After a long week of supporting, training with and cheering on their pool swimming teammates, the open water swimmers from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, the United States, and Hong Kong were looking forward to culminating the 2014 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships.
It is always very tough for the open water swimmers to maintain their level of fitness and serve as great teammates of their pool brethren. As their pool teammates taper and the open water athletes go every day to cheer on their teammates at the pool, they have to continue swimming long distances and keep their emotions steady and focused on their long events.
But they always know to Expect The Unexpected.
All week, the pool swimmers had to endure horrendously wet and windy weather in the outdoor pool that was exposed to the elements. Cold and frustrated with the venue exposed to the elements, the open water athletes could easily sympathize with their pool teammates. “It’s crazy with the sideway rain and it’s a little chilly out there, but we’re all under the same conditions,” said superstar Michael Phelps. “I think we’ve done a pretty decent job just not worrying about this and just going out and swimming.”
Certainly the open water swimmers know all about wind, waves and rain.
But then the unexpected happened on the Gold Coast.
The 10 km races that promised to be close were cancelled due to the strong winds and heavy rain that led to water quality levels to plummet to unacceptable levels.
The organizers looked to move the 10 km races from Marine Stadium, Southport to Lake Hugh Muntz, but even the lake water was tested at borderline levels. Swimming Australia with the support of the United States, Japan and Canada erred on the side of safety and did not want to risk the health of the athletes.
The decision was made to postpone the events until August 31st and will be held in conjunction with the Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Maui, Hawaii. That is, most definitely, not a bad consolation, for the patience and understanding of the elite open water swimmers.
USA Swimming reported that Swimming Australia CEO Mark Anderson said it was a most unfortunate situation which unfolded over the past week, especially for the athletes, who had prepared for swimming the open water contest. “For the international teams, athletes and their families it’s a long way to come not to get a swim and we regret this situation occurring. “We are sincerely apologetic but we were unfortunately left with no alternative but to make the call to cancel.
The heavy, consistent rain fall that fell on the Gold Coast this week has caused increased pollution in the water ways and lakes. The wind and rain forced us to look for another venue when Marine Stadium became an issue and when the results came back from tests carried out at our contingency venue at Lake Hugh Muntz they were not consistent with the water quality levels required to stage a major international open water competition.”
Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association