I thought I would just get online to check my email before going to bed, but I didn’t expect the devastating news that was waiting in my Google Reader. Fran Crippen, 26, died earlier today in the Open Water 10K World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
According to information from Swimming World, “Crippen had shown signs of slowing down during the third lap of the five-lap race” (source). And the causes of Crippen’s death are still under investigation (source).
Statements from the USOC, USA Swimming, and FINA can be found in a comprehensive article on Swimming World.
I still don’t know how to process this information. Not only am I shocked that a world class swimmer could drown in a World Cup event, but it’s difficult to think of an amazing athlete, the same age as myself, having their life tragically cut short.
I know this video clip from Go Swim was never intended to be used as a memorial to Fran (video below), but the clip superimposes his career achievements onto footage of him swimming, so I thought it would be nice to play (especially for anyone who is not already familiar with Fran and his pink briefs).
Updates: 10/24/2010, 10:45am
Latest news reports that Fran Crippen died of a fatal heart attack (source), however, the high water temperature (87 degrees) has led to some speculation that it may have contributed to his death.
According to FINA President, Julio Maglione, this is the first death in any FINA event. (source)