Group A of the International Swimming League was supposed to arrive in Naples, Italy on Monday afternoon, but turbulent weather has caused a change of plans, and the flight was instead diverted to Rome.
Because of the challenge of trying to fly commercially from Indianapolis to Naples (which would likely require connections in both Chicago and Rome), the league chartered a direct flight from Indianapolis to the southern Italian city of Naples. That flight included all of the athletes and coaches who are competing at both meets, plus league support staff.
After circling Naples twice, including one attempt at landing that was averted because there was too much turbulence, the United Airlines flight instead diverted to Rome. There, the athletes ate dinner at the airport and were taken to buses to be driven to Naples – about a 3.5 hour trip. The original plan was to arrive in Naples at 2:30 in the afternoon, with an updated arrival time of well after midnight.
Racing doesn’t begin in Naples until Saturday, so the change of destination shouldn’t impact the meet too much – but it turned a relatively-easy 8 hours direct flight into a 10 hour flight + bus ride, which could impact how long it takes athletes to make the adjustment to the new time zone. This could also impact athletes’ whereabouts filings for any unannounced out-of-competition drug tests.
There was no severe weather in the area, but athletes on the flight tell SwimSwam that it appeared to just be an excessive wind problem. The turbulence was described as “worse than normal, but nobody thought they were going to die.”
Below, the flight tracker from flightradar.com shows the plane circling and making an attempt to land before heading on to Rome.
The 4 teams making the trip are the Cali Condors, DC Trident, Energy Standard Swim Club, and Italian-based Aqua Centurions. Energy Standard came away victorious in the league’s inaugural meet last weekend in Indianapolis, followed by the Cali Condors, DC Trident, and Aqua Centurions. Caeleb Dressel will join the Condors this week in Naples, giving added starpower to Group A competition.