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  #1  
Old 10-24-2010
CoachBillL CoachBillL is offline
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Default Fran Crippen

Very sad news about the death of Francis Crippen, in a 10-k race in very warm water. It's hard to say at this point what we might learn from a fatality in such unusual conditions -- top competitors, by definition, have carefully cultivated the ability to carry on through pain that would make ordinary people drop out -- so knowing when to quit is just not something they're good at.
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  #2  
Old 10-24-2010
CoachRosita CoachRosita is offline
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Default Fran Crippen

Thank you for informing us of this tragedy. I went into wikipedia and obtained a condensed description of Fran Crippen's many accomplishments in his all too short life. Many swimmers on this site have a goal of a 10k, myself included, let's all be careful. Condolences to his family and friends, I am sure will be in the hearts and minds of many of the swimmers on this site, again myself included.

CoachRosita
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  #3  
Old 10-24-2010
naj naj is offline
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Default Farewell Fran

This is a tragic loss for the swimming and open water swimming community. I have swum a few marathon swims (FINA defines marathon swims as 10K or above), and your right Coach Brian, one needs to listen closely to one's body and be able to distinguish pain from fatigue. I don't know all the details of Fran's passing, but I do know that it was mentioned that he was not feeling well and communicated this to his coach. I truly feel sorry for his family's loss.
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Old 10-24-2010
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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The latest I have seen is that he suffered a fatal heart attack during the race. It is indeed very sad. It does seem that the safety of the swimmers was not given due attention, but having said that, people - even seemingly very fit people - do have heart attacks out of the blue.
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  #5  
Old 10-24-2010
KatieK KatieK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richardsk View Post
The latest I have seen is that he suffered a fatal heart attack during the race. It is indeed very sad. It does seem that the safety of the swimmers was not given due attention, but having said that, people - even seemingly very fit people - do have heart attacks out of the blue.
Very sad to hear about Fran. The heart attack explanation makes much more sense than the initial explanation of heat-related over-exertion. A heart attack, stroke or seizure is likely to be disastrous while swimming in open water. Or while driving, for that matter. I don't think exertion could have caused him to drown, especially in salt water where it's so easy to float and wait for help.

I'm surprised to see the media calling the 87-degree water temperature a dangerous condition. I guess it's all about what you've trained for, but that temperature feels fine to me. I'm struggling to acclimate to lake temps in the mid-70's.
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  #6  
Old 10-24-2010
Alex-SG Alex-SG is offline
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Very sad indeed... Fujairah is 2hours away from here by car.

Not sure if it is a factor but air temperature is still quite high here.
When you need oxygen you would rather breath in at 20C than 35C.

To give you an idea I start my running training on 01-NOV in Dubai because of the heat puts me out of breath after 1Km...

ALEX
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  #7  
Old 10-24-2010
PASA PASA is offline
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Very sad news. This story, and the recent fatal shark attack on a body surfer only 100 yards from shore at a beach near Santa Barbara are reminders of how precious and fragile life is, and the risks we take in life doing the things we love.

What disturbs me the most in the Fran Crippen case is that the race organizers seemed not to have in place people or equipment that would have allowed him to get help when he really needed it, whatever his ailment. Reports say it took two hours to find him after the race. Having not done any open water racing, I'm not familiar with normal precautions, but I would think that there ought to be lifeguards patrolling the course to help people who cramp, become ill, dehydrated, or for whatever reason can't continue. Athletes by nature are going to push themselves beyond points of pain and exhaustion. So I refuse to put much blame on the athlete here for not stopping when he felt exhausted or overheated, if that's what really was wrong. If he had stopped, who would have been nearby to help him anyway? Apparently, no one. Organizers of events like this should make sure there's a safety plan in place to avoid situations like this. Hopefully a review of this event will lead to better procedures in future FINA and other open water races.
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  #8  
Old 10-25-2010
CoachBillL CoachBillL is offline
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Default Fran Crippen

I don't know anything about the organization of this event; any open water event I've been around was fanatical about safety, often with almost as many kayackers, etc., on the water as swimmers -- but it's still impossible to keep everybody 100% safe in the water (or on a bike, or in a road race.) We had a swimmer fail to come out of the water in a sprint tri in Philadelphia in June, and nobody missed him until the end of the swim leg -- and that race has an elaborate safety network. I would not assume without good evidence that the organizers were at fault.
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  #9  
Old 10-25-2010
terry terry is offline
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My impression, on reading accounts, is that FINA officials may be guilty of craven negligence. The water temp is only one aspect. They have strict rules for pool racing that water temp must be 78F, because that is considered an optimal temp for high performance. They recognize that even a few degrees higher, say 82 or 83, could lead to overheating at the exertion levels in elite racing.
So why would they schedule a race where the water temp is 87 and the air 100? One reason, financial commitments by local organizers. They put athletes health at risk for financial reasons. Besides Fran's death, three additional swimmers were hospitalized with hyperthermic symptoms.

As well, there weren't sufficient safety assets to observe that an athlete was in trouble. After Fran failed to finish, according to reports I have read, other swimmers found his body -- after swimming back 2k from the finish. What a disgrace.

Anyone associated with this decision should resign. And the Crippen family should sue.
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  #10  
Old 10-25-2010
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PASA View Post
...Very sad news. This story, and the recent fatal shark attack on a body surfer only 100 yards from shore at a beach near Santa Barbara are reminders of how precious and fragile life is, and the risks we take in life doing the things we love.
Yes, this is sad news.
And yes, it is a good opportunity to remind ourselves of the preciousness of life and the impermanence underlying it. And also reminding ourselves of the risks we take in being alive.

My mother is 90 years old and still plays tennis. A few weeks ago a man - a lot younger than my mother - on a neighboring court had a heart attack. There was immediate help through a doctor who was also playing; a helicopter brought him to the nearby hospital only short after the incident. He was resuscitated, spent a couple of weeks in coma and then he died.
It was not a question of help being available or not.

I wouldn't put blame on the organizers. And I wouldn't put blame on the athlete. I wouldn't put any blame anywhere because blame doesn't solve anything, it only creates bad feelings, it creates guilt in people.

I'd rather talk about responsibility. And I have a strong tendency not to free individuals from responsibility that should be theirs according to common sense.
A few years ago I spent some time in a hotel in Jersey City. It had these sliding windows and a sign next to the window saying something like: 'Opening the window more than a few inches is dangerous because you could fall out'. There was a little device in the window that prevented it from being opened more than a few inches. The hotel room was on the ground floor, the window was about 1 meter above the ground and there was a nice lawn outside of it.
I found the same a little later when I moved into an apartment in the 20th floor. I got some tools and in both cases I removed the device so I could open the windows completely. I reinstalled everything before I left the rooms.
I am not a little kid, I know what a window is and I know what gravity is. I regard it being my responsibility if I fall out of a window, if there aren't any special circumstances that I cannot forsee or cannot count on. A window does not fall in that category. And I believe that it is utterly unfair to put the responsibility or the blame for that on someone else.

If we swim in OW we need to be aware that certain things can happen to us which can get life-threatening because we are in that hostile environment of water. If we don't want to accept that then we shouldn't swim in OW. But if we decide to swim in OW than we shouldn't put the responsibility on someone else. And in case of an OW event it might be a good practice to check the security being installed, decide whether to take part or not and then relax with whatever our decision is.

Having said that I don't mean that there is no need for security in OW events. There is, of course, also a responsibility by the organizers. A certain level of security needs to be installed. As an organizer you have to be prepared for people having cramps etc, as PASA said.
But there doesn't exist a security that can cover everything that could possible happen.
If you want that you need to swim in an endless pool of 2 meters length and a depth of 1 meter. And even then there is no guarantee.
Fanatic or paranoid security will not help. It might only create a false and deceiving sense of security.

I think we sometimes have a tendency to think that if there was only enough security nothing could happen or we couldn't die. That is a complete illusion. We don't die because of a lack of security, we die because it is the very nature of life. But again that doesn't mean that it does not matter what we do, and that we should get careless.

In the Middle Ages there was a Christian saying - used as a greeting - that says 'Memento mori', which actually is Latin 'Memento moriendum esse', which means 'Be aware that you have to die'.

So, swim happily, live happily and, I recommend, if you are reminded of death feel happy that you are alive, think of impermanence, sort out your priorities, think of the deceased and don't forget them.
For my experience life gets a lot more intense and joyfull if I am aware of my own impermanence. I could even think of participating in an OW event ;-)
Unfortunately I constantly keep forgetting about impermanence.

In fact, we could all die at any moment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachBillL View Post
.. -- but it's still impossible to keep everybody 100% safe in the water (or on a bike, or in a road race.)
That is the point.

Hang on in there...


PS. Some years ago I saw a British stamp that showed a cartoon where a man went to the pharmacy and asked: 'Do you have something against the human condition? '
That was truely British.
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