The swimming test of a women's triathlon was this Thursday the first test competition in the Seine to prepare for those that will take place during the 2024 Paris Olympic Games and a few days after a swimming competition was canceled because the water did not have the minimum levels of quality required.
This is one of the great challenges facing the Olympic Games next year -the triathlon and marathon swimming competitions are scheduled in the river- since for bathing to be authorized, the water must meet sanitary standards set by a European directive.
The 55 competitors jumped into the water shortly after 8:00 local time (6:00 GMT) at the height of the Alexandre III bridge, one of the most emblematic of the city that connects the Esplanade des Invalides with the Petit Palais.
After swimming the 1,500 meters in a loop in the direction of the Alma bridge, they went on to 40 kilometers by bicycle in a circuit through the center of the city and the 10-kilometer race in a part of that same circuit, which passed, among other , by avenue des Champs-Élysées.
The winner was the British Beth Potter, who beat the French Cassandre Beaugrand in the sprint. The third position on the podium was occupied by the German Laura Lindemann.
"What a special place," said the American triathlete Katie Zaferes, who finished in 21st position and has not yet secured a place for Paris 2024, to the AP. The French Beaugrand, in second position in the test, pointed out that among the athletes there was a feeling of joy to compete in this place and added that he was not concerned about the quality of the water of the Seine: "We are used to swimming in much worse water."
These triathlon events that will take place in Paris until next Sunday bring together many of the best athletes in this specialty and are key for some national teams to determine qualification for the Olympic Games.
On Friday the men's test is scheduled, on Saturday that of the Paralympic triathletes and on Sunday the mixed one.
The Paris City Council intends that from 2025, residents of the city and visitors can take a dip in the river (in limited areas) as a legacy of the efforts that have been made since 2016 for the competitions of the Games next year, with an investment of 1,600 million euros, according to EFE. Access to bathers was prohibited for hygienic reasons in 1923.
Investments that have already resulted in the modernization of the two treatment plants upstream of the French capital. In addition, work is being done on the constitution of large tanks to store water in the event of heavy rains, thus preventing the sewers from being discharged directly into the river in these circumstances. All boats or structures that park upstream on the river will also be connected to the sewer network.
The president of Paris 2024, Tony Estanguet, highlighted in a statement that "the organization of this first triathlon test in the heart of Paris is a real success, with swimming in the Seine, an exceptional course at the foot of Parisian monuments most beautiful and a great sporting moment".