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Coping With Swimmer’s Sudden Death

  • By Triathlete.com
  • Published Aug 11, 2011

Amy McCullough Martich, who died during the swim portion of the NYC Triathlon, was a swimmer her whole life.

Fred McCullough felt a father’s strongest fears, but he stopped short of panicking when he learned that his daughter, Amy McCullough Martich, had been pulled from the water unconscious and taken to a hospital during the swimming portion of the New York City Triathlon on Sunday.

Martich, 40, had been a swimmer in high school and worked summers as a lifeguard while growing up in Crystal Lake, Ill., a suburb 40 miles northwest of Chicago.

“Amy was a swimmer her whole life,” McCullough said. “She trained hard for this and was in terrific shape. I talked to the emergency room doctor and the I.C.U. doctor. Because she was so strong and so fit, they thought she had a good chance to pull through.”

Steve Martich, Amy’s husband and the father of their three children, left for New York immediately. McCullough and his wife, Karen, Amy’s mother, made arrangements to go Monday, along with Amy’s brother Todd, who was visiting with his family from Portland, Ore.

“We wanted to be there when she came to,” Fred McCullough said.

The phone rang in their Crystal Lake home just as a car arrived to take the McCulloughs to O’Hare International Airport. Amy had died without regaining consciousness at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital. An autopsy was inconclusive.

“It’s devastating,” Fred McCullough, a retired insurance executive, said quietly. “To lose her at such a young age, it’s hard to comprehend.”

Martich’s death stunned her friends and colleagues. They remembered her as a dynamo who balanced career and family and always seemed to cram a day and a half’s worth of activities into a typical day.

Martich rose to vice president during her seven years at Janus Capital Group, specializing in mutual funds transactions.

Read more: The New York Times

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