Heavy Rains Delay Test of Paris Open Water Venue on River Seine
Heavy rains have delayed a planned test race at the open water venue for the Paris Olympics on the River Seine Saturday.
Races in the Seine, a 10-kilometer for women and for men as part of the World Aquatics Open Water Swimming World Cup 2023, were scheduled for this weekend. The women’s race on Saturday was postponed to Sunday after heavy rains and runoff meant the Seine failed minimum safety standards in a pre-race examination on Friday.
The women’s 10K will go off on Sunday at 7:30 a.m. local time. The men will start at 11:30. A final determination of water quality conditions will be made Sunday morning.
The competition was scheduled as part of a routine pre-Olympic test of venues at the Seine, which will host the Olympic 10K races as well as the swimming portion of the triathlon.
The Paris 2024 organizing committee has explained the recent rainfall as a periodic occurrence, with the greater Paris region inundated with its heaviest summer rainfalls in 20 years.
Swimming events in the River Seine are part of a larger investment in water quality and stormwater mitigation by the French government to clean up the city’s iconic waterway, and the organizing committee expects that infrastructure upgrades in the next year will lessen the chance of such adverse water quality events occurring during the Games.
“If it rains for a week continually before the races, we know the quality of water — even with all the work that has been done — probably won’t be excellent,” Pierre Rabadan, Paris’ deputy mayor in charge of Olympic preparations, told the New York Times in May.
The organizing committee seems to be positioning a cleanup of the Seine as one of the legacy projects to come out of the Games.
The open water events at the Paris Olympics are scheduled for Aug. 8 (men) and Aug. 9 (women). The river will also be used for individual triathlon on July 30 and 31, then the team mixed relay event on Aug. 5. The schedule for the Olympics includes flexibility if the open water events need to be moved due to water quality concerns. The Siene will also feature in the Opening Ceremony.