Patrick Hayden was dedicated to his family. Very much so.
They participated in a triathlon together on Saturday. Hayden was to complete the swimming leg of the Pumpkinman triathlon and his sons were to perform the biking and running portions.
In a good-natured boys vs. girls competition, his wife and daughter-in-law participated in the triathlon as well, Hayden’s sister Dawn Hayden said.
But he never made it to the finish line.
Hayden was found unconscious in the water just before 9 a.m. by one of the event organizer’s kayak patrollers, who then alerted park rangers of an unresponsive swimmer.
He was pulled out of the water and CPR was performed. A ambulance came and transported him to Boulder City Hospital, where medical personnel pronounced his death at 9:30 a.m., Lake Mead National Recreation Area spokeswoman Christie Vanover said.
Hayden would have been 60 years old in January, Dawn said. He was an active swimmer and frequented the Y to stay in shape.
Vanover said the park rangers weren’t sure what caused him to lose consciousness in the water.
“He wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else,” said Dawn, who wasn’t at Lake Mead when her brother was found unresponsive, but was on her way to meet the family at the finish line.
One of Hayden’s sons was not present — he is stationed in Hawaii with the Navy. Besides that, it was perfect even though it was sad, because he was with his family when it happened, Dawn said.
Hayden had a second family, too. It was at Arbor View High School, where he worked as the school’s principal for six years.
He was the principal when the school opened in 2005, and remained there until his retirement in 2011. The same year, the Southern Nevada High School Football Coaches Association inducted Hayden into its 2011 Hall of Fame as an administrator.
Hayden’s positive influence was felt even beyond those two families, by athletes and students he coached earlier in his career, according to one school official who called himself a longtime friend. Hayden coached numerous sports, including tennis and baseball.
The triathlon was the first big event at Lake Mead since a two-week shutdown ordered by the federal government. The park had just reopened Thursday.
The Clark County coroner’s office will officially release the man’s identity and cause of death. An autopsy was scheduled for Sunday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact reporter Annalise Porter at email@example.com or 702-383-0264.