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Auto Accident Knocks Maddy Crippen Out of Nationals -- August 2, 2001

By Phillip Whitten
Aug. 2. OLYMPIAN Maddy Crippen, was injured in an auto accident on Sunday and will not compete at the USA Swimming National Championships in Clovis, Calif. August 14-18.

Crippen is the second 2000 Olympian to withdraw from the meet due to injury. Last week, gold medalist Misty Hyman bowed out due to a shoulder injury.

Crippen, who won the 400 IM at the NCAA Championships in 1999, finished sixth in the 400 IM in Sydney last year. She was scheduled to compete in the 200 and 400 IM in Clovis, and hoped to earn a trip to Brisbane for the Goodwill Games.

According to a story by Ira Josephs in today's Philadelphia Inquirer, Crippen, 21, suffered a broken jaw after the airbag in her car inflated during an accident on the Schuylkill Expressway. A blown tire, she said, caused the accident.

Crippen was on her way to pick up her brother, Fran, one of the nation's top young distance swimmers, when the accident occurred. After spending the night at a local hospital, she underwent surgery on Monday. A plate was inserted in her jaw.

"I'll be fine," said Crippen, whose jaw is not wired shut. "My face is swollen, and it looks worse than it is. I can't eat solid foods and I don't look great."

"This takes the wind out of our sails," said Germantown Academy Aquatic Club coach Dick Shoulberg, Crippen's coach.