Zika Concerns Prompt USA Swimming To Move Pre-Olympic Camp To Georgia

Due to ongoing concerns surrounding the spread of the Zika virus, USA Swimming has reportedly moved its pre-Olympic training camp from Puerto Rico to Atlanta, Georgia.

Under condition of anonymity, a person close to the situation indicated to the Associated Press that a letter was distributed Thursday to USA National Team athletes and coaches explaining that the camp would be moved from San Juan, Puerto Rico to the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center in Atlanta, Georgia. The camp is still scheduled to take place sometime after the team’s sessions in San Antonio slated for July 11-21st.

Due to the ‘explosive spreading’ of the Zika virus throughout Latin America, where reported cases number in the four million range this year alone, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a public health state of emergency this past February.

The Zika virus, carried via the same mosquitoes known to have spread dengue fever, has proven especially dangerous to pregnant women, as it is known to cause microcephaly in newborns. Microcephaly is blamed for causing brain damage, as well as babies being born with abnormally small heads.

USA Swimming National Team director Frank Busch’s full letter is below:

May 19, 2016

Hello National Team Athletes and Coaches,

As part of our preparations for the Olympic Games this summer, we have been closely monitoring the current situation with the Zika virus.  According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and other health experts in the field of science and medicine, our athletes would be highly exposed to the Zika virus in Puerto Rico.

USA Swimming’s most important priority is the health and safety of our Olympic Team.  With this information, the National Team Division has decided to relocate the second camp to Atlanta, GA.  Many variables were considered in selecting this location:  flight time to Rio, time zone, facility and hotel availability, and training camp atmosphere.  The team’s first camp will remain in San Antonio, TX.

We will also educate Olympic Team members about Zika and provide them with multiple tools to reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitos while in Rio.

Our partners at Marriott helped us greatly in this transition process and we know the new location will meet our needs. Team culture is one of the things that sets Team USA apart.  We want to make sure our camp creates that unity as we head into the Olympic Games.

Keep training hard and we’ll see you in Omaha next month!

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Swimmer lady
5 years ago

Right move. Zika is no joke!

5 years ago

Appreciate this wise decision. Health of the athletes and all support crews is top priority. The acclimatization aspects of training in PR are lost, but it is the smart decision. Again, health and safety should guide decisions.

5 years ago

Great call, USAS! Athletes’ health is first and foremost!
Bob Bowman said it on NPR yesterday that Nicole Johnson hasn’t decided to go to Rio to cheer for Phelps. Totally agree, the risk is too high!

Reply to  swim4fun
5 years ago

Nicole has already had her baby so as long as she and Phelps practice safe sex while in Rio and for a few weeks after, there is no risk (other than the minor symptoms of the virus).

Reply to  dmswim
5 years ago

Babies do not like competiyion .

5 years ago


Reply to  Don
5 years ago

Unfortunately a little too late for that. IOC would have to pay hundreds of millions to broadcasters for damages if there were to make any major changes in the schedule and venue this late

Swimmer lady
5 years ago

Who is Bradley? Maybe you just outed your source?

Braden Keith(@braden)
Reply to  Swimmer lady
5 years ago

Should have said Busch, as in Frank Busch, the National Team Director.

USA Swimming’s spokespeople sent us the letter this morning, so no anonymous sources needed 🙂

5 years ago

In an era when a woman’s professional athletic career can last a fairly long time, it’s common to see many of them agree with their partner to ‘pull the goaile’ and arrange a pregnancy shortly after an Olympic closing ceremony wraps up. Glad to see USAS trying to find the right solution for protecting athletes and their families.

He11a H4rd H0mie
5 years ago

Gonna be awesome for all the NCAA homies that tore up march to get the hype back in our home ‘lympic pool and put their energies together for some gold medal manifestation. USA gon go bananas in RIO ya heard? HYYYYPE!

phelps swims 200 breast rio
Reply to  He11a H4rd H0mie
5 years ago

Hey home’, I can dig it. Know ain’t gonna lay no mo’ big rap up on you, man!

Disgruntled and concerned
5 years ago

If they are so concerned they should move the Olympics to London.!! Brazil is woefully unprepared! But let’s put the games there anyway.because I’m sure there were financial incentives for the IOC. Who cares that by gathering athletes from around the world will spread Zika around the entire world, nevermind that our open water athletes face risks of pollution hepatitis and viral illness due to water quality. I have absolutely no respect for the IOC they are concerned about money… not athletes.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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