Fran Crippen, A Personal Perspective

Posted on October 28, 2010


Special thanks to guest blogger, Katie Gordon.  Katie is a Blue Dolfin alum who went on to be a stand out swimmer at the University of Virginia, where she not only was a 4-year teammate of Fran Crippen, but shared a lane with him in the pool. My condolences not only to Katie and the Crippen family, but to the enitre world of swimming who lost an exceptional person.

The University of Virginia swimming and diving men’s and women’s teams are a family and last Saturday we tragically lost our brother. Fran Crippen was not only our teammate, he was a son to Pat and Pete, brother to Maddy, Teresa, and Claire, friend, leader, and champion in sport and life.

I had the privilege of training with Fran in the UVA distance group for four years and watching him grow into a tremendous leader and competitor. His mental toughness and work ethic were unparalleled and inspirational. I can conjure images of Fran, alone on the UVA pool deck long after everyone else had left morning practice, either on our Vasa trainer or pounding a medicine ball. But this tremendous commitment didn’t prevent Fran from being a light-hearted goofball. His big, bright smile and friendly demeanor was infectious and he could put a smile on even the grouchiest face at early morning practice. Needless to say, everyone who swam with Fran adored him.

Fran had considerable talent, but make no mistake, his successful swimming career was due to his tremendous heart. Younger swimmers should be inspired by his legacy- hard work, mental toughness, respect for teammates and competitors, and passion for his sport. His love for life and swimming will carry on, as he has left an indelible mark on the lives of all of us who knew him.

Posted in: Legends, Memory Lane