Ironman Swimmers in Ohio River

Competitors in the Louisville Ironman triathalon swim in the Ohio River. (WDRB/file)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Ironman Louisville officials have decided to cancel the swim portion of this year's Ironman Louisville triathlon.

The announcement was made in a news release Friday morning. It comes after the Kentucky Division of Water and the Kentucky Department of Public Health issued a recreational public health advisory about "harmful algae bloom." The advisory is expected to remain in effect through at least Oct. 13.

"The Division very much appreciates the individual and collective investment in training and planning for this event, and has worked closely with event organizers in assessing the conditions of the river," said Pete Goodmann, Director of the Kentucky Division of Water. "Unfortunately, algal toxins are present at unsafe levels in the river in the area of the event."

Contact with the blooms could cause stomach pain, vomiting, nausea, difficulty breathing and other issues such as skin irritation and limb tingling.

Triathletes WDRB spoke to said they support the decision to all off the swim portion of the race.

"I'd rather not have the swim and not get sick," Hillary Lee said. 

"You roll with the punches. It is what it is. You can't change it and to be honest it's actually a good thing we aren't swimming in that," Ted Shue said. 

Goodmann apologized for the inconvenience, and said athletes will be informed on race day of procedures for the new bike-run event. To see the event schedule, visit

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