SWC 2015, Singapore: FINA/airweave World Cup swimmers unfazed by haze in Singapore

Swimming World Cup

The haze situation has forced organisers of the FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup Singapore 2015 to cancel two events, but star swimmers like Missy Franklin and Cameron van der Burgh remained unfazed and said they are ready to compete in this weekend’s events at the OCBC Acquatic Centre.

Speaking at a press conference, FINA executive director Cornel Marculescu said the world governing body’s top priority at this weekend’s event is the health of the athletes, officials and spectators.

Thus, the two freestyle events – the men’s 1500m and women’s 800m, have been cancelled.  

If the air quality breaches the very unhealthy levels an hour before the heats, the day’s event will be delayed for an hour and if the Pollutants Standard Index (PSI) remains above 200, the session will be cancelled. This is in accordance with the National Environment Agency’s advisory which recommends that healthy persons avoid prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion if PSI levels exceeds 200.

Four-time Olympic gold medallist Missy Franklin, who will make her competitive debut in Singapore, said her preparations for this weekend have not been affected. “I completely trust the Government of Singapore and FINA to put the interest of their athletes first, and that's what exactly they've been doing. They've been doing a wonderful job and we’re going to do the best that we can to work around it,” she said.

©Singapore Swimming Federation

The 20-year-old American is excited about the tough competition she will face from Emily Seebohm and Katinka Hosszu. Franklin is also looking forward to the culture here and experiencing the city as a whole.

“This is actually the stop I have been looking forward to the most and honestly – I am just excited to race, to get to meet the people, experience the culture and take it all in,” she said.

Echoing the same sentiments about the haze was FINA/airweave World Cup points leader Cameron van der Burgh. “It hasn't affected the preparation at all,” the South African said. “We just came in straight last night from Beijing so there's nothing much you can change. Everyone’s in the same condition and facing the problem, we’re all in it together.

Alia Atkinson, who became the first colour woman to win a world swimming title, said swimmers have to remain focused on their events rather than worry about the conditions or the haze.

The 26-year-old Jamacian said: “It's another factor that's in the sport. You have many things that will happen – your suit might tear, your cap might tear. There's many different circumstances outside of your control that will happen in a race.”

©Singapore Swimming Federation