Officials say the 35-year-old white male was drowning during the swimming portion of the race this morning, and several hours later authorities were still trying to determine what caused the man to drown.
Maj. Dave Humphreys with Panama City Beach Police said, "During the swim, apparently this individual became distressed. Some other tri-athletes, we don't know who they are, apparently motioned for help. Two Navy divers were able to get the man to shore and get an ambulance called, and the individual was transported to the hospital."
The 2.4 mile swim portion of the Ford Ironman Florida began behind the Boardwalk Beach Resort in the Gulf of Mexico.
About 2,000 athletes from 32 countries and all 50 states are competing in the Florida Ironman.