DNOWS Header

Image Map

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Lynne Cox Says Copacabana Beach Is Potentially Deadly

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

We do not believe Lynne Cox.

That statement in itself is sacrilegious.

Statements by one of the greatest swimmers - and certainly the most eloquent aquatic adventurers - of this generation and arguably of any generation - are taken at face value.

That is, what she says and writes is 100% true and inspirational. Cox has so much to teach the world about the open water. She has rightly earned the trust and respect of everyone in the open water swimming world - as well as the media and general public.

But the media - and Cox - continue to confuse the waters of Guanabara Bay and Copacabana Beach. And their assumptions and statements fly in the face of reality.

The Olympic 10K Marathon Swim will be held in Copacabana Beach - not the far-away Guanabara Bay that is a polluted cesspool. It is clear that the geography and coastline of Rio de Janeiro are not well-known by those who have never visited there.

ESPN's Bonnie Ford is a reporter who has opined and written for several years about athlete's safety. Ford took the time to go down to Rio de Janeiro and closely examine and report on the actual situation in Copacabana Beach [read here]. She interviewed swimmers who have swum there including several Olympic 10K Marathon Swim finalists. She witnessed thousands of swimmers - both local and foreign - swimming enjoyably in the ocean water of Copacabana Beach.

During her time in Rio de Janeiro, Ford did see or meet with any swimmer - including visiting foreign elite swimmers - complain about the water quality, illnesses or infections.

The illnesses, infections, and death that scientists, the New York Times, and Cox talk about and predicted simply do not exist.

Cox writes, "Marathon swimmers and triathletes will ingest this water — and the consequences could be deadly."

Cox based her conclusions [read here] on studies and conclusions of virologists who:

(1) identified virus levels 1.7 million times what would be considered hazardous at a California beach
(2) stated that it is very likely that a person swimming in these waters will get infected
(3) predicted that athletes who ingest just three teaspoons of water from the bay have a 99% chance of infection

But these statements and conclusions fly in the face of reality. Not only have many open water swimmers competed in races in Copacabana Beach, but we have also personally swum in the waters of Copacabana Beach several times over the past six years.

Despite virus levels 1.7 million times as high as California beaches (where we swim) and a 99% chance of infection, we have never once gotten sick or even had any kind of minor skin irritation. If these virologists and Cox are correct in their assumptions and assertions, then the Olympians, thousands of (foreign) visitors to Copacabana Beach, and myself should have gotten sick or at least had some minor reaction.

So something is wrong or at least the data is inconsistent with reality.

Cox writes that the pre-race Olympic gold medal favorite Jordan Wilimovsky told her "that he trusted that USA Swimming won’t put us in a situation where swimming could cause us to get sick.”

But if as Cox writes, swimming in Copacabana Beach can be deadly, then has USA Swimming and the U.S. Olympic Committee sent its representatives to swim in and study the waters of Copacabana Beach? If not, why not? If so, what have they found? If they found the water of Copacabana Beach potentially deadly or at the very best highly infectious, why are they bringing this to the attention of the IOC and coaches?

We know that if our own children were asked to swim in waters that could kill them or at the very least have a 99% of infection, then we would not only visit that location, but we would also want to learn how best to alleviate the situation whether it is through a series of pre-race inoculations or legal medicinals to ingest before and after the race.

But if swimmers do not get sick 364 days of the year in Copacabana Beach, why would they get infected on the day of the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim?

Photo above shows professional marathon swimmer Xavier Desharnais from Canada, FINA World Championship medalist Ashley Twichell of the USA, multiple Olympic champion Aaron Peirsol of the USA, and Olympic marathon swimmer Zsofia Balazs of Canada after the King and Queen of the Sea event on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, smiling and infection-free.

For another article on this topic, read Won't 30,000 Times As Bad Kill You?.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

A Thank You Gift from WOWSA

WOWSA is celebrating the
1-Year Anniversary of the monthly Open Water Swimming Magazine
by giving you a free copy of the anniversary issue.

Open Water Swimming Magazine Anniversary Issue
File Size: 13MB


Download the file to your computer, and then right-click to extract the magazine which is inside the zip folder. The magazine is in PDF format.

CLICK HERE to download your free copy now.

Open Water Swimming Magazine

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.

WOWSA Member Benefits include 12 issues of the Open Water Swimming Magazine, the annual 276-page Open Water Swimming Almanac, a free listing in Sponsor My Swim, outstanding product discounts from FINIS, an entry in Openwaterpedia and more...

The Other Shore

The Other Shore follows world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad as she comes out of a thirty-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. Her past and present collide in her obsession with a feat that nobody has ever accomplished. At the edge of The Devil’s Triangle, tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities. Timothy Wheeler’s documentary brings Diana Nyad’s extraordinary adventure to life as Diana sets out to prove that will and determination are all you need to make the unimaginable possible.

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.

This, for example, was the purpose of the traditional farmers almanacs. It enabled farmers to determine as accurately as possible which crops to plant for the greatest harvests in a given year.

But the farmers almanac was just one example among many.
There are, of course, many different kinds of almanacs.

In fact, there is even one for open water swimming...

Preview the Open Water Swimming Almanac:

The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.


Open Water Swimming Event Sanctioning

World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation

Open Water Race Calendar

Coaches Education Program