The body of the triathlete who vanished in the Schuylkill during the Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon Saturday was recovered last evening.
He was identified as Derek Valentino, of Prospect Park, Delaware County.
Valentino, 40, was participating in the sprint portion of the event and had entered the water about 8:20 a.m. with about 100 other triathletes in the second-to-last wave of competitors, said Richard Adler, chief executive officer of Philadelphia Triathlon LLC.
Officials know that he entered the water because participants are required to wear an electronic chip that logs their time when they step on mats going in and coming out of the water, and Valentino was logged going in, Adler said.
When it appeared that he hadn't crossed the exit mat, workers began checking all of the racers individually to determine who was unaccounted for, Adler said.
A search and rescue began immediately and included a Philadelphia Police marine unit that was already on site, sonar devices, divers and boats, Lt. John Walker said.
Searchers worked in rescue mode for four hours before switching to recovery mode and working until nightfall, police said.
The search resumed early yesterday. A Coast Guard unit was brought in to try to locate Valentino through the electronic chip he was wearing, but the signal was too faint for the equipment, Walker said.
Valentino's body was eventually found about 5:30 p.m. south of the Columbia Avenue Bridge along Martin Luther King Drive, according to police and Adler.
Walker said that Valentino had no history of health problems and that there wasn't anything suspicious about his death.
"It just seems like a tragic event," he said.
Adler said that none of the other participants or the more than 20 lifeguards in kayaks saw Valentino disappear.
Triathlon officials decided to turn yesterday's "Olympic Race" into a duathlon, Adler said. Instead of swimming, the more than 2,000 racers who participated yesterday biked for one leg and ran the other two, he said.
"We also didn't feel it was proper to ask our athletes to swim in the water knowing there was an ongoing search," Adler said. "All of the athletes were very understanding."
In the six years of the triathlon's existence, Adler said, this is the first incident of its kind.