According to the Kyodo News Agency, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and FINA have begun plans to relocate open water swimming competition from its original location, Odaiba Marine Park. On Tuesday, it was determined that the one-year postponement of the Games could create a conflict due to projected tide levels in August of 2021.
The Japanese Meteorological Agency predicted that the tide would decrease roughly 1 meter in depth in 2021, meaning the venue’s depth could dip to under 1 meter. The minimum depth for open water competition is 1.4-meters at all points of the course. It is expected that the course depth for the women’s race would decrease from 173 to 69 cm from August 4th, 2020 to August 5th, 2021. Similarly, the depth for the date of the men’s race is predicted to fall from 188 to 74 cm from August 5th, 2020 to August 6th, 2021.
The Tokyo government began planning in February to install a triple-layer underwater screen to block present E. coli bacteria from Odaiba Marine Park‘s waters, which was to be completed by the end of March. Along with the bacterial cleanup, many elite swimmers, including Olympic medalists Haley Anderson and Ous Mellouli, have voiced concerns regarding open water conditions for the upcoming games. Mellouli and other swimmers commented on the water’s temperature when participating in a test marathon event in August 2019.