Sid Cassidy, head referee for the men’s Olympic 10K Marathon Swim next Tuesday, reported on the rough water conditions on the marathon swim course.
“Sadly, [there are] major issues on [the Olympic] race course. King Neptune’s overnight swell scuttled the start and feed barge [see photo above]. [We are] working with the Rio Olympic Games Organizing Committee and the IOC on options.”
A similar situation occurred during the 2009 FINA World Swimming Championships and volunteers on FINA’s Technical Open Water Swimming Committee, namely Cassidy and event director Andrea Prayer executed Plan B and the show went on.
One of the most knowledgeable open water specialists in Brazil, Professor Ricardo Ratto said, “According to our forecast, the sea began to get rough here in Rio de Janeiro [beginning] last Friday. The swell at its highest point was more than 7 feet high. It reach this height last night from Friday to Saturday.
The Olympic course, that was already set, was destroyed. The starting platform was split into three parts, that all came floating to the beach. The feeding platforms were destroyed as well.”
Professor Ratto, who was one of the referees at the 2012 London Olympic 10K, knows what to do when the unexpected occurs. “The Rio Olympic Games Organizing Committee and FINA’s Technical Open Water Swimming Committee have a lot of work to set the course all over again. The consulting company that was tasked to do the repair work asked for a day and a half to perform and complete their duties.
Fortunately, the forecast for the next days is quite good. On Monday and Tuesday mornings, the sea will be much more calm than it is [now]. Rio’s Organizing Committee is lucky because the marathon swims are scheduled to take place in between two big swells. But on Tuesday afternoon [the date of the men’s 10 km race], the sea starts getting rough again.
This will be a problem for Olympic triathlon that starts on Thursday morning.
By next Thursday, according to the forecast, a new swell 7 feet high will smash Copacabana Beach shore once again.”
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