By Nick Butler at the Grimaldi Forum in Monte Carlo

Australian swimmers have accepted the timing of the Rio 2016 finals, John Coates has said ©Getty ImagesAustralian Olympic Committee (AOC) President John Coates has claimed he is satisfied with the proposed late night swimming finals at Rio 2016, because the gap between finals and heats has been preserved.

Revelations that finals in Rio de Janeiro will be held late at night in order to best fit with global television audiences provoked much opposition in Australia, led by four-time Olympic champion Libby Trickett.

She described the plans as "ridiculous", adding a "2am lights out and a 7am start [to prepare for morning heats] would be a killer for many athletes engaged in action on multiple days".

Coates, vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), himself also told Reuters it was an "unreasonable demand" on the athletes to be competing at that time of night.

But it emerged yesterday that no opposition to the proposed timetable had been raised by Coates or any of his colleagues on the IOC Executive Board.

This is because early morning heats have also been put back until later in the day to give athletes more time to recover, Coates claimed. 

"I think the important thing is the heats have also been put back," he said.

"They've preserved the time between the finals and the heats, and that's been privately communicated to Australian swimming and they're getting on with it.

"They're practising shutting the blinds already.

"FINA (International Swimming Federation) has taken the view that, when you weigh up everything, the promotion of the sport and the athletes themselves, and that the Village operates 24 hours in terms of dining facilities and things like that.

"They've decided this is the best overall decision and the Australian swimmers have accepted that."

Four-time Olympic gold medallist Libby Trickett is one Australian swimmer who strongly criticised the swimming programme at Rio 2016 ©AFP/Getty ImagesFour-time Olympic gold medallist Libby Trickett is one Australian swimmer who strongly criticised the swimming programme at Rio 2016 ©AFP/Getty Images

A full schedule of events for all sports has not yet been released, but timetables for certain ones, including athletics, as well as swimming, have been finalised, with the full list due to be released soon.

This comes as Rio 2016 officials bid to show the improvements made since its behind-schedule preparations were fiercely criticised earlier this year.

Coates was one of the highest profile and strongest critics, admitting in April that preparations were the "worst he had experienced" in his long association with the Games.

Today, he admitted he was pleased by the progress made since then, but added that concerns still exist and the schedule remain tight.

"I gave the view of the 17 international federations earlier this year that progress is lacking, particularly in the eight sports in the Deodoro [Olympic Park] section," he said.  

"There has clearly been significant improvements and progress. 

"Still, there are seven sports that still remain an issue and tight for them [Rio 2016], but I did pay them a compliment on the progress they had made."

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