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Want better air quality in pools? Shower before practice.

Want better air quality in pools? Shower before practice.

Is there any better feeling than mowing the lawn on a scorching hot day and then dive bombing into a cool, crisp swimming pool? Or, perhaps after an hour of drylands? It’s awesome. But, it is not awesome for your swimming pool. 

There’s been plenty of talk recently surrounding the poor air quality at large meets, specifically Junior Nationals. The simplest, most effective way to obtain better air quality in pools is to have people shower before swimming. And, stop peeing in the pool.

USA is absolutely the worst when it comes to showering before entering a swimming pool. While visiting pools in Iceland, I noticed they had large signs about showering (with soap) in the locker room before coming out onto the pool deck. Also, they had an employee at the entrance/exit of their pools. Their job was simple: if someone was coming out to jump in the pool and they weren’t already soaking wet, then they were told to go back and scrub up…WITH SOAP! 

A complete culture change is needed.

Bad air quality comes from organic materials. I’m not going to go into the science behind sweat, makeup, hair gel, and all the harmful disinfectant by-products (DBP’s) they create. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that 50 sweaty kids jumping into your pool after a hot dryland session is gross and has detrimental effects to pool chemistry.

Surveys suggest that only 40% of people shower before swimming. I’ve got no research to back it up but I’m fairly certain 40% is about 40% too high. Just yesterday afternoon I watched 100 high school swimmers jump into our local rec center pool. Zero of them showered. 

Showering prior to swimming can save significant money on pool chemicals. Some folks suggest anywhere from 25-50%. Aquatics directors and swim coaches that implement a simple showering policy will love the benefits… 

Save money on chemicals? Check.
Better air quality in pools? Check.
Less gross? Double Check.

5 Most Valuable Events in College Swimming

5 Most Valuable Events in College Swimming

Last summer we wrote quite a bit about the 50’s of stroke. Thanks to a debate on everyone’s favorite FB page for swim coaches, I’m inspired to continue the fight for the 50’s of stroke by diving a little deeper into college swimming and our swimnerd scoring system. 

If you’d like to brush up on the topic of the 50’s of stroke, here are the previous posts in chronological order. Honestly, I forgot how fun these were to write. Inside the first article you’ll find a testy exchange between Rowdy Gaines, David Plummer, and Tony Ervin about the 50 Free — don’t miss that. 

Big Mistake: IOC skips on 50’s of Stroke
50’s of Stroke: Part Deux
50’s of Stroke: Peaty & Parity
50’s of Stroke: Phelps & Rowdy Aren’t Fans 

College swimming scholarships (should) love sprinters. If you are a college coach giving all your scholarship dollars away to distance swimmers you might want to stop doing that (if your goal is to score the most points and win your conference).

The 5 most valuable events in college swimming are:

50 Free
100 Free
100 Fly

100 Back
100 Breast

According to our swimnerd scoring system, these five events are worth 40 points (20 individual + 20 relay). Currently we are using the 100’s of stroke to also account for the 4×50 Medley Relay points. Obviously the more accurate way to divvy out the relay points is to have the 50’s of stroke only correspond for the 200 MR and the 100’s of stroke only for the 400 MR — the exact same way you score the 50 and 100 Free. The 50’s of stroke would be worth 10 relay points and the 100’s of stroke would drop to 30 points. We’d do that if the data was available but it isn’t yet. But, I digress.

Current Swimnerd Scoring System:

Note: the D2 table looks slightly different thanks to the 1000 Free being a conference event. This certainly helps distance stars collect some more points.

The bottom line is that the 50’s of stroke aren’t individual events in college swimming. The sport of swimming continues to neglect a specific type of athlete: the one’s that swim the fastest. How stupid and absurd it is to say that, right?

For grins and giggles let’s just check out the current NCAA Top 8 in the 50 and 100 Free for both Men and Women across all 3 Divisions. I wanted to see how many swimmers ranked in the 50 were also ranked in the 100. I think you’ll find the same if you matched up everyone’s 50’s of strokes vs. 100’s of strokes. 

Division I
62.5% of women
25% of men

Division II
62.5% for women
37.5% for men

Division III
50.0% for women
50.0% for men

I imagine if sports gambling is legalized, the 50’s would be a big hit with the bookies. 

Top 3 Swims From World Championships

Top 3 Swims From World Championships

On the Men’s side…

#3 Great Britain, 4×200 Free Relay

Back half domination brought to you by Duncan Scott (1:44.60) and James Guy (1:43.80). The only relay Team USA did not come out victorious. 

#2 Gabriele Detti, 800 Free

Detti allowed his training partner and BFF Greg Palt to go stroke for stroke with Poland’s Woj Woj for the entirety of the race in the middle of the pool only to destroy both of their dreams in the final 100.

#1 Caeleb Dressel, 100 Fly

.02 off of Michael Phelps’ untouchable record. Put a hurting on his friend, competitor & Olympic Champion, Jo Jo Schooling.

On the Women’s side…


#3 Lilly King & Katie Meili, 100 Breast

King sets World Record. USA goes 1-2 vs. Russia’s Efimova.

#2 Simone Manuel, 100 Free

Touches first in Rio vs. Cate Campbell, the existing World Record holder at the time. Touches first in Budapest vs. Sarah Sjostrom, again, the existing World Record holder at the time.

#1 Federica Pellegrini, 200 Free

Pellegrini gets her world title back by defeating the greatest female swimmer in history, the undefeated Katie Ledecky. She then promptly retires from the 200 Free.