British swimmers lose no sleep over late Rio schedule

Thu Apr 21, 2016 3:35pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

BATH, England (Reuters) - British swimmers and coaches are losing no sleep over the prospect of late night racing at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August.

The schedules will see finals starting at 2200 local and finishing after midnight on some days, with U.S. broadcaster NBC eager to maximize advertising revenues by reaching prime time audiences in North America.

With media commitments, the post-race warm down, drug testing and then the transport home, the top swimmers in Rio will not be getting to bed until the early hours.

"When that was first announced we made a conscious decision not to make a song and dance about it," Britain's head coach Bull Furniss told reporters on Thursday after Team GB announced a squad of 26 swimmers for Rio.

"It is what it is. Other sports compete later in the day," he added. "The last thing we wanted to do was to send a message to our athletes that this is a problem."

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics the medal races were switched to the morning because of the time difference with the United States, drawing complaints from swimmers.

At last year's world championships in Kazan, Russia, the finals were usually over by around 1930 local.

Furniss took the attitude that the late scheduling could work to his swimmers' advantage if they adjusted body clocks better than others.   Continued...