The forecasts for Tempe, Arizona the rest of this weekend will see temperatures soar above 100 degrees. After showing 94 degree temperatures at the lake today those numbers are expected to soar to 102 degrees on Saturday and 106 degrees on Sunday, when USA Swimming will host the Junior National 5K Championships, the Junior National 7.5k Championships, and the men’s and women’s 5K National Championships at the site.
With safety always at the forefront of these events, especially in the United States. Almost 8 years ago, the memory of open water swimmer Fran Crippen, who died at a race in the UAE still, holds strong for organizers and open water enthusiasts in this country. High water temperatures, officially recorded at 84 degrees and rumored by some to be as hot as 86 degrees, have been blamed as the primary factor in Crippen’s death.
While air temperatures are soaring in Phoenix, as they are wont to do this time of year, water temperatures have remained relatively cool. The low water temperature on Friday was 69.0 degrees (at 3:33AM), and by 1:33 PM it peaked out at 76.0 degrees, according to the WeatherLink Network. Even at its hottest, the water was still below even the coldest pool allowed in FINA competition, which is 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 Celcius).
USA Swimming is starting all of the races early in the morning, as is tradition at open water events. On Saturday, racing will begin at 8:00AM and should be finished by 9AM. By the race’s end, air temperatures are forecast to be 85 degrees (weather.com), and water temperatures will be around 72 or 73 degrees (the water historically has warmed up by between 2 to 4 degrees by that time of morning).
So, while the air temperatures soar mid-day, the low humidity levels in the area, cooler overnight temperatures and the ability of large bodies of water to maintain consistent temperatures better than, say, your local pool, is keeping racing conditions well within safe limits.