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US open water swimmer Francis Crippen has died during a World Cup 10km event in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday, world governing body FINA said.
Crippen, 26, won a 10km bronze medal at the 2009 world championships in Rome and a 5km bronze at the world open water championships in Roberval, Canada, in July this year.
"With immense sadness, FINA mourns the loss of open water swimmer Fran Crippen during the last leg of the 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup, held in Fujairah, on October 23, 2010," FINA said in a statement from its Lausanne headquarters.
"While the causes of this death remain under investigation, FINA and the entire aquatic community address, in this moment of grief, their deepest and sincere condolences to his family, friends and to US Aquatic Sports and the USA Swimming family."
Alaric Gomes, who watched the race, said the other swimmers were very upset when Crippen's body was found and had comforted each other.
"(The) swimmers started weeping openly, I mean they were sad because one of theirs had gone missing and now they had found him and they knew what was obvious so, the people were consoling each other, hugging each other and people who have swum, who have gone round the world and suddenly they find that one of them is no more. It was pretty sad to see," Gomes said.
The United States Olympic Committee said in a statement it was saddened to learn of Crippen's death.
"While details of this tragedy are still forthcoming, we shall keep this outstanding young athlete and his family in our thoughts and prayers."