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Treebox
October 23rd, 2007, 02:55 PM
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/olympics/2007-10-17-openwater-olympics_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip

I caught a glimpse of this article about Chloe Sutton and open water swimming. I was shocked to hear that the Open Water events at the Beijing Olympics will be held at the same venue as the rowing events. That is a pretty benign environment to hold an open water race.

Half the challenge of open water swimming is the environment and the elements. They might as well swim a 5K/10K/25K in the pool.

What does everyone think?
Tree

Rob Copeland
October 23rd, 2007, 03:32 PM
3 thoughts
1 Availability
2 Course simplicity
3 TV

Availability the ocean is about 100 miles from Beijing, which is a tad bit far from the main competition venues. And assuming the organizers ruled out the commute, you are limited to lakes and rivers. River swims are problematic, especially for measured distance swims, so that leaves lakes. And while each lake has its on characteristics, when you get down to it one is as good as the next.

Course simplicity I have run swims on rowing courses and swum in them as well. Running them makes organization simple, you have a pre-measured and pre-marked course, and you have a timing tower. And in the case of the Olympics you have spectator seating.

TV the networks have a large say in Olympic planning (just look at swimming morning finals). Logistically one crew can cover both rowing and open water swimming. And open ocean swimming can be real tough to film, especially in rough conditions.

Arguably, a well marked calm course takes some of the challenge out of the swim, but with no walls and a bit of bumping, who needs 6 foot swells and a 20 MPH head wind?