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Body of drowned triathlon swimmer recovered from Lake Livingston

Collin Campbell drowned during swimming portion of event, game wardens say

ONALASKA, Texas – Members of the Texas Game Warden dive team recovered the body of a male swimmer they say drowned during a triathlon.

Collin Campbell 27, was a passionate athlete with a powerful will to compete and win in one of the most grueling of physical tests -- the triathlon.

Friends called him completely driven and dedicated to giving all he had.

"I'm just completely shocked. I was just talking to Collin yesterday and I'm just really shocked," friend and neighbor Jay Biedenharn said.

But after 7:30 a.m. Sunday while competing in the swim portion of the Onalaska Half Distance Triathlon on Lake Livingston, investigators said Campbell suddenly disappeared about midway through the course on his way back to shore. Co-racers reported not seeing him ever leave the water.

The Texas Game Warden's Office was called to search the waters with side-scanning sonar, a device that can see images through deep water.

Before 5 p.m., divers with the game warden's dive team recovered Campbell's body in over 11 feet of water on the bottom of the lake.

After training intensely every day for five months with his team from PR Endurance Sports, Campbell was found dead on the bottom just beyond the midway point returning to shore.

PR Endurance Sports posted the news on its Facebook page, saying:

"It's with great sadness that we have to share this news. Today, we lost our teammate and brother Collin Campbell. Collin drowned during the swim at Onalaska 70.3. He was a strong swimmer, so this news was shocking to us all."

Always seen as a strong swimmer, friends of Campbell are stunned by what has happened.

"I'm just so sad. I just know he was working his butt off trying to do the best he could in this triathlon," Lauren Kennedy said.

A fellow triathlete took a photo of Campbell's bike after hearing news of the drowning.

Bike of man who drowned during triathlon

Game wardens first reported the possible drowning Sunday at the KOA Campgrounds.

Campbell was the HOA president at The Villa 8 Shady Acres Community. He had competed in several triathlons in the past and had been training for this race for five months -- biking, running and swimming every day to get ready.

Campbell worked for GE Oil and Gas in sales.

An autopsy to determine exactly what happened to Collin in the middle of the water race is scheduled for Monday.