On Sunday, April 25, the Triathlon Club of San Diego celebrated the life of Dave Martin and honored the heroes who assisted him after he was fatally attacked by a shark two years ago.
Over 100 TCSD members and relatives of Martin’s family gathered at the site of the attack—Fletcher Cove—at noon for a swim. Accompanied by lifeguards on paddleboards, swimmers swam either one-half or a full mile by going out through the five-foot shore break and subsequently swimming south before doubling back.
Laurene Booth, who assisted Martin after the attack and planned the remembrance swim, says, “I knew (Dave) had to be smiling to see such a large group of friends and family jump into the water and swim in his honor. Even the dolphins showed their appreciation by escorting us on our way back to shore.”
Martin, 66, was a retired Solana Beach veterinarian who left behind four children. A TCSD member since 2006, he had been participating in TCSD’s weekly Friday morning Fletcher Cove swim when the attack happened.
Ken Flagg, another hero who came to Martin’s aid, says, “I have learned that life is short. You should enjoy it while you are here and try to leave the world a better place. At Dave’s memorial swim, there was energy from over a hundred people who were doing what they loved.”
And since we’re triathletes, what we love is a workout with friends followed by food and good conversation. After bodysurfing the waves back into shore, the group gathered at the park overlooking the beach for a catered lunch of sandwiches, salad, and chips. Propped up next to a table was a poster of Martin competing in a triathlon with the words, “You will be missed.”
Brian Long, who was TCSD president at the time of the tragedy, says, “I think sometimes in these types of tragedies the survivors are often a secondary thought. Instinctually, your thoughts immediately go to the loss of life. But here you have a group of friends that was also impacted in a way that’s hard to fathom…. As a group on that fateful day, they came together to do all they could for Dave with the unmistakable knowledge that there was an unseen killer amongst them. That is the story and I am proud to know them.”