Paris 2024 Marathon Swimming May Move if Seine Water Quality Fails

Written by Kathrine Frich

Jul.05 - 2024 11:22 AM CET

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock
The Paris 2024 marathon swimming event might be relocated outside of the French capital

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The Paris 2024 marathon swimming event might be relocated outside of the French capital if the Seine River is not safe for swimming, organizers announced on Friday.

According to L'independant a spokesperson for Paris 2024 said:

"The International Triathlon Federation’s regulations allow for switching to a duathlon as a last resort. Conversely, to ensure the marathon swimming events can take place, we have identified Vaires-sur-Marne as a backup location."

This site, already slated for rowing and canoeing events, meets all necessary requirements for the marathon swimming competition if needed.

Water Quality Improvements and Concerns

Recent data suggests improvements in the Seine’s water quality, a positive development just weeks before the Olympic Games.

Reports from the city and the Île-de-France region show that levels of enterococci and E. coli bacteria were below legal thresholds on six out of nine days between June 24 and July 2.

Water quality is influenced by rainfall and water temperature, and with favorable weather in Paris this week, conditions are expected to remain good.

Efforts are ongoing to clean the Seine so the public can swim in it again, a feat last achieved during the Paris 1900 Olympics.

Last summer, a sewage problem forced the cancellation of a test swimming event, raising concerns about the river’s suitability for Olympic events.

Optimism and Contingency Plans

Olympic swimming events, including the triathlon and marathon swimming, are scheduled to take place in the Seine from July 26 to August 11.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo recently postponed a planned swim in the river, citing the need to wait until after the legislative elections and the Bastille Day celebrations.

Despite previous setbacks, the Paris 2024 spokesperson expressed confidence in ongoing efforts to make the Seine swimmable, ensuring the events can proceed as planned.

"We have full confidence in the work undertaken by the state, the City of Paris, and all stakeholders to make the Seine safe for swimming, allowing the events to be held as scheduled," the spokesperson added.