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Olympics-Australian professional athletes to have final say on Seine swimming

Australia will provide protective treatment for athletes competing in the waters of the River Seine at the Paris Olympics and the decision on whether they take the plunge will rest with the swimmers.

France has dedicated to clearing the Paris waterway of pollutants sufficiently to securely stage the marathon swimming and swimming aspect of the triathlon in July and August.

A giant reservoir was opened by the city's mayor last month to help in reducing the threats of pollution in the river however regular tests of the water quality are still exposing unhealthy levels of pollutants after rainy days.

Anna Meares, Australia's Chef de Objective for the Games, said she had faith in the assurances of the organisers on the matter of water security however would not be dictating any action to professional athletes if tests showed the water was not safe.

It's not a point people actioning in to state 'we will not let you swim'. Ultimately it's the option of the professional athlete, the previous cyclist told an Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) media rundown on the Paris Games on Wednesday.

We're not going to put any athlete in an environment that risks their wellbeing, that info will be given to them and that option will eventually be theirs.

Try standing in front of an Olympian who's trained for their whole life when they have the possibility to swim and ... inform them 'no'. It's not going to happen.

Team medical director Dr Carolyn Broderick stated the AOC had experience of safeguarding athletes from potential infection after similar concerns about the open water swimming locations at the 2016 Rio Games.

I believe if the Paris Organising Committee say it's safe to swim, I don't have grave concerns, she said.

We are definitely conscious that the water quality differs significantly based upon what's taking place outside, especially rain.

So we need to prepare them for the possible pathogens that might be in there. And we've got a system in location to do that.

Broderick stated her medical group would apply antibacterial solutions to the eyes and skin of professional athletes after they had actually been in the water and provide them prophylactic drugs to prevent gut infections.

Meares said Australia's anticipated group of around 460 athletes might anticipate a high level of support in Paris and the other Olympic venues, consisting of some home comforts.

As well as a dedicated gym in the Athletes' Village, the Australians will have exclusive access to a kitchen of specials such as Vegemite spread and pies, while 3 baristas will be taking a trip to guarantee a ready supply of coffee.

Meares said that although organisers were not supplying a/c in the Town on sustainability grounds, Australia would be putting an unit in each bedroom for use in case of severe heat. At the end of the day, we and the organising committee have our own sustainability targets, she said. It's a measure that we feel we need to offer our professional athletes for efficiency.