American swimmer dies in competition

US swimmer Fran Crippen celebrates on the podium his gold medal for the 10 Km Male Aquatic Marathon...

US swimmer Fran Crippen celebrates on the podium his gold medal for the 10 Km Male Aquatic Marathon 14 July 2007 during the XV Pan American Games Rio 2007, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AFP PHOTO ANTONIO SCORZA)

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, Last Updated: 3:29 PM ET

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- American open water swimmer Fran Crippen died Saturday while competing in an event in the United Arab Emirates. He was 26 years old.

According to a release from FINA, the international swimming governing body, Crippen died during the last leg of the 10-kilometer marathon swimming World Cup on Saturday.

The cause of death remains under investigation.

"USA Swimming, its employees, members, national team athletes and coaches are deeply saddened today by the death of Fran Crippen," USA Swimming said in a statement. "Fran was a champion swimmer but more importantly, a tremendous person, and he will be remembered for so many extraordinary qualities. We send our sincere condolences and deepest sympathies to the Crippen family, a family that is a treasured member of the USA Swimming family. We will continue to work with FINA, the meet host and others to determine how this tragedy occurred."

Crippen, from Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, was a bronze medalist in the 10K at the 2009 FINA World Championship.


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