By Swimming World Intern Natasha Mascarenhas
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PISCATAWAY, New Jersey, January 11. A sport like swimming is fun and suspenseful to watch, and equally rewarding to participate in. As spectators watch the hundreds of swimmers participating at the 2013 Berkeley Aquatic Club Winter Long Course Invitational (also known as the CeraVe Invitational) there is an underlying message everyone should keep in mind: be safe.
The message to be a safe athlete is being advocated by the Fran Crippen Elevation Foundation (FCEF). The creation of the foundation was inspired by the death of elite open water swimmer Fran Crippen. Crippen died during an open water 10K race in Dubai (UAE), due to overheated water and a lack of safety regulations.
Today, the CeraVe Invitational collects proceeds to benefit the FCEF foundation and urges people to donate money towards the cause. In addition, the meet program features Crippen's inspiring words, spoken prior to his untimely death.
The quote reads, "I wanted to try and do something that could express my gratitude but have since realized that there isn't anything that would properly display my appreciation. My hope is that one day I am in the position where I can pay it forward and support an athlete while they pursue their passions." Crippen's words support the true ideals of FCEF and truly allow the pubic to understand his loving and caring personality.
The foundation has a collection bucket in front of admissions, so that when people pass by they can donate any money they have. Any amount of money is received happily and one hundred percent of donations go straight to a good cause.
"All the money we receive will be donated to the Crippen Foundation during a special tribute. It's really a great way to honor Fran and raise awareness," a volunteer for FCEF stated.
So far the foundation has raised hundreds of dollars and, with the help of publicity, has informed the public on the need to be safe. One of Crippen's biggest beliefs was that money should not determine the success of how far a swimmer can go. As a swimmer, Crippen struggled with monetary support and was always on the search for some helping hands. Now, in honor of Crippen, the foundation promises to help and encourage aspiring Olympic athletes that need money to help further their athletic skills.
Although the tragic death of Fran broke the hearts of many, two years later his legacy lives on through the foundation, and in creating a safer swimmer union.
The FCEF Collection Jar, placed at the entrance to the pool facility at the Sonny Werblin Recreation Center.