Like swimming in soup: Australia swimming coach complains of ‘cloudy’ water in Olympic Games training pool

Michael Bohl was unhappy with the conditions for the likes of Mitch Larkin, Emma McKeon and Grant Irvine at the indoor Aquatics Centre in Rio de Janeiro

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 August, 2016, 1:50pm
UPDATED : Friday, 05 August, 2016, 1:50pm

The water quality controversy surrounding the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro extended to the indoor Aquatics Centre when an Australia swimming coach refused to let his athletes practice in the main training pool due to fears of infection.

Michael Bohl, one of the leading coaches on the Australia team, became concerned when he saw the training pool in Barra da Tijuca become “cloudy” and “soupy” during the afternoon, less than two days before the start of the swimming programme.

Bohl’s group, which included backstroke world champion Mitch Larkin and butterflyers Emma McKeon and Grant Irvine, had booked a session in the training pool and would have had uninterrupted use of it. Instead, they switched to the far busier main competition pool before undertaking their laps.

“That pool looked really cloudy so rather than risk and eye or ear or nose infections we came in here (to the main pool),” Bohl said.

“People were swimming in it but I just thought for these guys – it started out nice in that pool, but all of a sudden as (time) wore on the water just got really soupy looking.”

Bohl contacted officials from world swimming governing body Fina, and claimed that he had been told the situation would be investigated.

Australian team officials will seek assurances from Olympic chiefs as to what measures will be taken to ensure there is no repeat of the saga.

Bohl said he had no issue with the “pristine” water quality of the main pool that will be use for the actual races.

However, the state of the training pool is also of importance ahead of the commencement of the meet, as it will be used by athletes to prepare for their races.

Previously, water quality issues at the Olympics had been restricted to pollution problems in the Guanabara Bay, where the rowing, sailing and open water swimming events will take place.