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Thread: Help with pool temperature

  1. #1
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    Help with pool temperature

    This is not intended to be another rant thread on the topic. There are more than enough of those here already.

    Our pool director just jacked the pool temp up. He said he is responding to complaints from the aquarobic folks and because the local schools are bringing kids in for lessons. He said it was 82 today, but I don't believe it. It's usually between 80 - 82, and it was a whole bunch warmer today. We couldn't really work out at all, and ended up just going back and forth. I ditched my cap for the first time in maybe 6 months, but it didn't help. We all got overheated anyway.

    Can anyone point me to a study about the hazards of a bunch of fat old dudes (and, of course, our much svelter dudettes) trying to go too hard in tepid spa water? Or any study relating to the dangers of overheating while exercising? It occurs to me that a pool that is slightly too cold for comfort for some may be an annoyance, but a pool that is too hot may be a danger. Most of the stuff I found after a quick search relates to pregnancy. I'm not even a little pregnant. As far as I know.
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    Very Active Member geochuck's Avatar
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    Re: Help with pool temperature

    Bill we must adapt and accept. I have trained in some very warm and very cold water. Our coach used to lower the pool temperature for swim meets and waterpolo games to 75. It was always 82 at other times.

    In my swim school it is 90 degrees.
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    Re: Help with pool temperature

    I train in two pools (both 25 SCM) and one is held at approx. 80F and the other at 87F. I have no problem swimming in the warmer pool (especially this time of year) and love the feeling of heating up while swimming. When I am in the 80F pool I need to keep moving constantly. I am concerned about the water temp. at a couple open water swims (no wetsuit) I plan to do this summer. On one swim the temp is usually about 21C/70F...

    I realize many swimmers like BillS don't like the warmer temps though... (You could bring a pool thermometer to check the temp yourself.) I hate winter (this one has been brutal here in S. Ontario) and love summer and am one of the few that enjoy hot weather, heat waves, and humidity. I freeze below 70F air temp and I'm stuck in Canada, which means I find it cold/freezing 8 months of the year. I envy you all who get to live in South Florida....

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    Very Active Member aztimm's Avatar
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    Re: Help with pool temperature

    Funny, you're swimming in a pool that is warm, yet here it seems our pool is a bit on the chilly side. The coach claimed this morning that it was 81 F, but I'm tempted to bring in my home pool thermometer tomorrow for a 2nd opinion. Then he gave us sendoffs starting with 100s on 1:50, which was way too long to be idle in cool water. The 3 of us in my lane lane self-adjusted to 1:40, but it was challenging to keep taking 5 sec away, ending with 5 100's on 1:15.

    Last summer, our head coach suggested (no joke here) that a few of us each bring a block of ice to help cool the water. I don't think anyone did, but it may be worth trying. In summer, our pools (outside) can easily get to 90 F or higher. The facilities people try to help as much as they can, running aerators overnight, but by Aug that doesn't help much.

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    Very Active Member ALM's Avatar
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    Re: Help with pool temperature

    Quote Originally Posted by BillS View Post
    Our pool director just jacked the pool temp up. He said he is responding to complaints from the aquarobic folks and because the local schools are bringing kids in for lessons. He said it was 82 today, but I don't believe it. It's usually between 80 - 82, and it was a whole bunch warmer today. We couldn't really work out at all, and ended up just going back and forth. I ditched my cap for the first time in maybe 6 months, but it didn't help. We all got overheated anyway.
    Bill,

    First, search the old threads. I recall commenting in previous threads. We had this issue where I used to swim. The pool manager argued that to be "certified" by the Arthritis Foundation, they had to keep the pool warm. I did a little research and found that the Arthritis Foundation requires a minimum of just 83 degrees. That's tolerable for working out, in my opinion. So a pool doesn't need to keep it any higher than that.

    Second, you need data. You can't just tell the pool manager, "it's a whole bunch warmer." You have to be able to give him numbers. I bought a pool thermometer, which I carry in my bag. At one point in time I was checking the pool temperature every time we swam, and recording it in my handy USMS Planner (free from USMS; see the home page today to order yours).

    This is the thermometer I bought. Note that it's a "kid magnet" in the pool, so keep an eye on it while it's floating around....
    http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/5127.htm

    If your pool has their own thermometer, check it and record its temperature in your Planner, too, for comparison purposes.

    After a month or so you will have enough data to see any trends. (Does the temperature fluctuate, overshooting and undershooting? Does it stay constant during the week when the regular manager is there, but then vary on the weekend when the assistants are in charge?) If the temperature has been consistently high, or if it's been seriously overshooting, you will have good data to present to the pool manager.

    Personally, I've never had to compile and present the data to anyone. What I've found is that when the pool staff sees that someone is checking the pool temperature, they suddenly start paying a lot more attention to keeping it where it should be.

    Another thing we learned from my measurements is that a lot of our comfort depends on the relationship between the water temperature and the air temperature. Our pool is an outdoor pool in the summer; in the winter it's covered by a fabric, air-supported dome. It's difficult to maintain the air temperature inside, especially when it's 20 degrees outside. 83-degree water can feel great if the air is somewhat cold, but it can feel too warm when combined with 92-degree air.

    Anna Lea

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    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: Help with pool temperature

    Quote Originally Posted by ToddCameron View Post
    On one swim the temp is usually about 21C/70F...
    Don't worry about it. That's about perfect for an open water swim.

    To BillS I'd say I agree with geochuck. You will adapt. One pool I swim at (probably 75% of my total yardage) is around 80, the other is about 85. I don't swim as fast in the 85 degree pool, but it doesn't bother me like it used to when I first started swimming there. I'd say give it a try for a while and see if your body can adjust. Now, if it's over 85 then I'd be probably complain.

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    Re: Help with pool temperature

    Be very careful training in warm/hot water. I swim in Arizona and the University team likes to keep the pool at 82. The problem is that us old fat dudes (and dudettes) have a hard time dissipating the heat. I am just beginning my return after taking 4 years out of the pool. I ended up getting really really hot during an 800 LC swim in 1997 when it was 110 degrees outside and 84+ in the pool. Got out of the pool, tried to cool in the shower, got ice bags on my head, and continued to sweat profusely. I ended up having a heat stoke and lost my vision for about 30 minutes. My threshold for the heat went down continually and by 2003 it got to be that I couldn't get my heartrate above 80 bpm without migraines that would last for days. It was to the point I couldn't finish a 500 warm-up. So, I quit all together.

    My comeback has been difficult as I gained another 40 lbs over the condition I was in when I quit. So, at 260+ lbs, I make sure I am well hydrated before workout... and throughout the day. If the pool water is warm/hot, then it just becomes a recovery/drill/technique workout. I've been doing lots of those, but as my weight has come down, so has my times, and my tolerance for the warm water.

    Whatever you do, adjust your effort for how you tolerate the heat. Everyone is a little different.
    Last edited by Big AL; March 8th, 2008 at 10:32 PM.
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    Re: Help with pool temperature

    I've never read anything about this, but my experience tells me that the determining factor is the combined air and water temperature. I can swim in the ocean at 70 degrees when the air is 90, but I can't swim in pool at 70 when the air is 60 degrees. On the other end of the scale, at my Y, which is usually around 84, I do okay in workouts as long as the air temperature is reasonable. On hot summer days (90 and above), the 84 is hard to tolerate, even in an indoor pool. I need to start a log (a good use for my USMS planner) and record the air and water temperature and my reaction during a workout.

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    Very Active Member 3strokes's Avatar
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    Re: Help with pool temperature

    In a purely subjective way: I like it warm (water and air). I find it easier to warm up from the first dive and easier to glide for the duration of the swim or workout. If the water's cold, I can't warm up slowly and if I do it fast enough that I don't shiver, I'm too tired and just too tense to relax.

    Just as there are Polar Bears (whose clubs are greatly admired when they take a dip in freezing waters in January) there are also Equatorial Sharks. (I know, Egypt is Tropical but still.............)
    ..... Where, Oh, where did I last see my swimming suit? Oh well!

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    Re: Help with pool temperature

    The water temerature reading from the pump and from the middle of the pool (depending upon the size and surrounding air temperature) can vary significantly. Water temperatures above 84 degrees are commonly refered to as therapy pools and learn-to-swim pools (young children). Mary Riley Magee (owner of a learn-to-swim pool / program in San Antonio) keeps her pool in the 90's). She successfully attracts hundreds of families to her program because she knows it's all about comfort. Warm water is indeed more comfortable and acts as an attractant to it. We all need to be concious of the need to promote one of the wonderful life-time sport / activity in the universe.


    With that being said, coaches can get more work from their swimmers when the water temperature is between 78 and 82 degrees (a prerequisite for competitive high school pools in Michigan). It's also very easy to cool down a pool for competition. Practicing in 83 and 84 degree water may draw a few complaints from some die-hard competitors but let's look at the greater good (attracting little ones). I know that when the water temperature is below 80 I have a more difficult time getting in the water and I can imagine what it must feel like to a skinny little kid. When I have a choice between training in our 84 degree therapy pool and our 81 degree competition pool and I'll pick 84 everytime.

    If find yourself in water over 84 degrees, simply reduce high intensity sets and religiously monitor your target heart rate (220 minus your age). You can get a safe and productive training session in warm water.

    P.S. If you have an outdoor pool and the water temperature pool is between 84 and 86 I'd like to train with you. We'll get a bunch of swimmers, We'll make some Margarittas (one per hour), we'll train under the stars. Sounds cool to me! Look at the next Thread ( The perfect training session).

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    Re: Help with pool temperature

    Quote Originally Posted by Betsy View Post
    I've never read anything about this, but my experience tells me that the determining factor is the combined air and water temperature. I can swim in the ocean at 70 degrees when the air is 90, but I can't swim in pool at 70 when the air is 60 degrees. On the other end of the scale, at my Y, which is usually around 84, I do okay in workouts as long as the air temperature is reasonable. On hot summer days (90 and above), the 84 is hard to tolerate, even in an indoor pool. I need to start a log (a good use for my USMS planner) and record the air and water temperature and my reaction during a workout.
    That explanation makes sense to me. On Friday night I swim with a group in the YWCA pool, which always seems freezing, even though the lifeguards keep it at 28C (about 83F). I seem to be part polar bear when it comes to outdoor swimming, but shiver whenever we stop in this pool.

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    Re: Help with pool temperature

    From age 14 to 17, I swam in a pool that was hardly ever cooler than 85 degrees. I was always grumpy during the hard sets because I couldnt' go as fast as the coach wanted. I just did the best I could, and I swam extremely well in those years.

    Now in Arizona, I'm experiencing the same thing, especially in the winter. I've noticed that my Tucson training group doesn't like warm water, but we're at the whim of the university team. My Phoenix training group loves the warm water, so I'm in the minority.

    Like I did when I was a kid, you adjust the intensity of the workout so you don't overheat. Hydrating helps, but if you're swimming at 5:50 a.m., it's hard to start hydrating long before workout.

    My advice for anyone swimming in warm water is to be very aware of how your body is responding.

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    Very Active Member A.K.'s Avatar
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    Re: Help with pool temperature

    Anything less than 80 and I'm all tight. Optimum for me is 82-85 for workout - 84-88 for meets. I depends on your acclimation and individual norm.

    In Virginia the indoor pool was 82+ - in Florida the indoor pool I was thinking of swimming was lowered to 78- because the noodlers complained it was too warm- just the opposite in Virginia. Go figure - ambiant temp. impacts?
    Thanks,

    A.K.

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    Very Active Member ALM's Avatar
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    Re: Help with pool temperature

    I decided to ask an expert about the proper ratio of air to water temperature. This is what the expert (manager of the Univ. of Missouri aquatic center, where two world records were set last month) said:

    "The standard is to keep the air temperature two degrees above the
    water temperature. That really depends on the water being in a
    normal swimming range (78-85). This allows you to feel as warm out
    of the water, but keeps evaporation down (humidity settings are also
    important, too).

    We keep the Competition Pool at 80 degrees and the air at 82."

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    Re: Help with pool temperature

    Anna Lea,
    I know that's what the pool manuals must say. However, if the pool is 85, having the air 87 only makes it worse. In our climate, the indoor temperature (if there is no air conditioning in the pool) is affected by the outdoor temperature. On 90+ days, it's hard to swim in 84-85 degrees water temp. In the winter, 84-85 is tolerable.
    Betsy

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    Re: Help with pool temperature

    Passing on an anonymous tidbit re: water temperature. Could explain some of the chronic issues swimmers (like me) have with breathing, bronchitis and asthma.

    "It so happens that I have been brought in on a few occasions to council and act as expert witness where people were charging YMCA's and JCC's and the like who kept pool temp above 82 degrees. I've had to present information to the effect that raising body temp with vigorous exercise can lead to both blood pressure spikes and drops, with attendant cardiac irregularities. People can faint and present with all sorts of discomforting responses. BUT, each and every time, the defendants (Y's, etc) said then that those complaining should not be training that vigorously or should go somewhere else...they were more interested in having a "comfy" ambiance for the elderly and arthritic, etc.

    When it was brought out that even youngsters could be at risk with training in inappropriately warm water, their responses were rather foolish...youngsters can handle it. Most might be able but there are always some that will respond negatively...all this is being presented to you so you will know that if the Y has very warm water, they are either grossly ignorant and just asking for trouble, or they simply don't care about vigorous training in the water.

    The fractionalized water molecules up to 18 inches above the water level are the most influencing...with many people splashing and swimming hard, this area carries combined chlorine (becoming hypochlorites) and hot water...all bad for breathing...inflammation, irritation, asthma and muscular weakness all can arise. The more you are exposed the greater the chance to develop a chronic condition... I made my case with my medical background and only got in hot water (pun here) with the administration. Stupid me, I kept training and pushing in this bad environment (pool chemistries were also bad as is the case in most places with too warm water) and developed frank asthma and suffered several bronchitis bouts."

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    Re: Help with pool temperature

    I recently switched to the Y because the aquatic center where I usually swim keeps the water at 78 degrees. I was really struggling to stay warm in the water even going full steam. I don't have a lot of body fat and I have some shoulder issues that I think the cold water was aggravating. The Y pool is almost too warm at 85 but I can swim longer. The only issue is the morning tot class over in the next lane.......all I can think about is the swim diaper issue. I guess every rose has it's thorn.

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    Re: Help with pool temperature

    My problem isn't the water but the air. The air is so hot and stale that it sets off my asthma everytime I've gone there in the last two weeks. there are fans but the women who aren't lap swimmign complain so much that the fans are either turned off or turned so that they blow into walls. There is no air movement at all.

    What makes me mad is that the schedule specifically states that it is an adult lap swim time. "Walkers" aren't suppose to be there anyway. These old women make me look like i'm a terrilbe person. i told the manager about my ashtma and asked why the walkers are allowed. She told me that they can't be turned away.

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    Re: Help with pool temperature

    Sorry, I get so u[set by these women I forgot to mention that I have a former boss who is the ED of the Arthritis foundation in Missouri. I'm going to e-mail her to ask about the requirements.

  20. #20
    Very Active Member ALM's Avatar
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    Re: Help with pool temperature

    Quote Originally Posted by craiglll@yahoo.com View Post
    Sorry, I get so u[set by these women I forgot to mention that I have a former boss who is the ED of the Arthritis foundation in Missouri. I'm going to e-mail her to ask about the requirements.
    Craig,

    I posted this in another thread a couple of months ago:


    From : http://ww2.arthritis.org/communities...gramManual.pdf

    p. 21
    Water Temperature Guidelines

    To date, research shows that for a recreational warm water exercise program like the Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program, the appropriate and safe water temperature range is 83-88 degrees Fahrenheit (see references below). Higher temperatures, particularly those used in therapeutic pools, i.e., 91 degrees and higher, are not recommended.

    In the field, there is constant debate regarding water temperature for our program partly due to the wide range of pools in which the classes are taught. It should be noted that therapeutic pools, those that are heated to high temperatures such as 91-99 degrees Fahrenheit, are inappropriate for active exercise programs like the Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program. Ill-effects that may occur include an increase in core body temperature, a decrease in blood pressure and an increase in oxygen consumption and cardiac demands beyond a safe margin.

    When the program is periodically reviewed and revised, there is a review of current research literature related to aquatic exercise and as appropriate, changes are made in the program guidelines and content to accommodate new scientific evidence….

    Water Temperature References

    Atkinson, G.P., Harrison, R.A. Implications of the Health and Safety at Work Act in relation to hydrotherapy departments. Physiotherapy. 1981;67:263.

    Golland, A. Basic hydrotherapy. Physiotherapy. 1981;67:258.

    Kirby, R., Kriellars D. Oxygen consumption during exercise in a heated pool. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1984;65:21

    Ruoti, R.G., Morris, D.M., Cole, A.J. Aquatic Rehabilitation. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott; 1997.

    The Water Well. Vol. 6 An Official Publication of the Aquatic Exercise Association, Inc. (2000-2005). Retrieved June 24, 2005, from http://www.aeawave.com/consumer.htm

    Arthritis and Exercise. The Johns Hopkins University. (2002). Retrieved June 24, 2005 from http://www.hopkinshospital.org/healt.../water_workout

    O’Brien, D.B. (n.d.) Aquatics Offers Freedom. Retrieved June 26, 2005, from Missouri Arthritis Rehabilitation Research and Training Center Web Site: http://www.marrtc.org/community/arti...uatics702.html

    Twynham, J., Gross, R. (1997). Exercising your aquatic fitness opportunities. Retrieved June 26, 2005 from http://www.sandfordgroup.com/editori...ngaquatic.html

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