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(NEW YORK) — An autopsy is being performed on a 43-year-old man who died Saturday during the swimming portion of the first Ironman U.S. Championship triathlon in New York and New Jersey, which drew 2,500 competitors.

The unidentified man was in the midst of swimming the 2.4-mile first leg of the competition across the Hudson River when he experienced “distress.”

After the man was pulled from the water, emergency workers performed CPR, to no avail.

World Triathlon Corp., which owns Ironman, said in a statement, “We are deeply saddened to confirm the death of an athlete at today’s Ironman U.S. Championship.”

An autopsy is expected to reveal the exact cause of death.

Following the swim, the participants biked for 112 miles and then ran a marathon.  Saturday’s winner on the men’s side was American Jordan Rapp, who finished in eight hours, 11 minutes, 17 seconds, while Mary Beth Ellis of Delaware was the women’s champ in nine hours, seven minutes, 46 seconds.

Deaths have been on the rise in Ironman competitions in recent years.  Two people died last year while swimming in the Nautica New York City Triathlon.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


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