How to Cool Off and Stay Safe in Public Pools

The cool, glistening waters of public pools are certainly seductive on a hot summer day. But if they’re not properly maintained and treated, these public pools spread germs that can cause unpleasant illnesses and ruin the fun. Here’s what you need to know to stay safe (and cool) in a public pool.

Source: How to Cool Off and Stay Safe in Public Pools

“Another One Bites the Dust” works too, but you might not want to be caught humming it while doing CPR. 😉

You could teach swimmers to communicate their status over the water, the same way scuba divers do under it. If I point at a kid, they need to make a fist and tap the top of their head with it. That’s the “I’m okay” sign. If I don’t get a response, I need to go get you.  That said, I’ve swam in water where visibility is 6 ft at most, with goggles.

And Now, Some Aspirational Swim Caps

As we head into the first true summer weekend, please take a moment to decide whether one of these ladies might inspire your best possible poolside fashion choices. And you can’t all pick the woman on the far left.

Source: And Now, Some Aspirational Swim Caps

Some readers were likely a kid when these were a thing, and at one point even owned one with a flower or two on it…

The smell was horrible. They would fill up with water and swell up, then you’d step out of the pool and the water would pour out.

How I Learned to Love Swimming Laps for Exercise

Swim for fitness. That sounded easy: I already knew how to swim. So one day I stood on the pool deck looking at all the other happy lap swimmers, from speedy athletes to the portly old lady, swimming slow and steady. I was about to join their ranks, but I was woefully unprepared.

When I pushed off the wall to swim my first length, I began to sink. I flailed my arms to keep from drowning, and then I started kicking, but then my legs sank and were basically useless. Then I felt like I was going to suffocate, so I forced myself to the surface, gasped for air, and dove down again. When I finally reached the end of the first lap, I clutched the edge of the pool sucking in air. The old lady glided up next to me, touched the wall with her hand and then her feet, and serenely glided away. How could I be more like her?

Source: How I Learned to Love Swimming Laps for Exercise

I took lessons when I was a kid, which didn’t go very far.  I remember understanding freestyle things I needed to do, but lacked coordination to get it right.  I didn’t fear swimming, but starting triathlon training was the first time I’d even been in a pool for a very long time.  I’d heard about Total Immersion from a co-worker, and I found it a much better experience than the lessons I got as a kid.  I highly recommend Total Immersion lessons if you can find them.

The article glosses over the length of the pool.  50 yard/meter is obviously twice the distance – it’s not what I’d recommend for beginners.  The distance is also important when you quote times for a given distance – you’re coming off the wall (turning around in the swim lane) more often in a 25 yard/meter lane, which is free speed.  Whereas with open water, there’s no push off.  Open water starts range from standing on dry land to treading water.  And there’s no walls to get free speed from in open water… but you can wear wetsuits for open water swimming.  Lots rely on the wetsuit to correct their swimming – organizers from a local triathlon the previous year restructured their race because over 25% of registrants were going to withdraw because the swim was looking to be non-wetsuit (due to temp rules).

I’ve heard stories from others about their experiences with the local Masters swim club.  Masters swimming for them seemed to be made of ex-competitive swimmers, which made it difficult for a new swimmer to do anything.  Hopefully others experiences are different/better, but a triathlon club might be a better experience.  Lots take the swim portion to address swim fears.

The article also didn’t mention water temperature.  The lap pool can be colder than some would like, but that just means you need to get swimming.  I can’t swim in heated pools for very long before I have to hop out in order to bring down my body temperature.

LED Guides in These Goggles Keep Open Water Swimmers on Course

Swimming from one end of a pool to the other in a straight line is a lot easier than trying to stay on track when swimming in a lake or open water. But a new pair of swim goggles can keep track of what direction you’re heading and help keep you swimming in a straight line using a pair of subtle LEDs.

Source: LED Guides in These Goggles Keep Open Water Swimmers on Course

Don’t get your hopes up.  It’s on kickstarter, and the video is not actual footage.  The technology has been around for years now, why hasn’t any of the big names come out with something?

Having swam numerous open water events this past season, the first thing that sticks out for me is that the goggles only let you set one direction.  Nothing in the description says “waypoint”, an actual fixed point that you would navigate around.  Most open water triathlon swim courses have at least two buoys to navigate, so you’d have to stop your swim to reset/calibrate for every additional buoy.

Another experience that will render the goggles useless: getting them knocked off, or at least enough that you can’t see out of one goggle.  Happened to me for the first time this season.  Loosing a $20 pair of goggles isn’t a big deal, but ones that run $200?

My call: avoid, at least until the product matures.  Being able to sight in the water is very important, and you don’t need to see the buoy when you can follow the people in front of you.

How Learning to Swim Changed Over the Course of American History

Now that the dog days of July have arrived, you’ve probably given some thought to taking a dip. But first, you might consider some beach tips from a pair of books—both from the historical medical collection here at the New York Academy of Medicine, published in 1818 and 1918—once used to teach swimming. Of course, some advice has aged better than others.

Source: How Learning to Swim Changed Over the Course of American History

It’s an interesting read, to see how complete the instruction books were for the time period.  I do think swimming is one of the life skills you need to learn.  It was highlighted for our local community recently because there were a few drownings in the past year by tourists.  The local lakes and parks haven’t had lifeguards for as long as I’ve been a kid, but then drowning is silent (contrary to TV/movie/media).

Lots of people I’ve met have used swimming training for triathlon to address & conquer their fear of the water.  To my knowledge, they are largely successful.  One found out they loved open water swimming – they just waited for everyone to leave before starting off.  This person was finding that swimming in a pool was triggering her anxiety now, but she still doesn’t quite understand what the trigger is.  Lots I know do not like swimming through weeds, which can happen in open water.  Meh – it’s unnerving for a moment when you touch one but it’s not likely to get tangled & cause problems.

Study: Beaches Are Literal Human Litter Boxes

Bacterial organisms gotta tan, too.

“No swimming” signs have already popped up this summer along coastlines where fecal bacteria have invaded otherwise inviting waters. Some vacationers ignore the signs while others resign themselves to tanning and playing on the beach. But should those avoiding the water be wary of the sand, too? New research in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology investigates reasons why the answer could be “yes.”

Source: Attention beachgoers: Fecal contamination affects sand more than water

This means that soon after you take that dip in the ocean, you’ll be greeted with even grosser bacteria once you lay your beautiful body down in that sand.

Who wants to build a sand castle? 😀

The Real Reason You Get Red Eyes After Swimming Is Gross

Picture yourself with your very own backyard pool. There you are, drifting on an inflatable raft, wearing a cute bikini, sipping a fruity drink, wiping the urine from your eyes…wait—what now? Sometimes ignorance is bliss when it comes the germs you’re being exposed to on the regular—otherwise how would you leave the house? But the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) would prefer you actually learned something about these issues.

Source: It’s Not Chlorine That Turns Your Eyes Red in the Pool: IT’S PEE

This is why we can’t have nice things.  …and why you wear swim goggles.

Broken Ribs: Week 8

I largely got back into my training plan.  The change has been to run a flat 10 KM, rather than 5, so I’m doing more distance than I had before.  I have no idea on speed, but at this point – I’m just happy to be moving.  I want to seek out a coach for improving my running, but I’m still not 100% so I’m hesitant to put time/money into this just yet.

Swimming seems to be at 90% recovered.  Stamina and recovery are not there yet.  Before the break, I was able to do 50 meters (25 m length) in 45-50 seconds.  Currently, 50-55 seconds.  At the time, I was thinking a consistent 50 seconds was fine because the amount of effort to be 5 seconds faster didn’t feel worth it.

I can’t quite figure out where I am with cycling.  I’ve been able to keep a pretty good pace, but consistently on one of the real hill climbs – I loose a lot of ground to people I’d previously left behind.  Part of it is time and fitness I’ve lost while others have maintained or gotten better, and part is that people have switched to their summer bikes.  I don’t have a summer bike, and the plan to get one this year fell through.  Not that my current bike is heavy, but riding ~18 lbs when most others are on 14+ lbs (yes, UCI illegal)…

As for the ribs?  Last week I was worried they would never heal.  If I slept on my back, there’d be a few moments before I hear/feel a pop/click.  Sleeping on my chest seemed to work better, so I started to do more of that.  I cough and sneeze, but there’s still some pain and odd constriction to remind me that I’m certainly not 100%.  I did yoga, and it was largely OK.  One of the more extreme spinal twists is doable, but feels a little tight in the chest.

It’s been a weird journey, experiencing my first broken bone.  By most accounts, my experience is quite mild because I could sleep.  Most I’ve spoken to were able to do some exercise.  For me it was cycling while another wasn’t but could run.  I never dared try running, but I was foolish enough to try swimming.  I’m not out of the woods yet.