Swimming New Zealand homepage

The start of something extraordinary

Swimming concerns at mooted times for Rio Olympics

Swimming New Zealand is concerned at suggestions that swimming finals at the 2016 Rio Olympics may be moved to late evening to fit in with American television.

While the schedule for the Rio Olympics has not been finalised, it has been mooted that the evening sessions for swimming will start at 10pm, a suggestion that has been criticised by the Australian Olympic Committee and leading swimmers.

Swimming New Zealand has joined the Australian criticism suggesting the idea, whether real or considered, would not be in the best interests of swimmers and would place an unreasonable demand on them.

The late evening finals plan was aired on the noted website Swim Vortex, whose editor Craig Lord recently resigned from FINA's Press Committee, after FINA bestowed its highest award on Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

"While we appreciate the importance of commercial considerations in the successful staging of an Olympics that should not impinge on the welfare of the athletes which must remain paramount," said Christian Renford, CEO of Swimming New Zealand.

"If the report is factual, a 10pm start time would mean some swimmers may not get back to the village until 1am or 2am which is completely unreasonable.

"We will certainly make our feelings known to FINA and hope good sense would prevail if this report is to be believed."

The Australian Olympic Committee has voiced its concerns and is taking the matter up with FINA and the International Olympic Committee.