Fran Crippen, 26, died Saturday during the last leg of the Marathon Swimming World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.This is bad, bad news.
My wife and I went to the UAE in May of this year. We did visit a beach but didn't swim in open water -- but -- I wanted to do so. And, we even had a companion, a master swimmer from Omaha, that was about to join us. Swimming around The Palm was in our sights, but, the hours were pressing. We went to the pool instead.
UAE has some places that have great skin diving along a reef.
UAE's tradition also includes lots of pear diving where guys in boats worked with weights tied to their legs to easily get to the depths -- and then are pulled topside with bags while wearing gloves.
We are in South Africa now and did a little swim today at the resort pool. No open water is in our future here -- yet. Durbin would be the place to do it but we didn't have any time there. Just into the new airport and a drive to the Campagne Sports Resort at Drakensberg. Won't be interested in open water in Kruger either.
Our driver the other night told us of some folks who swim to South Africa from the neighbors to the north, fleeing border guards. They travel the width of the river with a chicken on a rope at the end of a stick on the back of a croc. No joke. They use the animal for a ride by climbing on its back.
I asked what about another joining in to grab the chicken before one had covered the width of the river. Then what.
This had been a rumor here, but, was confirmed by a journalist who went to find the area and witnessed such a crossing.
Later in South Africa there is a water polo match and it would be great to find its location and try to get there, but, we'll see.
Had a great talk yesterday with a ENT doctor from Cape Town who had been to Pittsburgh twice. He has two sons, like us, who are exactly the same ages as Erik and Grant. And he is a master swimmer. He would have been in the SA Masters Championships this weekend, but this conference is in the way.
We are at the 46th Congress for South African Society of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery in assocation with the South African Association of Audiologists and South Africa Head & Neck Oncology Society.
Got to run. Tennis under the lights is in ouer future. Played 18 holes of golf today. Grant is hitting par and often 1 over par by a foot. We are hitting the cup with the putt from 10-foot, and it rims out.
RIP Crippen. Peace to all.