I didn't know Fran well. However, my impression of him is one of a real, honest-to-goodness, rare, "good guy."
I was a "professional" diver for a brief time between 2005 and 2007 (I made $2,000 in 2 years). I was sponsored by TYR Sport, Inc. So was Fran. In 2006 Fran and I did a photo shoot for TYR in Long Beach (this sounds much more glamourous than it actually was). We joked, laughed, and enjoyed our afternoon pretending to be models.
Mark knew him better. Both Fran and Mark had been at the top or near the top of their games for a handful of years, so their paths would cross... often. When Mark heard the news of Fran's passing, he looked at me and said, "But, I had dinner with him just weeks ago."
We both still have moments when we look at each other in utter shock. "I just can't believe it."
The Crippen Family is a staple in the swimming community. My experience with them is brief passings here and there (airports, bleechers, snack bars, etc.), however anytime they are mentioned, without fail, someone says, "What a nice family."
My heart breaks for them. Please help us in rallying around the immediate Crippen Family and the rest of the USA Swimming Family as we greive the passing of a great athlete and all-around good guy.