By Pete Williams
Ever since Fran Crippen died during an open-water 10K swimming race in the United Arab Emirates in October, his two younger sisters have managed to balance grief with swimming for their respective Division I programs.
Fran Crippen, a former University of Virginia star, had become a standout in the world of U.S. distance swimming at the age of 26. Older sister Maddy starred at Villanova and swam at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
Claire Crippen, 22, followed Fran to the University of Virginia. Now a senior (or fourth-year as we Wahoos like to say), she’s a team captain and two-time ACC champion in the 400 IM who will lead her team at the ACC championships in Atlanta this weekend. As Jeff White chronicled on the University of Virginia Web site recently, Claire was very close to her brother, who though four years older rarely missed one of her meets in Charlottesville.
Teresa Crippen, a 20-year-old junior, is an All-American at Florida. Like Claire, she dominates the 400 IM. The two squared off during a dual meet between the Cavaliers and Gators in Gainesville in October, with Teresa finishing ahead of her older sister in the 200 butterfly and 200 IM. The Gators host the SEC championships this weekend and as Antoya English writes in today’s St. Petersburg Times, Teresa swims to honor her brother’s memory.