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Former Virginia swimmer Fran Crippen dies during World Cup race (Updated)(Updated again)

9:07 p.m., Oct. 24: Mark Bernardino, Virginia's swimming and diving coach, released a statement Sunday night through the school's athletic department. It read as follows:

"The University of Virginia swimming and diving family wishes to express our deep love and concern to the Crippen family during this time of tragic loss. Fran was our son and our brother in life and in sport. His presence, vitality, courage, toughness and endearing persona have left an indelible mark on the lives of all of us who knew and loved him. There was and can only ever be one Fran Crippen. He brightened the world with a heart that was as big as the world. We will do all we can as a team to share our strength and love with Pat, Pete, Maddy, Claire and Teresa. We thank them for sharing Fran with us and for allowing him to be a beacon of human and athletic greatness in our midst. My family and I love Fran as one of our own and we will cherish him forever."

11:45 a.m. Oct. 24: United Arab Emirates swimming officials said Sunday that "overexertion" led to the death of U.S. national team swimmer Fran Crippen and denied reports that the American had a heart attack during a race the day before, according to the Associated Press.

Race officials said a medical report has been completed, but declined to release it to the media Sunday.

"He was our hero," said Maddy Crippen, reached at her parents' home in Conshohocken. "We loved him very much, and we'll all miss him."

Original post: Former Virginia swimmer Fran Crippen, 26, died Saturday while competing in a World Cup marathon race in the United Arab Emirates. Crippen was competing for the United States in the open water event.

Crippen fell unconscious during the final leg of the 10-kilometer race in Fujairah, according to Swimming World. Nearly two hours after every other swimmer had finished the event, deep sea divers found Crippen just before the final buoy. The water temperature was reported to have been in the mid- to high-80s, and several swimmers were treated for heat exhaustion at a nearby hospital after the event.

A native of Conshohocken, Pa., Crippen was an 11-time all-American at Virginia and was named Atlantic Coast Conference swimmer of the year in 2003 and 2004. He finished third in the 10-kilometer swim at the 2009 World Championships in Rome. Crippen was named in September the Male Open Water Swimmer of the Year by USA Swimming. He won six U.S. national titles in his career.

One of Crippen's sisters, Claire, is a senior swimmer at Virginia. Another, Teresa, swims at Florida. Maddy, his oldest sister, was an NCAA champion swimmer at Villanova and was a member of the 2000 U.S. Olympic team.

Mark Bernardino, Virginia swimming and diving coach, is expected to release a statement through the athletic department later today. He and Claire are en route to the Crippen family's home in Pennsylvania.

By Steve Yanda  | October 23, 2010; 2:11 PM ET
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Sounds like these swimmers aren't getting very good training if they are suffering and dying of heat exhaustion.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | October 23, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Crippen was crippled and check out.Who the hell cares!! Tough schitt

Posted by: hyroller56 | October 23, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

One mean and one misinformed comment so far. Mid-80s is a very warm water temperature for a long distance swimmer. Swimmers aren't benefitting from the cooling effect of perspiration. This guy was in superb physical condition. Try swimming 6.2 miles some time.

Posted by: AlaskaMelts | October 23, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

I suggest that the first two individuals commenting take a long look at themselves in contrast to Fran Crippen. This man faced down every challenge and fear in pursuit of his dreams. The individuals making disparaging comments are exhibiting the opposite of his bravery and clearly feel the need to make hurtful comments in order to validate their own weakness. RIP Fran and thank you for being a winner and a positive example for all of us in a world that needs it.

Posted by: mhpatterson | October 23, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Why wasn't a boat following each swimmer? This was a needless death. Don't Arabs understand that warm water sucks the life out of you?

Posted by: mortified469 | October 24, 2010 12:37 AM | Report abuse

"Crippen was crippled and check out.Who the hell cares!! Tough schitt Posted by: hyroller56 | October 23, 2010 8:02

Oh look, a drunk white supremacist on a Saturday night. What's your probation officer going to think of this one, sport?

Posted by: washpost18 | October 24, 2010 5:05 AM | Report abuse

It’s a tragedy that Fran Crippen passed away! Honor his memory by contributing to his memorial site

Posted by: estael_oscora | October 25, 2010 4:31 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to hear of the loss of this young man. Why are there swimming competitions in such warm waters?...seems like we should all know better !

Posted by: 10bestfan | October 25, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

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