The Fran Crippen Elevation Foundation has named Matt McLean and Ashley Twichell the recipients of their first edition of the Work the Dream Grant.
The grant was established by the FCEF to serve as financial aid for elite swimmers who “share Fran’s passion and dedication to the sport.” The award is designed to honor the memory of Fran Crippen, and is awarded just two weeks shy of the one-year anniversary of his death during an open water race in Dubai last year.
There are no two more deserving and poetic recipients of this honor.
McLean is a fellow Virginia alum who really in the past year-plus has really made a strong push towards the Olympic dream. He was the 2011 USA Swimming National Champion in the 400 free.
Ashley Twichell is a budding open water sensation who recently graduated from Duke and was a member of the 2011 World Championships Team. She came home from that meet with two medals: an individual bronze in the 5k race, and also a gold medal as part of the American team event. She too has a great shot at making the Olympic Team, though her only shot will be to earn the lone American entry in the 10km.
I think that the committee picked perfect recipients of the award. They’re two swimmers who are really on the cusp of Olympic berths, and both have uprooted their East Coast worlds in the last year to move to the West Coast and chase the dream, and this financial support could be the nudge that they need to get over that hump.
This award sort of has a double message to it. Not only are they supporting the Olympic dream, but they are supporting two athletes who really encompass what Fran stood for. Twichell’s award could potentially have an exponential effect on the sport of open water swimming if she’s able to make the Olympic Team and perform well.
To read more about the Fran Crippen Elevation Foundation and all of the great work that they are doing, click here.