I decided to do a bit more follow-up in today’s blog because I found out more swimmers went to the emergency room. I also wanted to provide a few more links and make a request to researchers.
First, several people sent me the Washington Post link noting that Fran was not the only swimmer to suffer heat illness. Two other USA swimmers went to the emergency room. Who knows how many swimmers from other countries suffered heat illness? If anyone knows, please drop me a note.
I read a comment by a top-ranked swimmer commenting that she thought no swimming event should be canceled for conditions that are too hot. She said something like “…the New York marathon isn’t canceled because it’s too hot…”
Yes, it’s true that running events are not canceled due to heat; however, the consequences of heat-related illness during the event are not the same in swimming as in running. If a runner gets overheated and faints on the course, the runner hits the sidewalk or pavement. More than likely someone will see them and offer aid. If someone faints in hot water, unless each swimmer has a boat assigned to them, the risk of drowning is significant.
In short, I disagree with her.
A few people asked about the link to the ABC interview – it can be found here.
The Race Rules and Regulations document for 2010 to 2013 can be found here - note this is a different document than the “FINA website rules” link.
To the researchers out there ~ can someone do a study on the affects of water temperatures above 82 degrees Fahrenheit on swimmers traveling at various intensities? I could not find any research on “hot” water swimming.