PLEASANTON, Calif., May 5. SADNESS engulfed the Pacific Masters community last weekend when Brendon Yih Wen died after competing in a meet sponsored by the Tri-Valley Masters. An autopsy performed this week named cardiorespiratory failure as the cause of death.
Wen had competed in five races during the Sunday competition and had just finished the 1,000-yard freestyle when he began struggling in the warm-down pool. Wen was pulled from the water and lifeguards and emergency medical technicians worked on Wen before he was brought to ValleyCare Medical Center. He was pronounced dead at 2:44 p.m.
A 35-year-old defense attorney who formerly served as a public defender in San Francisco, Wen had set a Masters personal-best in the 200 butterfly just hours before his 1,000-yard race. During the meet, he also contested the 50 and 100 butterfly events and the 100 freestyle. The Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau said Wen likely had cardiovascular disease for years.
“It’s really a tragedy,” said Michael Moore, chairman of Pacific Masters Swimming. “Our hearts go out to his friends and family.”
Coached by Kerry O’Brien with the Walnut Creek Masters, Wen was a member of the California-Davis swimming and water polo teams during his college days. Wen had been training five or six days a week, obvious dedication to remaining in good health and his love for Masters Swimming.
“At times he would say to me that swimming made him feel better throughout the day, no matter how the day turned out,” a friend, James Parmelee, told the Daily California. “He had this smile and laugh that was contagious.”
Wen lived in Berkeley and is survived by his wife, Sheila, and brother, Patrick Wen.