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Flora Duffy may not need to swim to win 2024 Olympic triathlon

Flora Duffy may not have advantage of swim leg in Paris

If Bermuda’s Olympic champion Flora Duffy is to retain her triathlon title in Paris this summer, she might have to do it without getting wet.

Water quality in the Seine is causing Olympic officials serious concern after recent testing by charity Surfrider Foundation Europe revealed "alarming", external levels of E. coli in the river less than four months before the triathlon is scheduled to take place in the French capital.

In their report, Surfrider Foundation Europe revealed that 14 water samples taken from the starting point for the triathlon, marathon swimming and Para-triathlon events, all failed to meet safety standards and that prolonged rain in the days leading up to events could raise bacteria levels in the water.

As first reported in British newspaper The Guardian, Paris 2024 president Tony Estanguet revealed at Sport Accord in Birmingham that contingency plans are in place if the river is deemed unsafe for competition.

“We always knew it would be a big challenge,” Estanguet said.

“We can postpone for rainy conditions and because it's programmed at the beginning of the Games, we can wait for better conditions. So we are confident that it will be possible to use the Seine.

“And there is a final decision where we could not swim and that is part of the rules of the International Federation. It's what we want to avoid, of course.”

The Olympics are scheduled to start on July 26, with the men's and women's triathlon scheduled for July 30 and 31 respectively.

In August, the test events for the Games, the Open Water Swimming World Cup and the swimming leg of the World Triathlon Para Cup, were cancelled because of water quality issues.

More than $1 billion is being spent in Paris on a regeneration project to make the Seine safe to swim in, including a rainwater storage basin to try to reduce the risks of pollution. The water will be tested every day during the Olympics to ensure it is safe.

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Published April 10, 2024 at 9:27 am (Updated April 10, 2024 at 9:28 am)

Flora Duffy may not need to swim to win 2024 Olympic triathlon

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