Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

A year after one triathlete saves another's life, the two will compete together

ST. PETERSBURG — At first, Teresa McCoy thought the man by the pool at last year's Meek & Mighty Triathlon was flirting.

"He told me that I missed my turn," said the 38-year-old triathlete. "I was talking to my friend and just kind of blew him off."

McCoy, whose race number was 96, was supposed to be swimming. Dave Laudano, No. 100, wanted to get started on his first triathlon.

She told him to go ahead. It was a decision that saved his life.

"I had been feeling kind of funny," Laudano said of the weeks preceding the event, which includes a 200-yard swim, 5.4-mile bike ride and 1-mile run.

"I kept having stomach problems while I was training. I just chalked it up to indigestion."

McCoy, a nurse in the cardiac department at Tampa General Hospital, in the past had completed Meek & Mighty. But she was in no rush.

"To be honest, I just wanted to race with my friend," she said. "Her number was 116 so I was waiting for her turn to go."

Laudano's race started well. The 41-year-old IT consultant breezed through the swim, then hopped on his bike. About 2½ miles in, he felt light-headed.

"Then I don't really remember what happened,'' he said. "I just went down."

St. Petersburg Police Officer Chris Dort and Sgt. Kevin Smith saw Laudano fall and went to help. Then McCoy, who should have started the race before Laudano, rolled up.

"As I rode by I yelled that I was a nurse and asked them if they needed help. They said yes, so I turned around and stopped."

McCoy realized this was the same man who had called to her at the pool. She got on her knees and felt for a pulse. Nothing.

"I knew right away that he was having a heart attack," said McCoy. "So I went to work."

The nurse began CPR and issued orders. The officers did as she instructed and radioed for backup. Officer Mark Williams was a few blocks away in his squad car, which had an automated external defibrillator that restarted Laudano's heart.

Laudano "came back right away and his legs started moving," recalled Williams. "He thought he was still cycling."

McCoy then hopped back on her bike and finished the race.

At Bayfront Medical Center, "they put two stents in my heart," Laudano said. He went on to have quintuple bypass surgery at Tampa General.

McCoy visited Laudano every day in intensive care, and became friends with his wife and family. Laudano also keeps in touch with the police officers who helped save his life.

Today, the two friends will be back in the lineup at the Meek & Mighty. "It's something I've got to go and do again,'' Laudano said. "This time I'm going to finish.''


If you go

The Meek & Mighty Triathlon is today in St. Petersburg, starting at 7:30 a.m. with the swim portion at North Shore Pool, followed by the cycling route along the downtown waterfront and ending with a run that concludes at North Shore Pool. It's the warmup for Sunday's St. Anthony's Triathlon (1.5K swim, 40K bike and 10K run), which is the second event of the 2012 global 5150 Triathlon Series.

A year after one triathlete saves another's life, the two will compete together 04/27/12 [Last modified: Friday, April 27, 2012 10:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars


    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  2. Late night update: Second wave follows Tropical Storm Harvey


    UPDATE: At 11 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane hunter plane had determined that Tropical Storm Harvey had formed with sustained winds of 40 mph.

    Three tropical waves are expected to strengthen as they move across the Atlantic Ocean. [Courtesy of the National Hurricane Center]
  3. Stealth anti-Jack Latvala group tied to Adam Putnam campaign


    Politico reports:

     A longtime political consultant for Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam is behind a website calling one of his rivals in the race, state Sen. Jack Latvala, a “liberal.”

  4. Council gives in to pension dispute with St. Pete firefighters

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council was forced to consider its first labor dispute in years Thursday when it gave the firefighters union most of the pension enhancements it has long asked for.

    The firefighters’ union won a pension victory at Thursday’s City Council meeting. [SCOTT KEELER    |      TIMES]
  5. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half



    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.