Diving pool closed - WSMV News 4

Diving training canceled as Rio officials close green pool for treatment

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UPDATE (12:15pm ET on Friday) -- The pool was reopened for practice at 12pm ET. Divers returned (though the blue color had not) to train before the women's 3m springboard preliminary event, which is expected to take place at 2:30pm ET, as scheduled.


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UPDATE (11:30am ET on Friday) -- The Maria Lenk Aquatics Center is scheduled to reopen for divers to train at 12pm ET, officials confirmed to NBCOlympics.com. The women's individual 3m springboard preliminary is expected to take place at 2:30pm ET, as scheduled.


Athletes are performing dry training at the facility while the pool is closed.


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The Maria Lenk Aquatics Center diving well is currently closed as Rio officials attempt to restore its blue color after the pool turned green on Tuesday.



The purpose of the closure, according to the Rio Organizing Committee, is to allow the water to remain still while the treatments take effect. It also forced divers to miss their Friday morning practice.


FINA, the International Swimming Federation, supports the decision to close the pool.


Mario Andrada, chief spokesman for the Rio 2016 organizing committee, stressed that the pool was safe for competition, clearing the way for the afternoon competition. He conceded that some athletes were bothered by the water, but said that was a result of efforts to get the water clean.


"We reiterate what we have been saying all along — the water does not offer any threat to the health of the athletes," he said. "In the first day of this water situation, one or two athletes complained about their eyes being itchy. This was a result that the first reaction when we saw the water turning green was to use one of the chemicals — chlorine — that is very common in swimming pools. We reduced immediately the quantity. We retested the water and it was totally within the parameters."


Andrada said officials were caught off guard by the pool's deteriorating condition.


"Chemistry is not an exact science," he said. "Some things, as you can see, went longer than expected."


Rain the past couple of days made it even tougher to clean the pool.


"The rain doesn't help," Andrada said. He added that athletes had access to dry-land training in the morning, but conceded that "was not ideal."


He explained that the changing color of the pool was the result of increased alkaline levels, much like an aquarium can turn green when not monitored properly.


"When we went to fix the green, there was a discussion about the best chemicals. We can't use too much chemicals in the water because athletes are training in it," Andrada said. "We certainly could have done better in the beginning to prevent the water from turning green. Once it turned green, we again made another bit of a mistake."


The situation is beginning to take its toll on a number of athletes.


"Show up for my warmup and without prior notice they say the pool is closed this morning," tweeted Abby Johnston, who is competing in the women's 3m springboard, scheduled for 2:30pm ET. "#FixTheSwamp should start trending."



"Diving pool is closed this morning," Great Britain's Tom Daley tweeted. "Hopefully that means we haven't been diving in anything too bad the last couple of days!"



German diver Patrick Hausding also took to Twitter after the news, saying: "Good morning from the green lake! The pool is CLOSED! #goodmorning #olympics #green"



A number of American divers have actually indicated that the green water is helpful from a diving perspective, providing clearer visual cues when tumbling through the air.



There has been plenty of concern regarding the safety of the athletes, but officials maintain that the water is not putting the competitors at risk.


It's unclear, at this point, if the closure will affect the Olympic diving schedule. The women's individual 3m springboard preliminary is scheduled to start at 2:30pm ET.




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