Around the Rings On the Scene in Barcelona: Swimmers oppose new rule


On the Scene -- Swimmers Opposed to FINA Rule Change; First Medals Awarded


The close finish of Saturday's 5km open water swim event. (ATR)

(ATR) Open water swimmers appear opposed to new maximum temperature for open water swimming. 

FINA, aquatics governing body, established 31 Celsius as the maximum temperature for open water swimming events at its Technical Bureau meeting earlier this week. 

In 2010, United States swimmer Fran Crippen died from heat complications during an open water swim event when temperatures were in excess of 31 Celsius. 

Hayley Anderson, the new world champion in 5km swim event said simply of the new rule: “it’s too hot.” 

She added: “the nature of open water is to push yourself to your limits, being competitors we don’t know when to stop so we’re going to push ourselves. FINA wants us to swim in too hot of water it makes it too dangerous.”

Diving action on Saturday. (ATR)

A two-year study from FINA, the IOC, International Triathlon Union and conducted with New Zealand’s University of Otago found that temperatures above 31 Celsius put swimmer’s safety at risk. 

“Coming from all the athletes I’ve never heard one athlete say that’s safe,” Anderson said. “If the athletes say it’s not safe you kind of know it’s not safe.”

German swimmer Isabelle Franziska Harle shared Anderson’s concerns. 

“It’s too hot for me,” she said. 

“I think you have to put a line at maybe 29 or 28. The pool is 26, it’s optimal.”

Any changes to the FINA decision would have to come from the coaches. 

Massimo Giuliani, the Italian head coach, doesn’t see that happening. He claims the swimmers concerns are isolated, and that many teams requested the change. 

Italy's Massimo Giuliani. (ATR)

He said one possibility to change is creating different limits for different races. 

“Swimming in 31 Celsius for one hour in 5 kilometers is one thing, swimming 25 kilometers for five-and-a-half hours is another. The reaction and the safety of the athletes is completely different.” 

He also pointed out, if you set a lower maximum temperature, it becomes more difficult to find hosts for open water swimming events. 

Anderson won the 5km event on Saturday, defeating Brazil’s Poliana Okimoto-Cintra by .2 seconds, with a time of 56:34.2. Ana Marcela Cunha of Brazil finished third. 

Other medal events today include women’s synchronized 3m springboard diving event, solo technical routine in synchronized swimming and the men’s 5m open swim event. 

Competition runs until Aug. 4.

Brazilians on 2016

Ana Marcela Cunha and Poliana Okimoto-Cintra of Brazil. (ATR)

The medal-winning duo from Brazil said they are both targeting Rio 2016. 

“This is our first year we are thinking about 2016,” Cunha said. “We are just starting to prepare for that.” 

Okimoto-Cintra said she is first targeting the 2015 World Championships—the qualifiers for the Rio Games, and her races in the 10km and 25km at this year’s world championships. 

She added that her hope is to “be there and fighting for a medal.” 

Written by Ed Hula III.

For general comments or questions, click here.

20 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics, for subscribers only.