RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Divers planning to practice Friday arrived to a closed pool as officials took more time to clean the green-tinged water before the first individual event of the Games.
The water changed color Tuesday midway through the synchronized diving events. Officials insisted it was safe for competing, even after a larger adjacent pool used for water polo and synchronized swimming turned a lighter shade of green.
Things had gotten so bad Friday that along with the pool being closed for practice for the women's 3-meter preliminaries in the afternoon, athletes were complaining of eye irritation and officials said the second pool would probably have to be drained and refilled.
Mario Andrada, spokesman for the Rio organizing committee, repeated that the pool was safe for competition. Some athletes were bothered by the water but that was a result of efforts to clean the pool, he said. The changing color was the result of increased alkaline levels, he said, and officials were caught offguard by the condition.
"Chemistry is not an exact science," he said. "We can't use too much chemicals in the water because athletes are training in it. We certainly could have done better in the beginning to prevent the water from turning green. Once it turned green, we again made another bit of a mistake." The water color appeared to be closer to normal in the afternoon for the diving competition but was still shaded green.