Marcel Wouda Pulls World Champion From World Championships

European Open Water Swimming posted the following information on its website:

Swimmer Linsy Heister won’t defend her world title in Shanghai on the 25 km open water. Coach Marcel Wouda pulled the 23-year-old from Eindhoven Thursday back. According to the coach, it is medically irresponsible to swim the longest distance at a water temperature of around 30 degrees Celsius.

After a long discussion with medical staff, we decided to withdraw Linsy,” Wouda reported Thursday. “It is irresponsible to swim for five to six hours in water of about thirty degrees. Besides that it’s life threatening, it would take a very long recovery afterwards.”

Heister ended in the Chinese city at the ten kilometers in place twenty. According Wouda the cancellation is independent of this disappointing performance. “It’s purely on medical grounds. We want our athletes to swim races safely. There are always risks, but this is something we can estimate in advance and therefor we will not start.”

Wouda believes that the world swimming federation FINA should take their responsibility. “Given the death case last year, also under very hot conditions, you would think that FINA has learned an important lesson. I as coach have the opinion that the FINA should cancel the event under these circumstances. It is irresponsible.”

In October 2010 the American Fran Crippen died during an open water race in the United Arab Emirates. Research showed that the high temperature of the water also caused his death. “We shouldn’t put our athletes up to this. I hope there are more coaches and teams that will take a decision like we have.”

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