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  #11  
Old 10-25-2010
sasquatch sasquatch is offline
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Sad news no matter what decisions led up to it. I'm not a fan of litigious recourse and monetary "compensation" because no amount would ever make up for their loss, but if Terry's information is correct I'd be sorely tempted to make an exception in this case.

I know several people who've been upset when a swim has been cancelled because of unsafe conditions. Their thinking is usually that the organizers were being too cautious and that they could personally swim in any conditions. However (knowing the alternative) I don't think it's possible to be "too cautious"

Be careful out there
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  #12  
Old 10-25-2010
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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Terry, I saw your post only after I posted mine.

I can definitely see the point in this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
So why would they schedule a race where the water temp is 87 and the air 100? ...


What a disgrace.
And I can see what you mean with this, and there is a point to this:
Quote:
Anyone associated with this decision should resign. And the Crippen family should sue.
But I still ask: Where is the responsibility of the athlete?
They are not stupid, they are professionals, in fact. They know the conditions and their effects. If they don't know who does then?
The ones who leads them into temptation, that is the one side and that has to be investigated.
But it always takes two hands to clap. Where is my responsibility if I allow someone to lead me into temptation?

Of course this is a very sensitive topic here in face of this tragic event, but if this is not the occasion to talk about it then it will never come. And I am not talking of the legal viewpoint - that is another story and has it's own inhibitions.
But generally speaking I don't think it is helpful in any way if we leave the individual free of any responsibility like an innocent victim and put all the blame on the outside, on organizers, governments or whatever the 'authority' might be.
It means at the same time that we shift all the power over us and our actions to the outside(rs) and allow ourselves being reduced to helpless idiots.

I personally refuse to take on that view even on the risk of having no one to sue if I bring myself into trouble.

I think that the most benefit of sueing the organizers is to prevent that such things do happen again in the future. That would be a good benefit and can bring a positive side to this death that otherwise seems to be without any sense.

But it will not make Fran Crippen alive and I can not see how trying to find something or someone out there being responsible will help his family in their berievement. I believe that this could have an opposite effect on them and will bring more suffering where solace and pacifying is needed. It might leave them with the hatefull feeling that someone 'out there' did something wrong and that is why Fran Crippen died. That would be quite contrary to being peaceful.

But it also it might be that we actually do mean the same and I am just sensitive in another way, culturally conditioned, so to speak.

Anyway, I don't mean to start a quarrel here.
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  #13  
Old 10-25-2010
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CoachDave CoachDave is offline
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Default To note on this situation

To be a professional swimmer on the World cup circuit, a swimmer had to still compete in all races to keep their point placement. Their income depended on doing a race which did not fit the standards of safety laid out be USA Swimming and FINA. Crippen did not want to do this race, but his livelihood and sponsorship in many ways depended on it. That's where the accountability comes in. OW swimmers have a reasonable expectation that event organizers will avoid major safety problems and be prepared for emergencies. In this case, they had done neither.
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  #14  
Old 10-25-2010
PASA PASA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haschu33 View Post
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.
Hashu33 - you made some very valid points in your piece about personal responsibility and the inherent risk in just living. Totally agree we all need to understand that we are all going to die at some point, and it's not always someone's "fault."

But, as social animals, one thing we tend to do, and need to do, is trust others. Without such trust, events such as an OW swim race could not take place. Fran Crippen and the others trusted the organizers to hold an event in safe conditions. Now, if no changes are made in the way OW races are organized as a result of this tragic event, it will be natural for OW swimmers to have a bit less less trust in the safety of their races. I hope that does not happen.

This is where litigation might help, and this is what litigation is really about (though many think it's about $). Lawsuits can force people to examine their own behevior, and assign responsibility where it belongs, including a share on the injured person to the extent they acted unreasonably in any way. Perhaps through a lawsuit we'll learn that the cause of his death was not the heat or anything else within the event organizers' control, but only by carefully examining every aspect of this tragic event will we be able to benefit from it by learning the root cause(s), and OW events may adopt new safety standards. Perhaps rules will forbid events taking place in waters above a certain temp. or where air is also above a certain temp, or require different patrol measures. Whatever happens, I hope the result is that OW swimmers will be able to have more trust in the safety of their races, not less.
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  #15  
Old 10-25-2010
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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No doubt in due course we will know more about what happened and exactly what the cause of death was, but in any case the fact that Fran Crippen's body was not found until something like two hours after the end of the race and the fact that nobody saw him lose consciousness reflects very badly on the race organization, especially when the organizers must have known that the conditions were not ideal and in fact dangerous.
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  #16  
Old 10-26-2010
terry terry is offline
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I entirely agree with the views expressed that personal responsibility should be at least equal to institutional responsibility, and that litigation and financial compensation bring little real satisfaction.

At the same time, Dave's point that athletes do depend on the good faith of race organizers is true and, having been a young athlete -- and an older one -- I know the pronounced tendency of athletes to a sense of invulnerability and the capacity to endure or overcome difficulty that 'ordinary' humans would shrink from.

From his early teens or earlier, Fran had swum for Dick Shoulberg at Germantown AC in Phila. Dick is renowned for being among the most demanding of all swim coaches. 10k of butterfly -- and even 40k IM swims - are legendary features of his practices.

So to Fran, swimming 10k of freestyle, even in uncomfortably warm water, would probably not seem extreme. But event organizers - and the medical officers of FINA, the event, and the US team - should know better and not put athletes in a difficult position of making a unilateral decision, which could leave one feeling faint-hearted rather than wise, if the rest of the field opts to swim.

As for litigation and financial recovery, I recognize it will do nothing to ease the pain Fran's loved ones feel. What it can do is lead to more responsible decision making in the future.

Because it seems fairly certain to me that FINA's agreement to host an event in a location and conditions that are clearly not suited to the demands was almost certainly financially motivated, then perhaps the strongest assurance they will act more responsibly in the future would be a financial penalty.

But that's just one man's opinion.
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  #17  
Old 10-26-2010
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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PASA, I absolutely agree with you, and also with you Terry.


What puzzles me is this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
So to Fran, swimming 10k of freestyle, even in uncomfortably warm water, would probably not seem extreme.
So was it an extreme race condition or not?
If not, what happened then and why?
Maybe Fran Crippen had a cardiovascular condition. Maybe it will show what has been observed before: good athletes with a high fitness level are not neccessarely healthy.

And the other thing that puzzles me: I just read that the event was held in Fudschaira which belongs to the Arabic Emirates. If you go for a OW swim event in that area what do you expect? You know that water and air are warm or hot. And although the temperature of 100 seem to be quite high at this time of the year it is neither extreme nor completely unusual. I have been to Saudi Arabia once and arrived at an air temperature of over 130. Which was unusual hot but that happens, obviously. I've also been to the neighboring Oman and if I remember correctly the water temperature in the Golf was warmer than the one in the pool.

In this case the question to ask might not be whether this particular race on this particular day should have been canceled or not but whether to have races in that area at all.

In the FINA rules I only found that the minimum water temperature for OW races must be 16 degrees (C). No mention of maximum water temperature or air temperatures.
No mention of what security level to establish.

All this will decrease chances of any successfull action against the organizers, I'm afraid.
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  #18  
Old 10-26-2010
emergere emergere is offline
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Being a professional lifeguard for 16 years, I am always sad when I here about people who d******n. I see this as an opportunity to examine some of the mythology and ignorance about Aquatics that causes accidents like this one.

Just as a foot note I am Autistic and have special knowledge about the water and swimming. But, I may come off sounding like a jerk so please let me know if I offend gently. It is not my intention to try and prove people wrong or right. I sit and observe people in the water all day every day.

People do and say some strange things in the water. IMHO There is a big giant empty spot in the whole water experience for most people. Let me explain some of my thoughts.

Terry's book fills in a lot of this empty space when he explains how, for instance, using a kick board is mostly counter productive. No one that I know of has used a scientific method (empirically) to prove this wrong or right which begs the question: "Why not".
I am not saying coaches don't get great results, I just wonder why no one has done the research to prove this and a lot of other things having to do with aquatics. (Under funding?). IMHO Terry is probably correct.

Another pioneer in swimming is Melon Dash. In her book on the topic of Fearful Swimmers she states that 64% of the people in this country are afraid to swim in open water, 46% are afraid to swim in a pool with a deep end, and 39% are afraid to put there face in the water. These are huge numbers. I see them every day when I watch and when I teach swimming. She speaks about the mind body connection or lack thereof in the aquatic environment. People listen to there brains in the water for breathing cues for instance, instead of training their bodies to know where the air is.

Also known for pioneering research is Harvey Barnett, PhD. He Founded Infant Swimming Resource and in his Parent workbook he states that water temperatures 88 degrees and above are extremely unhealthy. (Granted he is talking about infants and toddlers but I think it is safe to assume that this applies to adults as well). He also claims that exposure to this high temperature aquatic environment raises blood pressure and inter cranial pressure to unsafe levels.

The other part of this is that one of the myths and disconnect people have about the water temperature is that they can perceive the of it with there skin. We keep our pool water as close to 80 degrees as we can and yet no matter how you try to tell people the water is “relatively warm” they will insist that it is in fact “freezing”. And no matter how many analogies to this you present you can not convince them other wise.

Also, it has been my observation that undiagnosed heat related problems do occur at our pool here in south Florida. They are not easily detected by the guest or the Lifeguards but the clues there if you know what to look for when observing their behavior.

Finally, my point is that there is a lot of work that can be done to make the aquatic environment less mysterious and unknown. To find ways to educate people and show them that most of what they incorrectly think they know is true is probably due to misinformation and here say. That the correct information can help make them less likely to perpetuate the misinformation. And that with the right information the aquatic environment will become safer for everyone.
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  #19  
Old 10-26-2010
CoachBillL CoachBillL is offline
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Default Update

See the story in today's Philadelphia Inquirer on this -- http://www.philly.com/philly/news/ho...estigated.html -- the idea of culpable negligence by local race officials seems to be very much worth under consideration.
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  #20  
Old 10-27-2010
CoachBillL CoachBillL is offline
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Default more on the UAR 10k

See a report by a participant in the race; there seems no doubt that the support structure was inadequate.(http://www.philly.com/philly/news/ho...swim_meet.html.) In my limited experience, anyone who goes face up or raises a hand should have help within 2 minutes or less.
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