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Fran Crippen, U.S. Swim Team


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  • Fran Crippen, U.S. Swim Team

    Another sad story. Given his age, level of fitness, and the suddenness of his death during a competitive event I wouldn't be surprised if he had undiagnosed HCM.

    U.S. swimmer dies during event in United Arab Emirates

    (CNN) -- A 26-year-old member of the U.S. national swimming team died Saturday during an open-water race in the United Arab Emirates, according to event officials.

    Fran Crippen died during the last leg of the 10-kilometer Marathon Swimming World Cup in Fujairah, said the International Swimming Federation, or FINA.

    The cause of death is under investigation, FINA said. Swimming World magazine reported that Crippen fell unconscious during the event and was found by deep-sea divers two hours later near the race's final buoy.
    "Some days you're the dog... some days you're the hydrant."

  • #2
    Re: Fran Crippen, U.S. Swim Team

    It's being called "a heart attack." If the autopsy report determines it is HCM it will be old news by then, so HCM remains an unknown disease to the general public.

    Deb and I went swimming this morning with our Masters swim group and several people were discussing this, but nobody made the link to HCM, despite them all being familiar with Emily's story and our involvement with HCM.


    • #3
      Re: Fran Crippen, U.S. Swim Team

      I saw this yesterday and immediately thought HCM. Though I tend to think that now whenever I hear of things like this happening. I'm wondering what the autopsy will tell?

      My thoughts to his family....


      • #4
        Re: Fran Crippen, U.S. Swim Team

        It looks like it might be heat stroke--air temperatures around 100 and water temperatures in the mid-80's. Three other swimmers were pulled out in heat distress. The autopsy should show any structural abnormalities associated with HCM, if that was the cause. Really sad story, he was much loved in the distance swimming community. I do not have HCM (just my daughter). I swim a lot (500 miles this year) and I have felt dizzy and weak after hard workouts in our YMCA, where they sometimes raise the temperature to 85 for the "water walkers." I never thought about heat stroke in water before.

        I worked in Dubai for a month (September) a few years ago. The outside daytime temperature was 110 almost every day. The water in the Arabian Sea was too warm to support most species of coral. The hotel swimming pool had a giant refrigeration unit to keep the water below 85. Crazy climate, and a crazy place.


        • #5
          Re: Fran Crippen, U.S. Swim Team

          I too thought this when I read it, but then questioned - If a national-level athlete, hadn't he have some level of physical testing at some point? you'd think a murmur, ekg, might have led to further investigation and possible echo.
          Regardless- a tragic loss.
          Diagnosed @ 48
          Saw Dr. Michael Debakey @ age 5 - "He's fine, just a little noisy"
          Father to 3 boys 22, 25, 29 (all currently clear - pending genetics)
          AICD - Valentines Day '08, Spark Plug replaced 11/14
          After much research, I had a Myectomy @ Mayo for my 50th Birthday '08
          Quietly going insane . . .


          • #6
            Re: Fran Crippen, U.S. Swim Team

            Surprisingly, there is still no standard of screening for amateur athletes. Professional teams do screening to protect themselves from liability. My son is a college swimmer and all he needed to do was to get a doctor, who ended up being his childhood pediatrician, to say that there are no known reasons why he can't swim. This was after his sister was diagnosed with HCM. We of course had him checked with an echo and EKG, and ultimately found that his sister had a mitochondrial defect that he does not share. I participate in sanctioned swim meets as a Masters swimmer (never qualified for international competition) that just require us to sign waivers saying any risk is our responsibility.


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