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R.I.P.

Fran Crippen, a medal-winning open-water swimmer on the U.S. national team, told his coach he wasn’t feeling well late in a race before he died in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday. The 26-year-old from a family of prominent swimmers in suburban Philadelphia was competing in the FINA Open Water 10-kilometer World Cup in Fujairah, south of Dubai, but failed to finish and was found in the water two hours later, according to Swimming World.

The magazine said the water temperature was in the mid- to high-80s, and several swimmers were treated for heat exhaustion after the race. Swimmers were the first to respond when Crippen failed to arrive at the finish. Several returned to the water to search for him and were soon followed by a dive team. Crippen’s body was found just before the last buoy on the 2-kilometer triangular course, race organizers said.

He was rushed to shore and transported to Fujairah Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. FINA President Julio Maglione of Uruguay said he was told that after eight kilometers Crippen told his coach that he wasn’t feeling well. “He continued and he was found in the deep of the water,” Maglione said from Acapulco, Mexico, where he was attending Olympic meetings.

Crippen’s family is well-known in the swimming world. Maddy Crippen swam for Villanova and competed in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Claire Crippen was an NCAA All-American at Virginia, and Teresa Crippen currently swims for the University of Florida and is a member of the U.S. national team

“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.”

So sad. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

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