AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – Ironman is almost here, as athletes come to compete in swimming, cycling, and running in downtown Augusta.
Businesses are preparing for the large crowds, and some roads are closing, but the savannah river keeper is making sure the river is good for swimmers as well.
The event is Sunday, but officials are already testing the water ahead of it. We don’t know the test results yet, but the race actually starts with a one-point two-mile swim, so they want to make sure the river is safe.
Dmitry Ponomariov went for a swim Friday afternoon, preparing for Ironman.
“Training, bicycles, swimming, running, seven times a week non-stop,” he said.
In just a couple of days, he’ll take that non-stop training and jump into the water with thousands of other Ironman competitors.
But before he dives in, Truck Carlson with Veterans for Clean Water is checking to make sure it is safe to swim in.
“Good water doesn’t have to be clear. Because if it’s healthy water, it means it can hold a good amount of oxygen, and it has enough nutrients to feed the aquatic life,” he said.
He’s testing the water for E. coli.
“E. coli is a great thing. We’ve got it in our gut. Every animal has it in them, but too much of a good thing isn’t so good. So, when the E. coli gets to a certain level, it becomes a warning that it might be unsafe to swim,” said Carlson.
While the official test results won’t come in for another 24 hours, he’s not worried.
“The water quality has been fabulous all week. I do not expect that to change. We didn’t really have any rain. Nice, cool morning temperatures. So, I expect that order to be just fine,” said Carlson.
Fine conditions prove to be a plus for swimmers.
Ponomariov said: “The water is very nice. I’m stretching my wetsuit, so I’ll be all set for Sunday.”
Both river and race officials were also checking out the temperature of the water.
If it’s over 76.1 degrees, those swimmers will have the option of wearing a wet suit. Friday’s reading was 75.2 degrees.
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