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1ST LEAD Swimmers get unwanted city tour before Olympic race By dpa correspondents

Europe
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Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - Athletes go through certain rituals ahead of their competitions, but undertaking an unwanted city tour is not one of them. Yet that‘s just what happened to a group of swimmers before their Olympic race.

German freestyle swimmer Dorothea Brandt said she and some other swimmers were taken to the Olympic athletics stadium Friday night instead of the swimming facility - and that shortly before the semi-finals of the 50m freestyle.

The bus driver apparently put in the wrong destination in his navigation system and stuck to the route despite the protesting of the swimmers on board.

"Since the man did not speak English very well, he only showed us a piece of paper. We all showed him the map on our smartphones but he rigorously refused," Brandt said.

The German swimmer just tried to keep her nerves in check, saying: "I couldn‘t change it."

Instead of a trip that usually takes a few minutes to the aquatics stadium, the journey lasted one-and-a-quarter hours. The semi-final had to be delayed nearly an hour.

Rio 2016 organizing committee spokesman Mario Andrada said the confusion was due to the fact that the bus driver was given the acronym of the aquatics stadium as he received his instructions, which is similar to the acronym of the Olympic stadium.

"Lesson has [been] learned," Andrada told journalists. "Now we‘re going to say the proper acronym and ‘go to the aquatics,‘ which makes things easier."

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