A lack of transparency in open waters

by Bonnie D. Ford - I never met Fran Crippen, but once I began writing about his death, it didn't take me long to understand his profound and lasting impact on people.

When I encounter someone who knew Crippen -- or sometimes merely knew of him -- their response when I mention his name is often the same: a hand involuntarily pressed to the heart. Crippen had it all -- looks, brains, talent, personality and a keen sense of fairness and sportsmanship.

But the reason I've persisted in reporting on the ripple effect of Crippen's October 2010 death in a 10-kilometer World Cup race in the United Arab Emirates is not because he was charismatic, which he was; or because he came from a lovely family, which he did; or because people miss him deeply, which they do. I went down that path for one reason: I wanted to know how a world-class swimmer could drown in plain sight in a competition, and what could be done to prevent it from happening again.

FINA tries to seduce swimmers with money to swim at the UAE 10 km

FINA Insider Tells Bureau ‘Rules Broken’ For UAE To Triple Prize Pot & Scupper Crippen Cup

A senior member of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee (TOWSC) has written to the Bureau member who serves as the official liaison between experts and career politicians at the federation to remind him that rules have been broken when it comes to the United Arab Emirates offering triple prize money to entice swimmers to its open water event four years after the death of Fran Crippen there.

The debate over FINA returning Open Water to the UAE so soon after the death of Fran Crippen in October 2010 tipped over into greater controversy his week when it emerged that the UAE, with FINA permission, had increased the prize money for its Marathon Series event next month from US$20,000 to $60,000 even though TOWSC members were told categorically last autumn that there could be no change to the level of financial rewards for each round of the FINA tour until a possible rule change could be voted on in 2016.

Nejib Belhedi ends Iron Swim attempt after 3.5 hours

On Valentine’s Day, Nejib Belhedi attempted to swim from the island of Kerkennah to Sfax, Tunisia’s second city. It’s a distance of about 18km. For experienced open water swimmers, such a swim is relatively routine, but Nejib wanted to make it harder. He wanted a challenge to justify the description “Iron Swim” so he added in a boat to tow and chose to swim at the coldest time of year.

Sierra Leone Sports: SLSDWA outlines plans for 2015

The Scribe of Sierra Leone Swimming Diving and Water Polo Association (SLSDWA), Mohamed Turay has released their calendar of activities for 2015.
Speaking to Mohamed Turay in an interview with this medium he said the association have so many activities to undertake this year, that is why they have outlined their plans very early to work in line with the Ministry of Sport, Sport Council and the National Olympic Committee-Sierra Leone.

UAESF "understand" USA Swimming's boycott of open water race

"But we also have a duty to deliver races to help promote open water swimming - a discipline that is collapsing and needs more heroes and races to get back to its glory days.

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Comment by Niek:

Questions surround UAE race

International swimming officials have added a 10-kilometer open water race in the United Arab Emirates to the 2015 calendar over strenuous objections from the United States, putting the event back in the hands of the national federation cited for inadequate safety practices in the 2010 drowning death of Fran Crippen.

FINA's Marathon World Cup series schedule now includes a race in Abu Dhabi on March 13, with the notation "tbc" -- to be confirmed. The race is contingent on the success of a test event to be held Feb. 22, using local swimmers on the same course. Under an agreement reached at the international governing body's meetings in Spain late last year, safety measures are to be evaluated by four members of its Technical Open Water Swimming Committee.

However, a scant eight weeks before the actual race is slated to take place, little to no information regarding the test event has been revealed by FINA or relayed to athletes and national federations, and the exact course location is still unclear. An email from last week requesting comment from multiple committee members yielded two polite responses but no specifics.

American Contingent Likely to Boycott if UAE Secures Bid for FINA Open Water World Cup Spot in 2015

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, October 9. FINA is currently considering a bid by the United Arab Emirates to host a stop on the FINA Open Water World Cup series in 2015, and the United States open water swimming community will not stand for it considering that Fran Crippen became the first swimmer to die during a FINA-recognized event four years ago in Fujairah, UAE.

In an article for ESPN, Bonnie Ford reports that a bid by the UAE was considered by FINA’s Technical Open Water Swimming Committee last month, with two representatives of UAE Swimming currently part of that committee.  Additionally, one of the members of the committee, Ayman Saad of Egypt, oversaw the race in which Crippen died. A final decision will be made during the FINA Aquatics Convention in Doha, Qatar next month.

The Mad Swim, 500 km Mozambique to Madagascar


Two crazy chaps from Cape Town set out to swim the 500km Mozambique Channel for a good cause and a great time

Mozambique to Madagascar

During March and April 2014, there will be an unprecedented 500 km charity stage swim attempt by Thane Guy Williams and Jonno Proudfoot from Mozambique to Madagascar!