Saturday, March 24. 2007
Date: Saturday evening, March 24, 2007
Location: St. Kilda Beach, Melbourne
Theme: Women’s 25K Race Day: to be continued
Written by Steve Munatones
The following press release was issued by FINA regarding the suspended women’s 25K race this morning and slipped under the door of Kalyn Keller where she found it after returning from dinner:
Following the stoppage of the women’s 25km open water swimming race of the 12th FINA World Championships due to extreme weather conditions on March 24, 2007, the FINA Bureau decided to re-schedule the race from the stage it was interrupted, after the 5 laps-mark (12.5 km). The swimmers will commence in a staggered start for the remaining 12.5 km in accordance with the times they had after the initial 5 laps. The competition will take place on Sunday, March 25, 2007 at 10h05, after the departure of the men’s race at 10h00 in St-Kilda Beach. According to the latest weather forecast, the conditions for Sunday March 25, 2007 are expected to be fine (sunny), with the wind’s intensity and speed decreasing over the day.
Winds are expected to be 20 knots. According to information on Saturday evening, Germany’s German Britta Kamrau-Corestein will lead off with a 2-minute start, followed by Russia’s Natalya Pankina and Germany’s Angela Maurer and Russia’s Ksenia Popova. Kalyn is scheduled to start 10 seconds after the second group. This decision followed a lengthy discussion between FINA officials. Traditionally, in other open water swims, both of the pro marathon swimming circuit and other FINA races, if the first-place swimmer has finished at least half of the race and the event is called off for safety reasons, then the final results reflect the positions of the swimmers at the point when the race is called.
In a particularly unusual situation, Britta had to chase down a turn buoy that was being moved by the winds and waves. Towards the end before the race was called, swimmers were told to skip going around the turn buoys that had moved too close to a rock jetty.
After the race was called, the coaches on the far feeding station had to be returned to the beach, which was far easier said than done. Paul Asmuth and his coaching colleagues were finally rescued by a flotilla of police cruisers and Australian lifeguard rescue boats. “If someone would just take my bag, it would have just been easier for me to swim to shore,” said Paul, among the most experienced open water swimmers in the world. “When the Omega timing officials left the feeding station (which also served as the finish line official’s station) and headed to shore, it felt like people were abandoning ship,” said Steven Munatones, on the other feeding pontoon. “Towards the end, chairs, ice chests and everything else not battened down was going overboard. But we were not going to leave Kalyn out there. I was going down with the ship / feeding pontoon.”
With the waves and rough conditions, orientation in the open water became very difficult. Russia’s Pankina reportedly said, “The waves were unreal. I couldn't understand anything. I was being tossed back and forth, in every direction, couldn't tell which way - from the back, from the side. It was the first time for me to experience such a swim."
Around the 11K mark, Kalyn stopped 3 times. “I didn’t know which way to go,” said Kalyn. “I couldn’t tell where anyone was.” Over his radio about 700 meters away, Paul encouraged the rest of the team to keep her going. “The race might be called soon. Just make sure she stays in until they call the race.” And, sure enough, Kalyn did. “When the lifeguard grabbed me [after the race was cancelled to pull her inside a lifeguard boat], I didn’t know what he was doing. There was no way I wanted to watch the race from the shore while everyone else was swimming.”
“I saw the start of the race, then I went back to the hotel,” Mark Warkentin said. “When I returned later to watch Kalyn, I thought they were tearing down the place because all the banners and tents were down. But, it was just the weather.”
Mother Nature. Let’s see how kind she is to Kalyn, Mark and Scott tomorrow.
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