Friday, July 24, 2009

First-Person Account Of Men's 10K Finish

Here is a first-person description by Fran Crippen of his controversial 10K race - and its outcome - at the 2009 World Swimming Championships:

"Wow what a day! The last 36 hours has been a roller coaster of emotions."

"I guess it started with frustration when I was barreling into the finish of the 10K and went head on into the yellow finish buoy. These buoys are 50 meters from the finish and are used to mark the beginning of the finish chute. I had been breathing to my right and was concentrating so much on sprinting efficiently and trying to win the race that I misjudged my position. My momentum carried me under the buoy and when I popped up I came to a dead stop and was on the wrong side of the lane lines."

"After a few hard strokes I dove under the lane line, put my head down, and put everything I had into trying to catch back up to Thomas Lurz. I was able to recover, pass a few competitors, and grab the bronze medal. As soon I finished I was beyond elated when I found out that my team mate, Andrew Gemmel, got silver. Silver and bronze for the US- Awesome!"

"While preparing for the awards ceremony I learned that the Italians - who had a swimmer finish fourth - had protested that finish. I immediatly thought it was a joke. The only person I hurt was myself! I came to a complete stop with 50 meters to go and didn't interfere with any other swimmers- how can that be cheating? We thought that the protest would be thrown out immediately, but to our suprise the head referee approved the Italian's position."

"We immediately protested the protest and that was refuted by the head referee. At this point, I was in shock. I just swam one of the best 10K's of my career and it was becoming clear that I was going to be disqualified. Our final move was to appeal to higher court."

"So this morning, Catherine Vogt, Paul Asmuth, Jack Roach, Mark Schubert and I went before the FINA burea with our appeal. This consists of 24 members from countries all around the world that would rule on the race. We were confident that justice would prevail and the board would understand that I did not break any rules and only hurt myself - still it was very unnevering."

"This morning we drove into Rome for the hearing. We constructed an appeal doccument and submitted it to the board, but then were left outside to sit and wait. I felt like we waited for hours, but finally, after the Bureau's deliberation, we received news that we had won the appeal."

"It was an amazing feeling and to say we were thrilled would be an understatement. I never envisioned that winning my first medal at world championships would be such an ordeal but all in all it was a success."

Copyright © 2009 by World Open Water Swimming Association

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Way to go Fran ...Congrats and GO USA. Enjoy the awards ceremny with Andrew tonight and 2 USA Flags !!!