x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

US swimmer dies during Fujairah world swimming cup

Divers reportedly take two hours to find champion swimmer's body after all competitors were thought to have finished all five 2km laps.

US swimmer Fran Crippen died during a race in Fujairah on Saturday.
US swimmer Fran Crippen died during a race in Fujairah on Saturday.

FUJAIRAH // The American swimmer Fran Crippen has died while taking part in the last leg of the 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup in Fujairah yesterday, swimming's governing body FINA said.

Crippen, 26, the bronze medallist in both the 10km event at the Rome worlds in 2009 and the FINA world open water championships in Canada this year, had ambitions to become the first American to medal in open water swimming at the 2012 London Olympics.

"While the causes of this death remain under investigation, FINA and the entire aquatic community address, in this moment of grief, their deepest and sincere condolences to his family, friends and to US Aquatic Sports and USA Swimming family," FINA said in a statement.

USA Swimming added that it was "deeply saddened by the death of Fran Crippen", who was a two-time US champion in the pool in the 800m freestyle event before moving into open water swimming in 2006.

"Fran was a champion swimmer but more importantly, a tremendous person, and he will be remembered for so many extraordinary qualities.

"We send our sincere condolences and deepest sympathies to the Crippen family, a family that is a treasured member of the USA swimming family.

"We will continue to work with FINA, the meet host and others to determine how this tragedy occurred."

Organisers had reportedly called in deep sea divers after all swimmers were thought to have finished the five 2km laps.

The police and coast guard divers spent two hours searching for Crippen, managing to find him unconscious just before the final buoy, it reported.

He was brought to shore and rushed by ambulance to the main hospital in Fujairah.

Other swimmers said that Crippen, in contention for the World Cup in pursuit of the eventual winner, Chad Ho, of South Africa, had showed signs of fatigue some time on the third lap of the five-lap race.

Ayman Saad, the organising director from the UAE Swimming Association, said all activities related to the event had been cancelled.