NE Swimming Partners
USA Swimming investigates Crippen's death

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMonday, October 25, 2010 
Contact: Jamie Olsen, (
USA Swimming to Conduct Independent Investigation into Death of Open Water Champion Fran Crippen at FINA event
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- USA Swimming will commission a full, independent investigation into the tragic death of open water swimmer Fran Crippen at Saturday’s FINA World Cup event in Fujairah, UAE, the organization announced Monday.
The investigation will be conducted independently of the FINA investigation. FINA is the international governing body for swimming that sanctioned Saturday’s race.
USA Swimming’s investigation will examine exactly what happened to Crippen, why it happened and what can be learned to keep such an incident from happening again.
“What happened in Fujairah on Saturday is an absolute tragedy, and a thorough investigation must be conducted to provide clear answers to the family and swimming community, as well as to identify and establish clear guidelines by which all international competitions should be conducted.” said Chuck Wielgus, executive director of USA Swimming. “With the insight gained from this investigation, USA Swimming plans to call on FINA and its member nations to thoroughly review and improve open water safety protocols, procedures and precautions.”
The details and specifics of this investigation, including its timetable for completion are currently being worked out and will be forthcoming.
Jamie R. Olsen
Communications Director
USA Swimming
We recognize that FINA and others may very well be conducting investigations into Fran Crippen’s death, but we believe it is extremely important that USA Swimming commission its own independent investigation to learn for ourselves exactly what happened to Fran, why it happened, and what can be learned so that a tragedy like this never happens again.  We have shared this with the Crippen family and they are supportive, and we have promised to share everything we learn with them.
We recognize that this announcement will generate many questions (who will conduct the investigation? how will the investigation be handled? what will happen with the information that is uncovered? Etc.); and we will provide answers to these questions at a later date.  We  firmly believe, however, that it is important that we state our intent to conduct the investigation now!  In the coming days we will be researching who and how this investigation will be conducted, and we will keep people apprised as appropriate.
Bruce Stratton & Chuck Wielgus
President and Executive Director
USA Swimming
Memorial Service:  Plans are tentatively being made for services to take place this coming Saturday, but nothing can be confirmed until there is absolute certainly on the transport plans for Fran’s return home.  As soon as we know anything specific we will share that information. 
This update includes an attached letter from the good folks at U.S. Masters Swimming.  New condolences have also come in from Argentina, Tunisia and from many, many individuals from throughout the swimming world.