Thursday, November 08, 2007

Sad news from Ironman Florida

After a struggle of several days, Dorothy Barnett-Griffin has died, presumably from the after-effects of drowning during the 2007 Ironman Florida swim. She was a wife and a mother of three.

How very, very sad.

I didn't see this either until a day or two ago - the autopsy from Barney Rice, the guy who died at IMFL last year, indicated a definite drowning. The didn't release the autopsy results for over 6 months:

No heart problem, as was widely rumored.

I don't know about anyone else, but these deaths definitely make me think hard about whether I want to attempt any 2500-person mass swim starts ever again. I think they're needlessly risky.


Mohd Shazly Khan said...

hi. there was also one casualty in my country. we had about 1300 participants for one regular tri day and the organizer forgot to do a head count when we come out of water. We only found out about him after seeing his body float and that is already 4 hrs later. its a tragedy for our small tri community here.

IronTriTim said...

Incredibly sad to read about Dorothy, I was out there racing at florida and it certainly makes me look back and wonder what if. To give NA Sports credit there were a lot of rescue teams out there. Every time I looked up there was a kayaker in site.

Fe-lady said...

Now I am scared to death of IM CDA...and I am an OK swimmer...
sad news indeed. Maybe we need to re-think these mass swim starts!

Spokane Al said...

This was very sad. However, while each of us makes our own decisions, I would hope that this heartbreaking event would not keep us from competing.

Reports say that she was the last of two people in the water and was talking with the kayakers as she swam. Suddenly she rolled over, said help, and went under water.

I guess I am just not sure if this tragedy can be attributed to a mass start.

Cuke said...

My thoughts are with her family, I also raced that day. I was impressed by the support on the swim. I am not sure what could have been done. The first loop was very crowded. It seemed to clear out the second loop for me. I am incedibly sad for the loss.

Wes said...

As one of the last ones out of the water, Dorothy was being tailed by a kayaker, who responded very quickly to Dorothy's cry for help.

This is just a sad day for our entire community. I will remember her always, especially when I am in the water of Ironman Florida 2008.

Ellie Hamilton said...

Hey,Fe-Lady, don't be afraid to do the IM swim because a couple of people have died. Yes, it's very sad, and frightening, but the reality is that several runners die each year on the courses of major marathons, and it doesn't stop the rest of us from running. People die in car accidents every minute, but it doesn't stop us from driving.

I don't want to sound callous. I wrote my own blog notice about Dorothy, and last year I posted about Barney Rice and had nightmares about the IMFL swim. It's very sad. But it's also very rare.

Neither of these athletes died in the log jam at the mass start. Both were near the end of their swims with the crowd well thinned-out. Although, as Nancy said, they might have been injured in the crowd without succumbing until later.

Be cautious, folks, but don't be afraid out there.

ShirleyPerly said...

Oh, very sad! But I agree with Ellie. If you want to enjoy life, you can't always be worried about the odds that you might die doing something you love. I actually knew I was probably one of the weakest swimmers at IMFL last year and given the very rough conditions and my lack of roughwater experience, I should probably not have even attempted the swim. I still went in, twice.

You just gotta do what you gotta do and hope for the best, I think. But everyone has their own notion of what is worth risking.