Fran Crippen, 26, was an experienced distance swimmer. His Conshohocken, Pennsylvania family/friends and fellow swimmers found it hard to believe on Monday that the United Arab Emirates announced “drowning” as the cause of the aspiring Olympian’s death.
USA Swimming, the U.S. competitive swimming governing body, stated Monday that it would do its own investigation, independent of a probe by FINA, which staged the World Cup event at al-Fujayrah.
“We are going to go through every avenue to see how this could happen,” Maddy Crippen-his sister, herself a former Olympic swimmer. “There should not be a drowning at a swimming event,” she continued. “He was at the top of his game.”
“Fran wanted to make sure that we were doing everything right,” she said. “He was going to take that cause on himself. He wanted to be the face of open water swimming.”
“We have never researched our sport like other sports have,” Steven Munatones, a current member of the FINA open water technical committee.
“There is no information on heat exhaustion in the water,” said Munatones. He, also, edits a web site devoted to open water swimming.
Thomas Lurz, the German who won the al-Fujayrah event, remarked on Sunday that the air/water temperatures were dangerously high. Lurz said the water was at least 86 degrees, but one official explained it was 84. Three other swimmers were hospitalized per reports.
“He loved what he was doing,” his mother, Patricia Crippen. “He loved to train.”