Tragedy as veteran triathlete, 61, dies during swim section of gruelling Swansea race: Family pay tribute to ‘loving’ grandfather who was charity volunteer helping homeless peopleAndrew Ireland likely drowned during 750feet swim in the Swansea TriathlonBy Katherine Lawton
Published: 11:16, 1 June 2023 | Updated: 11:28, 1 June 2023
A veteran triathlete who volunteered to help homeless people has died during the swim section of the Swansea Triathlon.
Grandfather Andrew Ireland, 61, of Bridgend, is thought to have drowned during the 750feet swim in the first section of the gruelling three-part race.
Event organisers Activity Wales confirmed the swimmer passed away during the event on Sunday.
Around 1,500 competitors set off for competition before both athletes and families witnessed attempts to rescue the grandfather.
The man’s family paid tribute to Mr Ireland, describing him as a ‘loving husband, father and grandfather who will be greatly missed’.
Andrew Ireland, 61, (pictured) is feared to have drowned during the 750m swim in the first section of the Swansea Triathlon
‘As a family we are heartbroken but have been comforted by the many messages of condolence and support we have received,’ they said.
‘Andrew was a charity worker for the homeless and an avid supporter of Welsh football. He was a keen cyclist and triathlete, a member of Tondu Wheelers and a parkrun regular.
‘We would like to thank the emergency services, event organisers, volunteers and members of the public who assisted at the scene.’
South Wales Police, St John’s Ambulance, the swim safety team and volunteers all tried to help at the scene of the tragedy.
Mr Ireland was among hundreds of other swimmers when he lost consciousness during the swim section of the three-event challenge
His family paid tribute to Andrew as a ‘loving husband, father and grandfather who will be greatly missed’
At the time a statement from Activity Wales said: ‘It is with heavy hearts that we confirm the passing of an athlete during the swim section of today’s Triathlon.
‘Our most sincere condolences go out to the family.
‘We would like to thank the incredible efforts of the swim safety team, St John’s, Ambulance, the rapid response team, the police, volunteers and members of the public involved at the scene.’