Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Saluting The Perseverance Of Fran Crippen

Today is the last day to vote for USA Swimming's Golden Goggles Awards which will be given out at USA Swimming's showcase black-tie event.

This year, America's greatest swimming stars and Hollywood celebrities will celebrate the swims and athletes at the Beverly Hilton on November 22nd.

Fran Crippen's exciting 10K bronze medalist effort at the 2009 World Swimming Championships, was nominated for the Perseverance Award of the Year.

You can vote here for Fran or his fellow nominees Ariana Kukors, Dana Vollmer and Amanda Weir.

From our admittedly biased perspective, Fran's nomination is richly deserved on two different levels. On a macro level, Fran has dedicated himself to the sport of swimming for years, missing out in NCAA victories or Olympic berths, but returning every day to work even hard and be an example to his younger teammates. On a micro level, his 10K race at the 2009 World Swimming Championships was a study in perseverance.

Fran, a national-level pool swimmer for years, is the very definition of perseverance. Most recently, he has really come into his own in the open water. He brings that 'Philly toughness' and cerebral approach to the sport that are so essential for success in the open water. Finding his niche may have taken a few more years than planned, but he is certainly on a roll now with his first world championship medal won in at the 2009 World Swimming Championships.

On a micro level, Fran’s 10K swim was the epitome of perseverance. Not only did he inadvertently run into a buoy during the last critical 50 meters and lose at least two body lengths, but he also fought back from that adversity to catch up to his Italian rival and swim like a madman to capture the bronze. Then, he had to sweat out a 24-hour period and a FINA Bureau appeal and adjudication to confirm his podium appearance.

Fran recalled his swim, "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 teammate, Andrew Gemmell, got silver. Silver and bronze for the US - awesome!"

Fran, like his fellow Golden Goggles nominee Andrew Gemmell, is now seen as a legitimate Olympic 10K medal contender in London. Finding his niche in open water and fighting back from a two body length miscue over the last 50 meters is, in our opinion, the very definition of an individual richly deserving the Perseverance Award of the Year.

Copyright © 2009 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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