Man dies while competing in triathlon in Florida

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — A 51-year-old man died Sunday while competing in the Game On! Triathlon in Ponte Vedra Beach, organizers told WJAX-TV.

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Officials with Game On! Race Events told the news station that the triathlete experienced an unspecified medical emergency while in the water for the swim portion of the event. The man’s name was not immediately released.

“The athlete received immediate medical attention and was transported to the hospital,” organizers said in a statement. “The sport of triathlon lost a member of our beloved community today. We share our deepest condolences with his family and friends and respect their privacy during this time.”

It is with great sorrow that Game On! Race Events confirms a critical incident during the Ponte Vedra Beach sprint...

Posted by Game On Race Events on Sunday, October 10, 2021

Melissa Lee, who participated in the triathlon, told WJAX that training could not have prepared her for the water conditions triathletes encountered Sunday morning.

“We estimated about 3- to 4-foot swells, which is pretty big for swimming,” she said. “They were coming very quickly, so it’s not like you had a long break in between them -- maybe every four to five seconds. There was a very strong undercurrent as well. … You couldn’t really comprehend the power in the water until you actually got in it.”

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She said that she saw a man getting CPR on the shore as she was finishing her swim.

“It was definitely scary to see something like that,” she said.

About 465 people participated in Sunday’s triathlon, which began around 6:30 a.m. at Mickler’s Landing in Ponte Verda Beach, according to WJAX.