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Green water at diving 'will be blue from now on'

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 10/08/2016 by Martin Rogers, USA TODAY Sports

Green water at diving 'will be blue from now on' © Matt Dunham, AP Green water at diving 'will be blue from now on' RIO DE JANEIRO – Olympics officials promised on Wednesday to solve an embarrassing saga at the Games’ diving arena that turned the competition pool a deep shade of green and left competitors joking that they were leaping into “a swamp.”

While Rio’s organizing committee insisted the water posed no danger to athletes, the divers and independent water experts were not so easily convinced.

“It is very important to the Rio 2016 community to ensure a high quality of play,” organizers said in a statement. “Tests were conducted and the water was found to be safe. We are investigating what the cause was.”

Confusion reined as Rio spokesman Mario Andrada said he believed that a “proliferation of algae” had been to blame at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Center, while international diving chiefs claimed to be unaware what had created the problem. “It will be blue from now on,” Andrada said.

One spokesman for FINA, international swimming and diving’s governing body, initially suggested the water might have deliberately been turned green for colorful effect and to reduce glare, before that theory was quickly debunked.

“It is so green,” British diver Tonia Couch, who finished fifth with Lois Toulson in the women’s 10-meter platform, said. “As the sun went down it looked worse.” Couch did say that the water had one unexpected benefit — it made it easier for divers to isolate the surface as they spun through the air.

Water treatment experts insisted that there were many possible causes, including algae, a lack of disinfectant or the way in which the water interacted with copper in the heating system.

Canadian team leader Mitch Geller, who divers Roseline Filion and Meaghan Benfeito clinched bronze in the 10-meter, told reporters that his squad “hope it is not like a swamp tomorrow.” A Canada water expert was offering assistance to the Olympic crew, while athletes were still unsure on Wednesday morning how the quality of the pool would be later in the day.

“It is one thing that they are saying there is no threat to the divers, but what does that mean?” Ralph Riley, an expert from the London-based Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group, told USA TODAY Sports. “If it has gone green and that is because there is not enough disinfectant there would be some kind of implied risk. If not, then you would have to consider algae.”

Riley said his group strongly advised against swimming in green water.

Water experts continued to examine the water in the hours leading up to Wednesday’s men’s 3-meter synchronized springboard final and the water quality continued to be a hot topic of discussion between divers.

“We noticed it,” Mexico’s Paola Espinosa said. “But it didn’t smell and there was nothing left on our skin.”


Ning Ding (CHN) faces Xiaoxia Li (CHN) in the women's singles finals. Best images from Aug. 10 at the Rio Olympics

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