View Full Version : pool temperatures

June 27th, 2003, 10:33 PM
Our local swim teams(both masters and youth) have been battling with the temperature of our swimming pools during everyday use. As with many other cities, our pools are stretched to the limit for space between many different groups. One of these groups is an aerobic class for elderly folks. These aerobic classes insist that the water temperature stay between 83-85 degrees. this makes it impossible to swim laps at a competetive level during workouts. I feel this is unhealthy and would like to know if there are any studies to prove my point. I would appreciate the input.

July 1st, 2003, 05:55 PM
I can't believe I read your post today of all days. I swim 3 of my workouts per week in a Y pool that is 83 or 84 on good days. Yesterday and today it was 86! I had to stop today. I'll do the workout tomorrow at another pool. I keep going to the Y because we have a coach, but as in your case, it does no good to complain about temperature. In the winter, it is a little cooler as they can control the heater. In the summer, no effort is made to cool it at all.
Your comments gave me a chance to vent. Believe it or not, it helps. Thanks.
Betsy Durrant

jean sterling
July 1st, 2003, 07:24 PM
I swim at a Y pool that is supposedly kept at 82 - 84. I can live with 82 if it is really 82. However, at this Y the OFFICIAL thermometer, which is ancient and held together with tape, is off by about three degrees. So, 82 is really 85. Sunday this worthless thermometer read 86!

A week ago the pool felt really comfortable as there had been a lot of rain. That was the good news. The bad news was that the powers that be had turned on the heat in the pool even though it was the end of June in FLORIDA and the weather forecast was for sunny with a high of 90 (like it is almost every day for months on end). By the next day I had a 50 meter bath tub to swim in as usual. Of course, according to the ancient worthless thermometer the water had gotten all the way down to 79 (which really is 82), so they decided they had to turn on the heat.

They had a new thermometer a few years back, but the water aerobes complained that the new thermometer wasn't accurate (82 felt too cold for them with the accurate thermometer), so back came the old one. I do some whining and complaining, but it doesn' t change anything except me - when time permits I drive an extra 20 miles to a Y (another branch) with a cooler pool.

Dennis Tesch
July 2nd, 2003, 11:18 AM
Dear Innovative,

If you look in the most recent issue of "Swim Magazine" in the Sports Medicine section there is a great article on water temperature. It even outline the recommended temperatures for pools by USMS, USA Swimming, and "The Swimming Pool Operators adn Owners Resourses Pages".

To paraphrase:

The USMS rule book recommeds 78-80 degrees for sanctioned swimming meets.

The USA Swimming rule book recommends the same temp.


The pool operators guide recommeds four different catagories
(these are recommended maximum temps).
1. 80.6 for swimming, diving, fitness swimming and training
2. 82.4 for recreational, adult teaching and conventional main pools.
3. 84.2 for childrens swimming lessons and liesure pools.
4. 86.0 for babies, young children, disabled and handicapped people.

Hope this helps...


August 16th, 2004, 03:24 PM
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Sports Medicine have issued a position paper on exercise and temperature. The paper deals with exercise on land and utilize three thermometers, a wet bulb, a dry bulb and I believe one with a black bulb. Since we are exercising in water their will be no differance between the wet and dry bulb. The table which accompanies the article recommends the activity level should be decreased about 83 F. The properties of water make water of 82 feel cold to an inactive individual, however it is difficult to dissapate heat at temperature above 82. Heat stroke has been reported in soccer players with a temperature in the mid 80's and a high relative humidity.
I swam in the 800/1500 meet at the U of Maryland and did an easy warm down. Walking to the shower, I became very light headed and had to grab the wall to keep from falling. I found out later the warm down pool was in the high 80's.
There was a paper in the sports medicine literature which recommended that a pool temperature not be increased by more than 2 degrees to allow swimmers to acclimate (I have not been able to find this reference recently). I do not believe there is a temperature which will satisfy both the swimmers and elderly. There is a risk (large / small?) to fitness swimmers with a temp in the mid 80's.

August 16th, 2004, 06:22 PM
I read that article in Swim and it helped me realize why I have to swim in 85 degree water everyday. Like most Y's, our pool is used by all of those populations of which competitive level swimmers are the smallest percentage. I would hazard a guess that 80-90% of the pool usage is for children's lessons.
I guess the answer is to recruit more people to swim teams and Master's level swimming so the majority can rule!!

August 16th, 2004, 09:13 PM
My local Y has benn running 85-87 degrees this summer.

Really makes it tough on me. Figured I was just old, and that I needed a cooler water to exercise in, so I appreciate this post.

August 17th, 2004, 12:01 AM
I guess I have it the best for summer swimming. I swim in an outdoor community pool (50 meters available twice a day for 1 hour each--adults only!!!) Pool is UNHEATED so whatever temperature the water is -- is what it will be. Right now a little on the chilly side due to cold overnight temps. Usually by this time in the summer I kid about having 2 tons of ice purchased to cool it down. I'm guessing in the high 70s is the average temp right now--just a 1/8" of ice on the skin and 2 lengths to warm up!!!!
The temps don't seem to bother the kids swimming (or splashing) during the day, the water aerobics ladies are still coming at 10am and the lap swimmers are happy.

August 20th, 2004, 08:47 AM
Their were two articles in the European Journal of Applied Physiology which addressed the issue of core temperature increases associated with swimming. The first Dore...62:130-134 found that swimming for 45 min at 70% of Vmax in 26C (78.8 F) would raise your core temp 0.9C. The other article by Kaciuba-Useilko ...64:26-31 found that swimming for 1 hr at 68% of Vmax in 27C (80.6F) would raise your core temp 0.7C.
(I assume their may be differences in experimental design) Vigourously exercising muscles can reach a temp of 103. Core temps above 102 put you at signifiacant risk. As you increase the intensity of exercise or the water temp, the core temp increase would also increase.
Acclimation to warmer water should play a role in allowing a swimmer to tolerate warmer water.
The recommendations for pool temperater for aqua fitness, the elderly, perinatal and young children are all higher than temps which are comfortable for fitness swimmers. Most Ys and rec pools cater to this population.
The primary criteria I use in choosing a pool is water temp.
On a personal note, I swam in water ranging from 65 (USMS mile open water swim) to 86 (Ga state games). I tolerated the 65 degree water better than the 86.

September 9th, 2004, 07:23 PM
I wonder if a study has been done about the temperature of the water and the air. We swim in an indoor pool where the air temperature sometimes exceeds 90 degrees. The 84 degree pool acutally feels cool to begin. Then after our first part of the main set, I'm ready to remove my cap...

September 10th, 2004, 10:35 AM
When I first enter a pool, they all feel cool to me. I ran across a report that claimed the optimal temperature for the air in a competition pool is ~ 2 degrees warmer (~81). I am curious about the effects of air temperature on the comfort of swimmers. I believe the temperature and humidity are both important for comfort. I first noticed an effect when I was swimming in the winter and warm dry air was blown in from one end of the pool. Your arms would feel cold at the end with the moving air. In the summer the air conditioned air was rather pleasant at that end (pool temp was ~83). Based on my observaions in a variety of pools, I believe the air temp/humidity will influence your comfort level, but ultimately the water temp and the degree of activity will have the greatest effect. In a pool with 84 degree water and 90+ air I would expect that you should feel very warm early in the first set.