Go Swim produced an open water swimming series with America’s most successful – and unselfish – elite marathon swimmer over the last few years, Fran Crippen.

Fran, a multi-time national champion and world championship medalist, explains and demonstrates his hints and recommendations for fast, efficient freestyle in the open water – how to stay long and smooth, improve your catch and pull, develop a more effective kick, tweak your body position and train for distance and speed.

One of the key points that Fran teaches is how to stay aware of the conditions and competitions during a race – a skill that Fran ably and incredibly demonstrated at last week’s Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Long Beach.

Early in the race, during the second loop of the 10K race, Fran noticed that the speed of the lead pack was slow. He also knew that his teammate and fellow competitor, Alex Meyer, was ill and not normally himself. Alex, a world champion, was on the top of his game until stricken by a virus 48 hours before the competition.

Fran, knowing how hard Alex had worked for this opportunity, slowed down from the top tier of the lead pack and purposefully made his way to the back of the pack to encourage his obviously ailing and weakened friend.

Fran – in the middle of a race – lifted up his head and graciously, but firmly, shouted motivating words to Alex who acknowledged his thoughts and intentions. Once Alex nodded his head after Fran’s encouragement, Fran hustled back up to the front of the back and resumed the chase.

Chivalrous. Bighearted. An unprecedented example of unselfish support of a teammate.

No one who we know would do that in a major international competition with the exception of Fran, the humble yet charismatic leader of the American elite open water swimming community.

Access Fran’s Go Swim video here.

Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatones