In the unlikely event that some of you may not have heard..On Friday morning at 6:30am San Diego Tri Club member Dave Martin met his regular crew for an
ocean swim workout in Solana Beach (that’s ~20mi north of downtown San Diego). At 7 am, the 66 year old retired veterinarian was attacked by a shark. Four friends with whom he was swimming pulled him to shore.
Lifeguards worked on him for a while but he was pronounced dead shortly after the attack.
It seems natural that each of us would have an immediate and visceral reaction to this news. Regardless of how he died, the bottom-line truth is that a member of a tri club, a lover of triathlon, a hearty spirit, an
athlete – much like one of us, lost his life far sooner than what would seem necessary. Unfortunately this happens too often and when it’s less exotic it goes without a mention. It’s troubling to contemplate, but perhaps a car
killing a triathlete is so common that it doesn’t even make the papers – not to mention the front page of the LA Times.
Clearly there are some who won’t even flinch at this news and will be back in the big blue right away (or have gone already). Others might go the other way in dramatic fashion. Regardless of where your response falls one thing
is certain; attacks such as these remain extraordinarily rare, especially in areas where seal populations are insignificant, such as most of Los Angeles County. Even in Solana Beach, where seal populations have grown
substantially in recent years, this was the first fatal attack in 49 years.
Take a moment to look at the type of person you are: an adventurous endurance multisport athlete. If you we’re the type who avoided risks you might find yourself a member of a Knitting Club rather than a Triathlete Community. If you want to be safer in your ocean swims then do the basics that protect you from the far more common issues and more logical risks: swim with a buddy so that you can be assisted in a moment of cramping or fatigue,
wear a bright colored swim cap so that boats and personal water craft will see you more easily and swim near open and manned life guard towers in case
you get caught in a rip current. Balance your risk with logic and don’t fret over the things you cannot control.
Our hearts go out to the San Diego Tri Club and to Dave’s friends and family for their loss. May we all continue to train safely and enjoy this sport for years to come.
All the best to you,