With the water a cool 13°C (55°F), the Sydney 2009 World Masters Games 3K race was cancelled to the dismay and disappointment of many hardy masters open water swimmers.
British swimmer Rob Steel told Australia's AAP news agency, "Everybody was numbered up, capped up, told to warm up and then next thing they said it was cancelled. I have swum in much colder temperatures than this back in England. It's a bit of health and safety gone mad."
"The water temperature did not meet the minimum requirement of an average of 18°C (64°F), and combined with the weather conditions (wind chill), it was not possible to safely run an open water swim," was the official statement in defense of the decision.
While safety is always the foremost on the minds of race directors, some swimmers expressed a strong difference of opinion: "It's crazy, people should be able to make their own decision. We are all bloody adults. We should have been given the choice to swim."
Photo of Gerry Rodrigues, a former masters world champion and founder of Tower 26.