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Swim star Fran Crippen, 26, dies in U.A.E.

October 23, 2010 | 10:07 am

Francis Crippen and swimmers Open water distance swim star Fran Crippen died Saturday after losing consciousness during a World Cup 10K race in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, according to media reports.

When Crippen did not finish the race, his competitors went back in the water to assist with the search, Swimming World reported. One Portuguese-language news account put the water temperature at 86 degrees.

The 26-year-old Crippen, who won a bronze medal in the 10K event at the World Championships last year, had been training in Mission Viejo through 2008. The Philadelphia native then went back East to be closer to home.

FINA, swimming's international ruling body, issued a statement of condolence and said:  "The cause of this death remain under investigation."

USA Swimming also said it would "continue to work with FINA, the meet host and others to determine how this tragedy occurred."

The swim world quickly responded with tributes to Crippen on a Facebook page and sent messages of condolence on Twitter.

"Omg. My long time teammate on the Nadadores and team USA, Fran Crippen, passed away today while racing in Dubai," wrote Chloe Sutton on Twitter. "He was an amazing guy and one of the best ambassadors for the sport and I already miss him."

-- Lisa Dillman

Photo: Francis "Fran" Crippen, left, second-place finisher, with first-place winner Chip Peterson, center, and third-place finisher Richard Weinberger after the men's 10K Open Water Race during the Mutual of Omaha Pan Pacific Championships at Marine Stadium in Long Beach, on Aug. 22, 2010. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images