Cheryl Angelo recently filed a lawsuit against USA Triathlon seeking damages for the drowning death of her husband which occurred during the 2012 USA Triathlon national championship event near Burlington, Vermont.  Ms. Angelo has alleged that USA Triathlon ran the event in a negligent and substandard manner, that they failed to have sufficient and appropriately qualified lifeguarding and medical personnel present at the race, and that they failed to have adequate lifesaving equipment on hand.  Ms. Angelo has further alleged that hazardous conditions existed on the day of the race consisting of “high waves and a blinding sun.”

On August 18, 2012, Mr. Angelo, 53, began to experience medical distress during the swimming portion of the event, which took place in Lake Champlain.  He was pulled from the water and transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.  An autopsy lists the cause of death as drowning.  By all accounts, Mr. Angelo was a well conditioned athlete who trained vigorously for the event.

Mr. Angelo’s unfortunate demise is one of the more recent in a disturbing trend of drowning deaths occurring during the swimming portion of triathlons.  As the sport of triathlon continues to grow in popularity, race directors need to become hyper vigilant to ensure the safety of participants.  This is especially true when it comes to the swimming portion of the event which presents the highest risk of death.