I recently read about this syndrome in my USMS Swimmer Magazine. For some folks intense exercise, particularly over time, can cause incontinence. Although I've not experienced long term permanent damage, I have had a couple of isolated accidents right after or during my workouts.
2 years ago after completing a triathlon was one of those times. It was maybe 15 mins. after finishing. I had just downed a bottle of water, and my wife and I were casually visiting with another couple. The husband had also finished the race. Suddenly, and without any warning, I started wetting myself. The urge came strong and quick. Fortunately, I was able to clamp down after a few seconds. I excused myself and gingerly walked to the bathhouse which fortunately was only a few hundred feet away. I did make it but barely. Since my triathlon suit is black and was drenched in sweat anyway, no one noticed.
This summer I had a few "accidents" while open water swimming at a local state park. This is a situation where I'm in the water for an extended time. I always make a point to use the pot-a-potty on the trail that leads down to the distance swimmer's beach, but often the urge hits fast and furious when I'm in the water. So I've had a couple of "accidents", but there is not a whole lot of incentive to hold it in this situation. One Sunday afternoon, however, as I was swimming, I was suddenly hit hard with not only the urge to pee, but to poop also. This really concerned me because, as usual, I was swimming in my wet suit. I immediately swam back to the beach were there were a half dozen or so members of the distance swimmer's club relaxing. By this time, I was in dire straights. I was extremely uncomfortable. My whole pelvic floor was literally quivering, if not my whole body. It seemed like it took forever to get my wet suit off. To any casual observer, it was quite obvious I was desperately trying not to have an accident. I was not at all sure I could make it to the nearest port-a-potty, but could not give in since there would have been no way to discretely clean up. Plus it was a 20 min. hike back to the car and then a 50 min. drive home. I forced myself to think positive since I didn't want to spend a hour plus in a messy wet suit. Somehow, I managed to get out of my wet suit which takes several minutes and a lot of tugging and twisting. I threw my sneakers on and hiked quickly up the trail to the port-a-potty which, thank God, was vacant.