CLEVELAND, Ohio – USA Triathlon announced early Sunday that it changed the course for Sunday sprint-distance participants due to rough conditions on Lake Erie.
The organization announced that it would drop the swimming portion of the race in the for the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships.
The organization made the decision in tandem with the U.S. Coast Guard, as a result of the strong currents in the lake, a triathalon spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.
A spokeswoman for USA Triathlon would not definitively say if the adjustment was related to the Saturday death of a 75-year-old participant while he was swimming the course.
The weekend-long event saw some 5,000 competitors from across the country for the national competition based out of Cleveland’s Edgewater Beach.
Jim Hix, a dentist from Claremore, Oklahoma, was swimming in Lake Erie with his age group Saturday morning when he lost consciousness. The U.S. Coast Guard pulled his body from the lake around 8 a.m., and Hix was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Hix was an avid athlete, his son Jason Hix said in an interview with cleveland.com. He was the 2017 USA Triathlon Duathlon National Champion in his 75-to-79 age group.
He leaves behind a wife – who traveled to Cleveland with him for the race – plus three kids and seven grandchildren.
“He loved competing,” Jason Hix said of his father. “He was always enjoyed winning and was proud of winning.”