U.S. national open water team member and multiple medal winner Fran Crippen died on Saturday from undisclosed causes. He was only 26-years-old.
Crippen died while competing in the FINA Open Water 10-kilometer World Cup in Fujairah. FINA President Julio Maglione of Uruguay said it is the first time someone had died during a FINA event.
Swimmers have all commented on the mid to high 80s temperature of the water and that the conditions of the race itself was unusually hot. Several competitors were treated for heat exhaustion following the race and there is speculation that the heat caused Crippenâ€™s death.
At this time all that is known for sure is that the Philadelphia native, whose family is prominent in the swimming community, reported to his coach that he felt unwell eight kilometers into the race. When Crippen failed to finish the race several swimmers went back into the water to search for him. He was eventually found near the last buoy of the two kilometer triangle course, Yahoo Sports reported.
Though he was rushed to the hospital Crippen was later pronounced dead. The incident is under investigation by FINA but Maglione feels certain Crippenâ€™s death was a horrible accident.
â€œIn one moment, one athlete dies,â€ said Maglione.