US Swim Champ Dies During Race

Dubai officials cite 'overexertion' in death of Fran Crippen
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2010 2:15 PM CDT
US Swim Champ Dies During Race
In this July 14, 2007, file photo, Fran Crippen of the United States, holds up his gold medal he won in the men's 10-kilometer swimming marathon at the Pan American Games at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro.   (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills, File)

"Overexertion" led to the death of a US national team swimmer during a race in the United Arab Emirates yesterday, according to swimming officials. Fran Crippen died while competing in the FINA Open Water 10K World Cup; he failed to finish and was discovered in the water two hours later. But criticisms have been flying since; race winner Thomas Lurz, of Germany, complained that the water was "amazingly hot" at about 86 degrees.

He said he talked to many swimmers who complained of swollen limbs and water loss, and said he saw several who had become confused following the race. But a director of the UAE swimming association downplayed the water temperature issue, saying it registered at 84 degrees. Crippen reportedly went down 400 meters before the finish line; swimmers were the first to respond when the 26-year-old failed to cross it. "It was unacceptable that swimmers were searching for another swimmer," Lurz said. "Swimmers go under water in seconds. There need to be more boats, jet skis, canoes who can take care of every swimmer." A boat typically follows the last swimmer on the course, notes the AP. (More swimming stories.)

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