In response to a piece published in the Wall Street Journal suggesting that a current in the Rio pool favored sprinters in certain lanes and a statistical analysis by SwimSwam contributor Barry Revzin with similar findings, FINA has said that there was no current measured in the competition pool for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
FINA said it “received the reassurance that ‘no current was detected in the Olympic Aquatics Stadium pool, at any stage of the competitions.'”
The reassurance likely came from competition pool manufacturer Myrtha’s tests before the event and after day 3, where the test float, sitting on the surface of the water, shows no movement. FINA and Myrtha are official partners.
FINA’s statement also notes that the researchers’ analyses are based on statistics.
“[Comments from researchers in the media] are exclusively made on the basis of mathematical analysis, without taking into account any scientific evidence in the actual pool constructed for these Games. Moreover, during the course of the successful swimming events at Rio 2016, no complaints were received by FINA about the competition conditions at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium.”
The Wall Street Journal piece, conveying the results of research led by Joel Stager, director of Indiana University’s Councilman Center for the Science of Swimming, found that swimmers in the higher-numbered lanes seemed to have a performance boost in the 50 free.
The SwimSwam piece analyzed splits in the men’s 1500 and women’s 800 freestyles, swimmers consistently would swim faster in one direction than the other. The faster length depended on the swimmers’ lanes.
To conclude its statement on the matter, FINA “expresses its entire confidence in Myrtha Pools to deliver first-class and sustainable swimming pool conditions and naturally looks forward to continuing the fruitful co-operation with its Partner in the Future.”