Hundreds of athletes had the rare opportunity to race in the Rideau Canal Saturday.

The Super League Triathlon took place at Lansdowne, the swim portion in the canal.

The Rideau Canal is a UNESCO world heritage site, and is known for skating during the winter.

This weekend was the first ever competitive swim in the waters for several hundreds of athletes.

Race director Michael Brown says they have been monitoring the canal for months and the water has passed international safety standards. “This water is more than safe. It’s cleaner than most of the waters we do triathlons in. It falls 90-percent under allowable limits. It has a pH of 8 and you can go up to 9. There are absolutely no concerns of the waters in the canal.”

Brown says organizers also trimmed all the weeds as well as other pre-work to make it is safe for athletes.

Tristan Jones raced in the junior men’s event. He says “I heard some rumors that it was super warm and super disgusting, but honestly it was fine! You could see the bottom.”  

The bike and run portion was around Lansdowne Park.

The races continue Sunday.