Triathlon pair die during sea swim

2013-01-22 00:00

PORT ELIZABETH — Two Gauteng competitors in the Ironman 70.3 triathlon championship in East London died of cardiac arrest during yesterday’s open sea swimming race.

By late yesterday the organisers of the sixth edition of the Spec­Savers Ironman 70.3 competition had not yet released the names of the two men, aged 29 and 37, because they had not been given permission by the families.

Many swimmers experienced difficulties during the 1,9 km sea swim, said Marietjie Jordaan, a spectator.

“During the time that I stood there, I saw the rescue boat come in at least three times with competitors on board. Some of them were carried off on stretchers, others could walk unaided.”

She said she was shocked about the deaths “because it was a perfect day. The sea was calm, the swell was not high.”

A competitor who wanted to remain anonymous said the swimmers could have died because they were not used to competing in the sea.

“Because conditions are so different and the swimmers can crowd together — especially at the turns around the beacons — it could happen that some [swimmers] panic.

“I am a cyclist, swimming is my nightmare. I remember how I felt when I swam competitively for the first time in the sea,” he added.

The sea swim is the first race in the Ironman event. The next legs are a 90,1 km cycle race and a 21,1 km half-marathon.

Race spokesperson Michael Flanagan said all attempts were made to save the lives of the two Gauteng athletes, both on the rescue boat and in the first aid tent.

Dr Izak Maree, who headed the medical team, confirmed that both athletes had suffered cardiac respiratory arrests. They were taken to hospital where they were declared dead.

Flanagan said neither of the deceased had indicated on their entry forms that they had heart problems or other medical conditions.

“We convey our deepest sympathy to their families,” said Keith Bowler, managing director of World Endurance Africa, which hosts the Ironman competition.

A minute of silence was held to remember the competitors during the medal ceremony.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.