Fran Crippen was a loyal ambassador of sport, fair play, and humanitarian goodwill. After being a pool swimmer for most of his career, in 2006 Fran made the transition to open water swimming, where he had tremendous success. A graduate of the University of Virginia, Fran was an 11-time All-American and two-time Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) swimmer of the year. He earned a bronze medal as a member of USA Swimming at the 2001 Goodwill Games in Brisbane, Australia. At the 2003 Pan American Games, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, he won two individual silver medals in the 400 and 1500 m freestyle. Fran represented the United States at the Pan Pacific Championships in 2006, where he earned a silver medal in the 10 km open water swim. From 2006 to 2008 Fran represented the Mission Viejo Nadadores in California and swam for coach Bill Rose. In 2007, he earned a gold medal in the 10 km distance event at the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Two years later, Fran won a bronze medal in the 10 km open water race at the 2009 World Aquatics Championships. A year later, Fran again won silver in the 10 km at the 2010 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Irvine, California. Fran was a six-time US National Champion. He won two national titles in the 800 m freestyle, two in the 5 km open water, and two in the 10 km open water event. He represented Germantown Academy Aquatic Club in Fort Washington, PA. He also represented TYR Sport, Inc.
Swimming is a Crippen family affair. Fran’s oldest sister, Maddy, was a 2000 Olympian in the 400 individual medley. Fran’s two younger sisters have also found great success in the pool. Claire Crippen is a National Finalist, NCAA All-American, and ACC record holder at the University of Virginia. Teresa competes on the US National Team and for the University of Florida. She was a 2007 Pan American Games Champion.
Fran died while swimming the last race of FINA’s 2010 10K series in Fujairah, UAE, having won the penultimate race in Cancun, Mexico, the weekend before. The Fran Crippen Elevation Foundation was developed by Fran’s family and friends to continue Fran’s legacy. The FCEF empowers athletes who exemplify the principles Fran embodied as they journey to elevate themselves, by providing aid for athletes as well as advocating for safe competitive environments.