The Ozark Valley Triathlon was canceled after a man training for the three-event competition drowned Saturday in Lake Wedington.
Race organizers had initially said the triathlon would be held as scheduled Sunday, possibly without the swimming part of the competition. Organizers posted on the triathlon’s website that the U.S. Forest Service, which oversees Lake Wedington, canceled the event.
Authorities identified the man as David Finley, 43, of Missouri. Finley was a sergeant with the Missouri State Police, according to Kelly Cantrell of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
Emergency personnel were notified of a possible drowning at 2:25 p.m. Saturday. Witnesses said Finley was training for the triathlon when he began to struggled in the water before going under and not resurfacing.
Search and rescue teams from Washington and Benton counties recovered Finley’s body at approximately 8:30 p.m. in about 20 feet of water. His body was sent to the Washington County Coroner’s Office.
The lake has a designated swimming area but the triathlon received a special permit for use of the entire lake for the swimming portion of the competition. The lake was opened Saturday for competitors to train for the actual race, which is the 2013 Arkansas State Championship event.
The triathlon was scheduled to have a 1,000-yard swim, 19-mile bike ride and a 4-mile run.