Hearing about drownings isn't uncommon, particularly in summer months, but death by forced swimming is rare. In 2009, an Ohio woman in her 30s was sentenced to four years in prison for forcing her 73-year-old husband to swim continuous laps in their apartment community pool until he had a heart attack and died. Security cameras captured the number of times the man's wife blocked him from leaving the pool and prodded him to keep moving, despite allegedly having knowledge of her husband's severe heart condition. Without an audio record of the fatal swim and the verbal exchanges during the incident, however, the wife was charged with reckless homicide rather than first degree murder [source: Kropko].
Much less scandalous but unusual deaths by swimming also take place during international triathlons. Between 2006 and 2008, 14 triathletes died during their races, and 13 of those deaths took place during the swimming leg. In the 2012 New York City triathlon alone, two participants died while swimming. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, most of these deaths result from heart conditions that the otherwise very healthy athletes never knew they had [source: Klein].