doing what they love. My sincerest condolences to the families and friends.


Kristy Gough, 30, of San Leandro, a rising star in Bay Area cycling who won her age group at the 2004 Ironman World Championship, died March 9 when hit by a rookie Santa Clara Sheriffs Deputy who fell asleep at the wheel on a winding road in Cupertino and hit Gough and another cyclist head-on.

Dave Martin, 66, a retired veterinarian who had taken up triathlon and running later in life, was attacked by a great white shark and killed April 25 while on an early morning training swim near Solana Breach with fellow members of the Triathlon Club of San Diego.

Patrick Kane, 38, of Roswell, Georgia, a sales manager with a construction equipment company, was pulled from the Gulf Coast Triathlon swim and died en route to a local Panama City Beach, Florida hospital May 9.

Jim Goodman, 46, a Des Moines, Iowa businessman, died after being pulled from the water 150 yards from the finish of the swim leg of the amateur division of the Hy-Vee Triathlon June 22. Polk County Medical Examiner Gregory Schmunk said Goodman’s death appeared to be heart-related.

One competitor died June 21 at the TriUtah Cache Valley Classic Triathlon in Hyrum, Utah.

Esteban Neira, 32, of Argentina, died after being pulled unconscious from the Hudson River while competing in the New York City Triathlon on July 20. Many swimmers suffered stings from an unusual infestation of jellyfish.

Donald Morehouse, 60, of Provo, Utah, died July 26 of accidental drowning at the Spudman Triathlon in Burley, Idaho.

John Hobgood Jr., 52, a mortgage banker from West Windsor NJ, disappeared during the swim at the New Jersey State Triathlon July 27. His body was found in Lake Mercer two days later.

Phillip Coulston, 63, a Bay Area dentist and a college swimmer, collapsed 100 yards from the finish of the 1.5-mile swim leg of the Escape from the Rock Triathlon August 24. Efforts to revive him on the beach failed.


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