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Man dies during swimming leg of Rochester triathlon

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A 56-year-old Rochester man died during the swimming leg of the Rochesterfest Triathlon Sunday morning.

The man, who hasn't been identified, was swimming the sprint course at Foster Arend Lake, the Rochester Post Bulletin reports. It was the first leg of the race, which also included cycling and running.

Another competitor noticed the man was struggling and helped keep him above the water until officials got to them, ABC 6 says.

Attempts to resuscitate the man failed.

This is believed to be the first race-related death in Rochester that police can recall, ABC 6 says.

But it's not the first swimming death during a triathlon. From 2003 to 2011, 43 athletes died during a race event – 30 of those fatalities came during the swim, USA Triathlon's 2012 report found.

Fatality rates weren't influenced by the experience of the triathlete or the length of the swim, the report said. In fact, data available at the time of the study suggests swimming fatalities were caused by episodes of sudden cardiac death.

Dr. Larry Creswell, who oversaw the study, thinks the trigger for the fatalities could come from a minor genetic heart abnormality that wasn't diagnosed, USA Today reported.

USA Triathlon noted that the rise in triathlon fatalities came as the sport became more popular.

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