NEW YORK (AP) — Two competitors, including a 40-year-old woman from Elmhurst, died after experiencing problems during the swim portion of the Nautica New York City Triathlon.

The deaths were the second and third ones at the popular triathlon in the last three years.

Race director Bill Burke called the deaths “a very, very sad occurrence and tragedy,” but characterized the weather conditions during Sunday’s race as optimal, with relatively mild temperatures and good cloud cover for much of the day.

The Elmhurst woman, who was not identified at the family’s request, died Monday. Burke said she was believed to have gone into cardiac arrest twice after Sunday’s swim.

The second victim, Michael Kudryk, of Freehold, N.J., died Sunday after he was pulled out of the Hudson River unconscious. Police say he was believed to have suffered a heart attack.

Police said 26 others participants needed assistance for minor injuries or pains throughout the swim.

Burke said participants were not required to provide a health certificate or proof that they have participated in another triathlon — things he would like to see enacted in the future.

“It’s something we’re going to look at and try to put possible identifiers in place that can hopefully give us some indication and let the athletes know what they need to be careful about: Have you done an open water swim? Have you participated in another triathlon? How much training have you put into this?”

Participants in the yearly race swim about a mile, bike 25 miles and run 6 miles.

Three years ago, a 32-year-old competitor from Argentina was pulled from the water unconscious and later died. The medical examiner ruled that he died from hypertensive cardiovascular disease, a condition linked to high blood pressure. Race organizers said he apparently was unaware of his condition.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer asked triathlon organizers to conduct to full review.

The triathlon has grown in popularity. Burke said more than 3,000 people participated in Sunday’s race, the 11th one held, compared with 683 the first year. Athletes are selected via a lottery system, similar to major marathons.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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