After hearing that Turkey was set to go into lockdown and people would no longer be allowed to leave, all athletes and coaches had roughly 36 hours to try get out of the country.
Among the athletes who had to make a brisk exit is Chad le Clos, who told South Africa’s Sunday Times that the original plan was for them to stay and train there for 6/7 weeks.
Le Clos said, “Suddenly, the country is going into lockdown and hotels are probably going to be closed. We had 36 hours to get out”
Head Coach James Gibson told us that the programme officially closed last Wednesday, saying it was “very difficult but the right decision”. He added that it was “time to get people, home regardless of the stakes”.
Tom Rushton is also a coach with the team and told SwimSwam that the athletes were trying to get out ahead of travel bans. And, because they all essentially live in a hotel, if the government were to impose a shutdown of hotels, they were going to be left in a difficult position.
He also added that “Most countries so far have figured out solutions for training.” However, le Clos expressed uncertainty surrounding the future of his training, saying “There’s no real plan going forward. I have no coach, no training partners. I could be stuck here [Cape Town] until the Olympics”.
The Sunday Times have also reported that the Ukranian athletes on the team are stuck in Turkey as their country had already stopped allowing people across its border. These include Mykhailo Romanchuk, Sergey Frolov and Sergey Shevstov. Viktoriya Gunes, one member of the team, was born in Ukraine but now represents Turkey internationally and holds citizenship.
Other members of Energy Standard haven’t released any statements or posted to their social media accounts so far. These include British athletes Georgia Davies and Ben Proud, Sarah Sjostrom, Florent Manaudou, Pernille Blume, Simonas Bilis and Kliment Kolesnikov.