Two swimmers have died after suffering heart attacks during the swim portion of Sunday's New York City Triathlon, raising questions about whether mass-participation triathlons are safe. In separate incidents, rescuers found two swimmers unconscious roughly halfway into the race's 1,500-meter swim in the Hudson River. Michael Kudryk, 64, was pulled from the water and later pronounced dead. Emergency personnel took a 40-year-old woman to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, where she died early on Monday. The deaths are the second and third in the 11-year history of the New York City Triathlon. This year, more than 3,000 people entered the race, which has seen its popularity explode since 2000. Triathlon deaths are most common during the swim phase, and rescuers pulled 26 swimmers from the water on Sunday morning, in addition to the two who died. “It’s one of those unforeseen life events that happens when you get this many people to participate in physical activity,” race director Bill Burke told the New York Times. A 2010 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggested that open-water swims can hamper rescue attempts.
Read more at ESPN