Fran Was My Friend

Fran Was My Friend

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

FINA issued information announcing several open water swimming stars and Olympians who will be participating in its FINA/HOSA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup in Abu Dhabi on March 13th, organized by Ayman Saad.

One of those athletes FINA named was Brian Ryckeman, a world-class professional marathon swimmer and two-time Olympic marathon swimmer from Belgium. The Daily News of Open Water Swimming read the information published by FINA and reported Ryckeman’s participation here.

However, Ryckeman is not attending Saad‘s comeback event on the FINA/HOSA pro circuit.

I’m not going to swim in the World Cup [in Abu Dhabi],” explains the seriously-minded endurance athlete whose nickname is Brainiac. “Fran was my friend. I was the first in line with Alex [Meyer] to protest this race. I’m not competing there for the same reason as I didn’t compete at the [FINA World Championship 25 km race] in Shanghai for the same reason.

I promised myself something 5 years ago and I’m sticking to that promise. I will swim Fran’s race in 2 weeks to give my support to the United States athletes. I also worked hard 5 years ago to collect all swimmers’ signatures for the letter we sended to FINA (which we never received an answer), so I still stand 200% behind my decision

With additional prize money offered by FINA and Saad to entice swimmers to the event, decisions like Ryckeman’s say a lot in a world where professional marathon swimmers work hard for every monetary opportunity presented to them.

Ryckeman and leading United States athletes will participate in the 2015 Crippen Cup 10K Marathon Invitational (Crippen 10K Cup) on March 28th in Miromar Lake on the Florida Gulf Coast University campus in Fort Meyers, Florida. The entry deadline is March 16th. For more information, visit here.

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