Seine Water Pollution Leads to Cancellation of Open Water Swimming World Cup
“World Aquatics is disappointed that water quality in the Seine has resulted in the cancellation of the World Aquatics Open Water Swimming World Cup, but the health of our athletes must always be our top priority,” said World Aquatics President Husain Al-Musallam, as Swimming World reported.
Swimming events for the 2024 Olympic Games are scheduled to be held in the iconic river, but “extra work” will be needed to make sure alternative arrangements are established, according to the World Aquatics international swimming federation, reported Reuters.
“Disappointed is the right word,” said President of the French Swimming Federation Gilles Sezionale, as Reuters reported. “First and foremost disappointed for the athletes, who were dreaming of competing in one of the most beautiful locations in the world.”
For the past decade, the City of Light has been working to clean up the Seine in order to make it swimmable in time for the Olympics, as well as for the public.
According to the Olympics committee, there will be new infrastructure in place by summer 2024 to improve the river’s water quality, and construction on an $88 billion overflow basin should be finished before the Olympic Games.
“World Aquatics remains excited at the prospect of city-centre Olympic racing for the world’s best open-water swimmers next summer. However, this weekend has demonstrated it is absolutely imperative robust contingency plans are put in place,” al-Musallam said, as reported by The Guardian.
Athletes are still scheduled to compete in the Olympic and Paralympic triathlon test event for the 2024 Olympics in the Seine from August 17 to 20, according to World Triathlon, as Reuters reported.
“In the unlikely event that water quality does not meet the requirement of World Triathlon and public health authorities, a contingency plan is in place which would see the race(s) shifted to a duathlon format,” a statement from World Triathlon said, as reported by Inside the Games. “With a year to go before the Games, the efforts to make the Seine swimmable, led by the State and the City of Paris, continue to significantly improve the quality of the water in the Seine.”
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo recently announced that public bathing will be allowed in three places along the Seine beginning in 2025, as Time Out reported.
Hopefully the river will also be ready for next year’s Olympic swimming events.
“[I]n recent weeks, water quality in the Seine has regularly reached the levels required for competitions to be held on the dedicated site, demonstrating the significant progress made,” city authorities and Paris 2024 organizers said in a joint statement, reported The Guardian.
According to Paris 2024, water quality in the Seine will be “carefully” monitored leading up to the Olympics, CNN reported.
“One year before the Games, the sanitation dynamic continues with the completion of the most significant work to improve water quality in the coming months, in particular to deal with these exceptional weather events,” Paris 2024 said, as reported by CNN.