The tri season started on a sad note this past weekend at Escapen from Alcatraz. Shortly after diving into the frigid 50 degree waters of the San Francisco Bay, a 47 year old man from Texas, suffered a severe heart attack and passed away despite immediate
action taken by the EMT crew.
Unfortunately, Ehilnger was not the first to die of heart problems in the swim portion of the triathlon. Deaths have been on the increase in triathlons and the vast majority of them occurring during the swim leg. This is newsletter is not intended to scare you into never swimming in open water again or competing in triathlons. Rather I want to remind you of the precautions that you can take to prevent accidents from occurring.
1. Check yourself: If you know that you have health and/or heart problems or have a genetic predisposition to cardia irregularities, make sure you get cleared by a doctor before you start training and then again before your race. An EKG will show if there is something out of the ordinary.
2. Warm up: Try and get into the water before you start so that your body can adjust to the temperature. If the water is cold, splash your face with water before getting in. This will get your body ready so it’s not as much of a shock before you get in. If you cannot get in, do jumping jacks, pushups or jump squats to get your blood pumping.
3. Try out your wetsuit: If you have not swam in a wetsuit before, make sure you get some experience swimming in it so that you can get to its somewhat constricting feel. Even a few laps in the pool helps.
4. Practice in open water: Open water swimming is completely different from swimming in a pool and can be a lot scarier. It is therefore important to get some experience in open water; it will help you soothe your uneasiness and nerves. Make sure you swim with others and there is a lifeguard near by.
5. Work on your mental game before your next open water triathlon. There are a lot of things people tend to stress about- but with a little mental prep, you can be ready for most things that come your way.
Please be safe out there everyone and keep the family of Ross in your thoughts.