Reporting from Rome:
1. The technical open water swimming for the 5K race will be held today and will give the swimmers an indication of what to expect on race day as the turn buoys have not yet been anchored on the course.
2. Construction continues frantically at all the World Championship facilities, but FINA and the local organizing committee expect everything to be set by opening ceremonies. Exhibitor booths are being set up, carpet is being laid, signage is being posted and paint is being laid down by hundreds of small crews.
3. Swimsuit manufacturers are nearly as frantic as FINA has mandated that their products are provided for free to all the athletes. Booths are set up to provide access to the athletes. "We will have 11 manufacturers providing swimsuits free of charge," said Cornel Marculescu, FINA's Executive Director. "It's up to the swimmers to choose which suit they want. The important thing is that there is equal conditions and availability. All of the swimsuits will have a FINA label attached to them to show they are approved."
4. Like the Olympics, athletes are coming from all over the world. "It's going to be a fantastic championships. We have the highest participation ever, with 2,600 athletes from 184 countries - plus 2,000 coaches, officials and delegates," said Cornel.
5. The open water events are held along the only public stretch of beach in Ostia, sandwiched between dozens of private beaches along the Tyrrhenian Sea where 12 euros (at a minimum) will get you an umbrella and a spot on the black sand.
6. 30 minutes to the east by train, swimming and diving will be held in permanent pools that were also used for the 1960 Olympics and 1994 World Championships (see photo on left). Two temporary pools will be used for water polo and synchronized swimming.
7. Fran Crippen, the lone veteran of the USA Swimming national open water team (see photo above), will swim the 5K and 10K with newcomers Emily Brunemann (5K and 10K), Eva Fabian (10K and 25K), Emily Hanson (5K and 25K), Andrew Gemmell (5K and 10K), Sean Ryan (25K) and Alex Meyer (25) similarly confident about their prospects at the World Championships. Their first pool workout was held in a 51.5-meter pool (due to a missing bulkhead).
8. Fans, teammates and family can follow the 5K and 10K events in real-time via Twitter - check out http://twitter.com/swimopenwater.
Copyright © 2009 by World Open Water Swimming Association