Sunday, January 20, 2008

Where are the Olympic Open Water Swimmers Going to Race?

The Olympic 10km Marathon Swim will be held at the Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park which is located a distance away from the main Olympic stadium and village.

The course will be a typical set-up for a FINA-hosted 10K race in a rowing basin. That is, the swimmers will swim "down" the outside of line 1 (approximately 1K), across the width of the rowing basin around a set of turn buoys, and "up" the outside of lane 8 (approximately 1K) for a total of 2.5K for each loop. The pace for the men will probably vary between slow over the first 2 loops (1:10 per 100 meters without turns) to amazingly fast (under 1:05 per 100 meters without turns) over the last loop.

The water in the basin is continuously circulated and is clean, both in terms of clarity and World Health Organization drinking water standards. This has been confirmed by doctors dispatched by the US Olympic Committee.

Because the athletes will be swimming in a large pack in very clean and clear water, they will be easily able to see each other throughout the race. Due to very congested conditions around the turn buoys, in and out of the feeding pontoons and coming into towards the finish, the races should be extremely exciting for spectators and television viewers alike.

The freshwater venue is expected to be a very warm (about 85 degree F) under humid conditions. The combination of the warm water and humid air will present major factors that the athletes must consider as they pace and hydrate themselves during the 1 hour 50 minute to 2-hour race.

And, quite exciting for the athletes, will be the cheering thousands of fans who will enjoy one of the more reasonably priced events on the Olympic menu.

Copyright © 2008 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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