Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Something Very Special In Rome

Shelley Taylor-Smith, the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee Honorary Secretary provided this on-site report of the World Swimming Championships open water venue.

"The World Championships in are going to be very special," was Shelley's succinct assessment of the venue, operations and organization. The details include:

Women's 5K Start at 8:30 am on July 19th
Men's 5K Start at 11:00 am on July 19th
Women's 10K Start at 10:00 am on July 21st
Men's 10K Start at 10:00 am on July 22nd
Women's 25K Start at 8:30 am on July 24th
Men's 25K Start at 8:30 am on July 25th

All races will consist of a 2.5K loop in the counter-clockwise direction with four mandatory turn buoys with corner "sausage" arced buoys (as used in the Beijing Olympic Games and the 2007 Melbourne World Swimming Championships (see photo on left). Yellow buoys will be placed every 200 meters, but they are only directional and swimmers may swim around them on either side.

The start for all the open water races will be from a deep water start (i.e., the dive start rule will not be in effect due to the open sea venue this year).

There will be two feeding stations for 10K and 25K. Accredited Access bracelets will be provided to coaches so they can gain access to the feeding pontoons. There will not be any escort boats for 25K races.

Pontoon #1 will be located at the start and finish area where the coaches can directly access off the beach. Pontoon #2 will be positioned at turn #3. Coaches will be taken by boat to Pontoon #2. The pontoon is a barge which is 24 meters in length and 7 meters wide with toilets and a kitchen.

For the athletes, there will be two 50-meter outdoor pools and one 25-meter pool in addition to the sea competition venue for all pre- and post-race training in Ostia.

Transport shuttle buses will be operating between the hotels and the training pools and competition venue. Accreditation for the national federations including coaches, athletes and team managers will be set up in Ostia.

In a first for FINA competitions, there will be a second call room in order to facilitate the checking of technical swimsuits in accordance with FINA rules between 30-45 minutess before the start of each race.

As we previously reported, Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI), the biggest television broadcaster in Italy, will have 5 cameras on land and 2 cameras in the water, providing live coverage throughout Europe, to a large screen on the beach and at the Open Water Swimming Village on the beach at Ostia. A Team Leaders Guide Handbook will be made available on the FINA website.

Photo shows (from left) Andre Saugy of Omega Swiss Timing Ltd., Gianni Minervina, Organzing Committee Rome 09 Associate Director (an Olympic breaststroker from 1984, 1988 and 1992), Sid Cassidy, Chairman of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee and Shelley Taylor-Smith.

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