26-year-old swimming star Fran Crippen died during a race in the United Arab Emirates today after losing consciousness during the event.
Crippen was found in the water after a lengthy search prompted by a teammate’s concerns. Some details surrounding the circumstances that lead to Crippen’s death seem to be in dispute, and it has been speculated that the water was far too hot for an race with the parameters of today’s event. Several other participants were treated for heat exhaustion.
From a Swimming World news release regarding the incident:
With the water in the mid-to-high 80s, the competitors all finished and noticed that Crippen had not crossed the finish line. Meet management brought in deep sea divers, who found Crippen unconscious just before the final buoy nearly two hours later. He was transported to the Fujairah Hospital and later died according to information provided to Swimming World. Conflicting reports state that he was found dead on the course.
Crippen had shown signs of slowing down during the third lap of the five-lap race. When Crippen did not immediately finish, a fact noticed by teammate Alex Meyer who screamed for help, the competing swimmers rushed back into the water to help with the search.
Information provided to Swimming World demonstrates that the water was likely too hot for the event as several swimmers were treated for heat exhaustion after the race.
The race was to be Crippen’s last of the season, after which he planned to vacation in Italy.