Even pool temperatures are not safe at that temp especially for elite swimmers who generate higher core temps then normal.
FINA & USA Swimming have proven conclusively that swimmers come last. In fact, so much so that all the promises about rules, safety and follow through post the Fran Crippen death in Dubai was nothing more than a "dog & pony show."
From Swimming World:
This all takes place against the backdrop of the death of Fran Crippen at the UAE stop of the FINA Open Water 10K World Cup less than a year ago in October 2010. Calls for rules to enhance athlete safety were met with a slew of recommendations from two separate commissions (FINA, USA Swimming), which included a recommended maximum temperature of 31 degrees Celsius. Again, these recommendations have yet to be codified into the rule books.
So Swimming World is as outraged as they should be. Even Associated Press was astonished:
From Associated Press:
Where were the USA Swimming coaches during this fiasco? Where were all the world's coaches? Hello? Anybody home? to wit: When has a national governing body been a bastion of trust and honesty? The coaches should have unionized right there on the spot.
"... Italy's Edoardo Stochino was pulled from the water 4 hours, 50 minutes into the race and taken away on a stretcher as officials poured cold water over his chest. Thomas Lurz of Germany withdrew and defending champion Valerio Cleri of Italy withdrew after four hours, saying it was "too hot and too dangerous" to continue. ..."
The American team here is wearing "FC" on their warmup suits in memory of Crippen.
I heard that even Steve Munatones, former FINA open water official who was "canned" after complaining that FINA really has some work to do regarding open water safety, was asked to be an ad hoc lifeguard because the situation escalated that quickly.
Six swimmers, including Germany's Thomas Lurz, who won the 5-km race and took silver in the Olympic-qualifying 10-km race, did not even start the men's race, while nine withdrew during it. A total of 35 had entered the race.
"... A Reuters witness said the German team had tested the water temperature at the dock, and said it had reached 32 degrees.
They said the maximum temperature allowed to compete is 31 degrees and there were complaints from other teams that officials should have stopped the race. ..."
If I was a swimmer in that race and I ended up on the business end of an "IV needle" so as to hydrate my body, and next to me in that emergency room were other swimmers who were sick, overheated and in mortal danger I would effect change!
Obviously the death of Fran Crippen was absolutely no inspiration at all for something to be done at the governing body level so as to improve safety in an open water race. Hence, the only way to get national and the international governing bodies to pay attention is most likely the courts, both civil and legal.
If I was a sickened swimmer after attempting that race I would sue in civil court for bodily and emotional injury. If I had a family member die in that race I would call for a criminal investigation to punish those that allowed that unintentional homicide.
What is amazingly frustrating about governing bodies, they want as few rules as possible when it comes to health and welfare of the participants. We are seeing that with USA Swimming's child protection policies; (i.e. No one-on-one coach/swimmer contact which they won't implement), and we are seeing it with open water policies as well.
No safety rules means no rules they can inadvertently or intentionally violate and that means no lawsuits or criminal investigations like I am suggesting.
It is time for athletes to loudly call for change in a venue these people can definitely understand - the only place they can understand: The courtroom.
Fran Crippen? who was Fran Crippen?