Payne defends ‘too cold and too crowded’ Olympic venue

KERI-ANNE Payne has defended the venue that will be used for the Olympics’ outdoor swimming events and insisted that Hyde Park is the ideal location to host next year’s competition.

Payne will take part in the 10km swim in the Serpentine lake and while the venue has been praised by most, bronze medal winner of the test event there, Poliana Okimoto said the lake was “too cold” and “too crowded”.

Concerns have also been raised over the presence of blue-green algae in the water but Payne, who braved extreme heat to win the World Championships in Shanghai and qualify for the British Olympic team, insists there is no better place to hold the event.

“I have swam in some horrendous places, the worst being a river in China, so for me the Serpentine is like a chlorinated swimming pool,” Payne said.

“Yes, it’s Britain, it rains a bit and it’s a little bit cold at times but the water is not going to be that bad.

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“Over the last 20 years the average temperature in the water has been about 21 degrees and that is perfect temperature.

“If you’re swimming for two hours you’re bound to get a bit warmer in that time so having it a bit chillier will be good for us.

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“My only worry is a few swans or ducks flying in the way every now and again.

“Whoever made those comments must like swimming in the Bahamas in nice clear rivers all the time.”

Payne recorded a time of two hours one minute 58 seconds to claim her second world title in July and become the favourite for next year’s Olympics.

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