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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Guanabara Bay Is Not Copacabana Beach

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Stephen Wade of Associated Press wrote an article that was reported by ABC News...that continues to imply that the conditions in Rio de Janeiro for marathon swimmers and triathletes are dangerously dirty and unsafe for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Wade reports on the obviously polluted conditions of Guanabara Bay (Baía da Guanabara) and the broken promises of the organizing committee.

But Guanabara Bay is not Copacabana Beach where the Olympic 10K marathon swimmers and triathletes will compete.

We find it unfortunate that there are some people in the aquatics world who believe that media reports (e.g., see AP report here) imply or infer that the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim either will be cancelled or should be moved from Rio de Janeiro to other locations.

We have even read comments that the 2016 Rio Olympic Games 10 km marathon swim should or will be moved to London.

This information is based on inaccurate information.

The Olympic 10K Marathon Swim will be held in Copacabana Beach that sits on the east coast of Brazil on the Atlantic Ocean. Not only are there thousands of tourists and locals who frequent this beach daily, but it is also the location of numerous open water swimming, stand up paddling, and other marine sports competitions including the King and Queen of the Sea (Rei e Rainha do Mar) events and Travessia dos Fortes.

Fortunately for open water swimming athletes, their coaches, and fans, Copacabana Beach is not Guanabara Bay. The global media correctly reports that Guanabara Bay is heavily polluted. There are no open water swimming competitions held in this bay for good reasons. Frankly, it is unfortunate especially because the Organizing Committee of the 2007 Pan American Games had promised that Guanabara Bay would be clean by 2007. But little progress has been achieved even for the 2016 Olympic Games. It is true - and a problem - that the pollution is a major concern for the sailing and windsurf events at the 2016 Rio Olympics which will be held at Guanabara Bay.

Recently, some sailors from Austria and Germany have been there and reportedly said that they were hesitant to put their feet in the waters. Looking at Guanabara Bay, this is a reasonable concern.

But the Olympic 10 km marathon swim will not be held in Guanabara Bay. As can be expected in a beach bordering a major metropolitan area, Copacabana Beach is not pristine and there is plenty of urban runoff in the water, especially after a rain. But it still remains one of the world’s most iconic beaches and presents one of the world’s greatest natural amphitheaters for open water swimming competitions. With a twice daily inflow and outflow of water from the Atlantic Ocean, major events like the Rei e Rainha do Mar and Travessia dos Fortes are hugely successful.

So we agree partly with the global media and IOC reports about the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. There is much to worry about the sailing and windsurfing events in Guanabara Bay, but at the same time, we believe the the Olympic 10k Marathon Swim in Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro can become one of the greatest open water swimming competitions in history.

The INEA (Instituto estadual do ambiente) is the environmental institute of Rio de Janeiro. The INEA is responsible for monitoring the quality and cleanliness of the beaches in Rio de Janeiro where its report is on the beach conditions are publicly released (see here). Beaches tagged in green are the clean; beaches tagged in red are the dirty and it is not recomended that one enters in those waters. Copacabana Beach is green and ready to go. Conversely, Botafogo and Flamengo are dirty. Botafogo and Flamengo beaches are directly linked with Guanabara Bay.

Outside Magazine similarly published an article called Rio Olympics Probably Doomed.

The article by K. Annabelle Smith states, "John Coates, vice president of the International Olympic Committee, called Rio's preparations for the 2016 games "the worst" he's seen yet...At an Olympics forum in Sydney, Australia, Coates said construction hadn't begun in some venues in Rio de Janeiro and that infrastructure and water quality are behind schedule."

But what we have seen several times first-hand of the Olympic 10 km marathon swimming venue and organization on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, the open water swimming event at the 2016 Rio Olympics will be an overwhelmingly outstanding event despite the unknown dynamics of the Atlantic Ocean and the swirling waters of Copacabana Beach which can range from flat and tranquil to rough and wavy.

The organization of the open water swimming events and its local officials have been excellent in all kinds of conditions, from a humid rainy day to a stifling heat. The athletes are treated exceedingly well, the venue is open for hundreds of thousands to witness from the wide sands on Copacabana, and construction issues that may be problematic with other sports are definitely not an issue for the open water event.

Olympic hopefuls like Yasunari Hirai of Japan (left), Xavier Desharnais of Canada (middle) and Samuel de Bona of Brazil (right) have swum in Copacabana Beach and are looking forward to represent their countries at the 2016 Rio Olympics marathon swim.

As the excitement builds, fans are estimating that the number of spectators on Copacabana Beach may be north of 300,000 people and possibly as high as 500,000 cheering the Olympians.

Beside being a rough water ocean course, Copacabana Beach will certainly be dramatically different in many ways from the 2008 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim in China (Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park), the 2012 venue in London (Serpentine), and the 2020 venue in Tokyo (Odaiba Marine Park).

Judging from the excitement seen on Copacabana Beach during the Olympic announcement, there may be a whole lotta smiling, dancing, cheering and laughing involved…especially if Brazilian swimmers stand on top of the podium.



For information on the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim, visit here.

Upper photo by Getty Images shows Copacabana Beach where the 10 km marathon swim course will be held between the sandy shores and Forte de Copacabana.

For background information on the Olympic 10 km marathon swim, visit here.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

1 comment:

  1. 60% of Rio's sewage gets no treatment whatsoever. Although the Brazilian map shows Copacabana in green, that is by incredibly lax standards. The waters off Copacabana are by no means clean.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you very much for your interest in the world of open water swimming.

The Staff of the World Open Water Swimming Association

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference

Learn more...
Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE

The Global Open Water Swimming Conference is a conference on the sport of open water swimming, marathon swimming and swimming during triathlons and multi-sport endurance events.

The conference which has been attended by enthusiasts and luminaries from 6 continents, is devoted to providing information about the latest trends, race tactics, training techniques, equipment, psychological preparation, race organization and safety practices used in the sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons.

The conference's mission is to provide opportunities to listen and meet many of the world's most foremost experts in open water swimming, and to meet and discuss the sport among swimmers, coaches, administrators, event organizers, sponsors, vendors, officials, escort pilots, and volunteers from kayakers to safety personnel.

Dozens of presentations at the 2014 Conference at the Mount Stuart House cover numerous aspects of the vast and growing world of open water swimming where attendees can learn and share the latest trends, race tactics, training modalities, swimming techniques, equipment, race organization, logistics, operations, and safety practices for open water swimming as a solo swimmer, competitive athlete, fitness swimmer, masters swimmer, triathlete, multi-sport athlete, administrator, race promoter, sponsor or referee.

The conference was first held in Long Beach, California as part of the 2010 USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Championships. It has since been held on the Queen Mary in California, at Columbia University and the United Nations in New York City, and in Cork, Ireland. This year in September, it comes to another iconic location, the Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute in Scotland.

"The Global Open Water Swimming Conference was started due to the desire and need for athletes, coaches, referees, administrators, race directors, promoters and sponsors from around the world to share, collect and learn information about the growing sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons," said founder Steven Munatones. "Other swimming conferences usually offering nothing on open water swimming or perhaps a speech or two, but we thought open water swimming deserves its own global conference. It is great that the community shares its information via the online social network, but there is nothing like meeting other open water swimming enthusiasts face-to-face and talking about the sport from morning to night."

Speakers at the conference include English Channel swimmers, ice swimmers, record holders, renowned coaches, world champions, professional marathon swimmers, renowned race directors, officials and administrators from the Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

"Because the audience is passionate and educated about the sport and its finest practitioners, the Global Open Water Swimming Conference is also the location of the induction ceremonies for the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and the annual WOWSA Awards that recognize the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year, and the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year. Special Lifetime Achievement Awards are also occasionally presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the sport over their career."

The 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference Programme

Wednesday, September 17th
Leave Glasgow to commence 2-day tour of Scotland [closest international airport is Glasgow]

Thursday, September 18th
Stay Mainland, North of Scotland

Friday, September 19th
14:00 - Swim Loch Lomond
17:00 - Head to Isle of Bute
19:30 - Scottish Banquet
21:30 - Dinner Dance

Saturday, September 20th
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
12:20 - Lunch and WOWSA Awards
13:40 – Speeches
15:40 - Round Table
19:00 - International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony

Sunday, September 21st
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
14:30 - Swim in St Ninian's Bay on the Isle of Bute

The luminaries of the open water swimming world who will be honored in Scotland will include:

* Sandra Bucha (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Jon Erikson (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Claudio Plit (Argentina), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Judith van Berkel-de Njis (Netherlands), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* David Yudovin (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Mercedes Gleitze (Great Britain), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* George Young (Canada), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Dale Petranech (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Contributor
* Melissa Cunningham (Australia), 2013 Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award winner
* Vojislav Mijić (Serbia), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* James Anderson (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Dr. Jane Katz (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Indonesian Swimming Federation, , International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Organisation
* Elizabeth Fry (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Pádraig Mallon (Ireland), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year
* Olga Kozydub (Russia), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year
* Bering Strait Swim (international team), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year
* International Ice Swimming Association (Ram Barkai, founder, South Africa), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year

For additional articles on the 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference, visit:

* Olga Kozydub To Be Honored In Scotland
* Pádraig Mallon To Be Honored In Mount Stuart Castle
* Mount Stuart House, Splendid Setting For Swimming
* Colleen Blair To Kick-off Global Open Water Swimming Conference
* The Man Who Swims Better Than He Walks
* Joining In The Sea Goddess At The Hall Of Fame
* Mercedes Gleitze To Be Honored In Scotland
* The Incredible Career Of Merceded Gleitze
* Jon Erikson To Be Honoured In Florida
* The Incredible Career Of Mercedes Gleitze
* St Ninian's Bay To Host International Swim Conference

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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Open Water Swimming Magazine

The Open Water Swimming Magazine is the monthly magazine entirely focused on open water swimming heroes and heroines of every age, ability, and background. Published by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a free benefit to WOWSA members.

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2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac



An Almanac for Open Water Swimming

An almanac is essentially a body of knowledge which is so complete that it enables people in different fields to make predictions about the future of their respective industries.

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