Divers damn Rio’s murky ‘unsanitary swamp’ pool

Officials blamed hydrogen peroxide, added to the pool by a contractor, as the cause of the pool turning green.

By: AFP | Rio De Janeiro | Published:August 15, 2016 5:24 pm
FILE - In this Aug. 10, 2016 file photo, the water of the diving pool at right appears a murky green as the water polo pool at left appears a greener color than the previous day during a preliminary round match between United States and France in the Maria Lenk Aquatic Center at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Halfway through the Olympics, Rio de Janeiro is still struggling with a litany of problems that have underlined the challenges of taking the games away from their traditional territories, and made clear the games may not go to untested regions again in the near future.  (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File) Organisers said the “radical” step to drain the larger 50m pool is because it is necessary for the synchronised swimming competition for judges to see the athletes perform under water. (Source: Reuters)

Olympic divers slammed Rio organisers on Sunday for not replacing the murky green water in their pool that has proved a smelly eye-sore.

Unlike the adjacent pool at the Maria Lenk Aquatic Centre which was drained and 3.73 million litres of fresh water pumped in for the synchronised swimming, divers have had to grin and bear the grim conditions.

“Considering our competitions are going through until the end I wish they had changed the diving pool,” said Australia’s Maddison Keeney, who finished fifth in the women’s 3m springboard final.

“I don’t think I can blame the pool for my bad diving. It’s more of a mental thing really, it’s just unpleasant.

“I’m glad to be out now. Don’t want to go diving in the swamp again.”

Officials blamed hydrogen peroxide, added to the pool by a contractor, as the cause of the pool turning green.

Organisers said the “radical” step to drain the larger 50m pool is because it is necessary for the synchronised swimming competition for judges to see the athletes perform under water.

Divers are not happy. “The whole venue smells like somebody has fart,” Germany’s Stephan Feck wrote on his Facebook page.

American Abigail Johnston, who finished a disappointing last in Sunday’s final also labelled the pool “swamp.”

Meanwhile, water polo players complained of stinging eyes from the extra chlorine pumped into the pool to fix the problem.

Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrada has repeatedly insisted the water causes no risk to the athletes.

However, Italy’s Tania Cagnotto admitted she was concerned oover the health risks after landing her second medal of the week with bronze in the 3m springboard final.

“I was worried about some sanitary conditions,” said the 31-year-old. “I hope we will be all ok and I hope they can fix it soon.”

Some, though, were happy to take the unique experience in their stride.

“I still have two arms, two legs and I’m leaving Rio with a smile, so the green water doesn’t matter,” Canadian Jennifer Abel said after narrowly missing out on the podium.

“We’ve got to be ready for everything,” added Britain’s Grace Reid, who finished eighth in her first Olympic final.

“Open air and green water it goes with the territory.

“It’s actually just as well they didn’t change it as I was just getting used to it.”

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