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Thread: indoor pool air quality and feeling bad

  1. #1
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    indoor pool air quality and feeling bad

    Has any one else experienced this? During a two day meet, the first day I felt fine, the second day I felt awful. I was wondering if air quality could be an issue or some other random thing. Its always a second day thing. Anybody else experience this? Any tips on what to do?

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    Very Active Member pwb's Avatar
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    Re: indoor pool air quality and feeling bad

    #1 solution - move to California, Florida or Arizona and swim outdoors year round.

    #2 solution - if there's an option to NOT hang around inside the pool (e.g., a nearby gym, outdoor area, etc.) throughout the meet, do so.

    #3 solution - learn what pools in your area are problematic. Some pools are much worse than others.

    This is a common problem in pools and USA Swimming has had some huge problems at big meets recently (check out SwimSwam's coverage of last year's Junior Nationals at Greensboro).
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    Re: indoor pool air quality and feeling bad

    i am trying to recover from the flu and this morning something in the air set off a coughing fit that forced me to leave workout after only doing half of it.

    and YES i loved swimming outdoors at MVN yearround. well except on the bad smog days.

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    Re: indoor pool air quality and feeling bad

    I teach swim lessons at a pool that has air problems. Unfortunately, nobody admits the problems and tries to fix it. I am afraid if I speak up more than I have done the past 2 years, they will fire me. Any suggestions?
    Outdoor pool is open May-September and that's when I solely use it. But any other time of the year, I have to be indoors!

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    Very Active Member pwb's Avatar
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    Re: indoor pool air quality and feeling bad

    Follow my blog http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?u=5013
    Twitter @BrundageSwims


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    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: indoor pool air quality and feeling bad

    I think the air quality could definitely be an issue. This seems to be one of those widely variable things from person to person. I've heard meet reports where some people say they couldn't breathe and others say the air was fine. You may just be one of those people sensitive to air quality.

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    Very Active Member Sojerz's Avatar
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    Re: indoor pool air quality and feeling bad

    Quote Originally Posted by pwb View Post
    Explains a lot, thanks for posting
    Some guys they just give up living and start dying little by little, piece by piece. Some guys come home from work and wash up and go raciní in the street. (Bruce Springsteen, 1978)

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    Re: indoor pool air quality and feeling bad

    Quote Originally Posted by pwb View Post
    Some articles on this topic that might help understand the issue and options
    http://swimswam.com/pool-indoor-air-...rmance-part-1/
    Here's a comment in the SwimSwam article linked above (by "Hulk Swim", not me btw):
    I did some math while in Greensboro. Letís say 1/3 of the kids peed in the pool each session- thatís conservative. Each time leaving a cup of urine. Over the course of the three day meet, thatís 2,000 cups of pee.

    1) gross
    2) not sure any system can handle that

    In conclusionÖ stop pissing in the pool.

    2000 cups is 125 GALLONS. That changes pool chemistry. And like "Hulk Swim" said, that 125 gallons is probably a conservative estimate.

    I've noticed many changes in swimming and in pool culture since I came back to swimming regularly after a 30+ year break. What surprised me the most was how acceptable it is to pee in the pool. A college swimmer told me recently that her coach told the team to pee in the gutter at a meet instead of trying to get in and out of their tech suits. I understand the tech suit on/off issue. But it would be a lot more sanitary to pee in the shower. And it wouldn't affect the pool chemistry.

    As swimmers we are the ones being affected (breathing issues, unnecessarily poor performances) by pool air quality caused by bad pool chemistry. If we are contributing to this, as seems clear from the articles pwb gave links to, we can do our part by just NOT PEEING IN THE POOL. It seems that this is one pool culture issue that should go retro, and become unacceptable again. Let's get the word out, please!
    There is something more terrible than a hell of suffering--a hell of boredom. -Victor Hugo

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    Re: indoor pool air quality and feeling bad

    Our team just went thru a very bad timeline with our local city centre and the fans & chemicals were both way off for a spell! We e-mailed the centre & the city to found out that - YES they know of it & will fix it this summer??!!. Well after a long list of our breathing problems were posted, they fixed the fan so that at least now the bad air moves.

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    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: indoor pool air quality and feeling bad

    Quote Originally Posted by JanSwim View Post
    A college swimmer told me recently that her coach told the team to pee in the gutter at a meet
    I'm curious how, exactly, peeing in the gutter is done.

    Yeah, I'm sure people pee in the pool, but I would hope it's a heck of a lot less than 1/3 of all swimmers!

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    Re: indoor pool air quality and feeling bad

    Quote Originally Posted by knelson View Post
    I'm curious how, exactly, peeing in the gutter is done.

    Yeah, I'm sure people pee in the pool, but I would hope it's a heck of a lot less than 1/3 of all swimmers!
    when I tell fellow swimmers that I don't pee in pools, I get laughed at. I can count on one hand the swimmers I know that do not pee in a pool. After almost 25 years of swimming and over 20 years of competitive swimming, that's scary!!

    Thanks to pwb for posting the links. I talked to the person in charge and she will investigate what exactly is being tested at the pool I'm teaching at. Hopefully we get some answers as maintenance of the air and vent system is outsourced.

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    Re: indoor pool air quality and feeling bad

    I am one who suffers in bad pool air. Agreed, Federal Way is pretty bad. Greensboro was marginal for Masters Nationals, more in the spectator areas for me, not bad on the deck. A couple of thoughts. Masters swimmers probably don't pee in the pool as much as the age group crowd. Secondly, the absolute best indoor pool I've ever encountered in terms of air quality was in Iceland, where we were required to strip, wash every body part with soap, including hair, prior to entering the pool. There were even personnel watching to ensure compliance. Draw your own conclusions here. I'm glad that this is being discussed because it can have a huge impact on performance. One must also wonder about damage to the respiratory tract.

  13. #13

    Re: indoor pool air quality and feeling bad

    Quote Originally Posted by JanSwim View Post
    Here's a comment in the SwimSwam article linked above (by "Hulk Swim", not me btw):
    I did some math while in Greensboro. Letís say 1/3 of the kids peed in the pool each session- thatís conservative. Each time leaving a cup of urine. Over the course of the three day meet, thatís 2,000 cups of pee.

    1) gross
    2) not sure any system can handle that

    In conclusionÖ stop pissing in the pool.

    2000 cups is 125 GALLONS. That changes pool chemistry. And like "Hulk Swim" said, that 125 gallons is probably a conservative estimate.

    I've noticed many changes in swimming and in pool culture since I came back to swimming regularly after a 30+ year break. What surprised me the most was how acceptable it is to pee in the pool. A college swimmer told me recently that her coach told the team to pee in the gutter at a meet instead of trying to get in and out of their tech suits. I understand the tech suit on/off issue. But it would be a lot more sanitary to pee in the shower. And it wouldn't affect the pool chemistry.

    As swimmers we are the ones being affected (breathing issues, unnecessarily poor performances) by pool air quality caused by bad pool chemistry. If we are contributing to this, as seems clear from the articles pwb gave links to, we can do our part by just NOT PEEING IN THE POOL. It seems that this is one pool culture issue that should go retro, and become unacceptable again. Let's get the word out, please!
    I agree urine in the pool is disgusting, but I believe it has a minor direct impact on the air quality. Chemicals (possibly because of urine) and ventilation are the major factors. A 50m x 25yd x 8ft = 99,000 cu.ft., with 7.48 gall. per cu.ft. the pool would have 776,160 gal., 125 represents .016%

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    Very Active Member Sojerz's Avatar
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    Re: indoor pool air quality and feeling bad

    Quote Originally Posted by secondheart View Post
    I agree urine in the pool is disgusting, but I believe it has a minor direct impact on the air quality. Chemicals (possibly because of urine) and ventilation are the major factors. A 50m x 25yd x 8ft = 99,000 cu.ft., with 7.48 gall. per cu.ft. the pool would have 776,160 gal., 125 represents .016%
    Its the combination of the disinfectant chlorine with ammonia in urine (and with other nitrogenous organic compounds people carry into and release in the pool i.e., sweat, lotions, perfume, etc.) that results in the formation of chloramines (mono, di and tri) and these are the chemicals that cause the problem. They are released from the water by all the splish splashing away in the pool and because they are heavier than air the chemicals concentrate on the water surface trapped in by the pool walls, and that is where we breathe.
    Some guys they just give up living and start dying little by little, piece by piece. Some guys come home from work and wash up and go raciní in the street. (Bruce Springsteen, 1978)

  15. #15

    Re: indoor pool air quality and feeling bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Sojerz View Post
    Its the combination of the disinfectant chlorine with ammonia in urine (and with other nitrogenous organic compounds people carry into and release in the pool i.e., sweat, lotions, perfume, etc.) that results in the formation of chloramines (mono, di and tri) and these are the chemicals that cause the problem. They are released from the water by all the splish splashing away in the pool and because they are heavier than air the chemicals concentrate on the water surface trapped in by the pool walls, and that is where we breathe.
    Okay, but isn't ventilation a more significant factor. When I have breathing issues, it is always in an indoor pool, and I swam 2.4 mi. in the Navesink river (and survived this chemical jungle).

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    Very Active Member Sojerz's Avatar
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    Re: indoor pool air quality and feeling bad

    Quote Originally Posted by secondheart View Post
    Okay, but isn't ventilation a more significant factor. When I have breathing issues, it is always in an indoor pool, and I swam 2.4 mi. in the Navesink river (and survived this chemical jungle).
    The ventilation systems in most newer pools should be designed to turn the air over and scour the pool surface under normal conditions. They are apparently installing vac systems in the pool gutters to assist with removal at the water surface. Big meets and lots of swimmers can apparently overwhelm even the gutter vac systems (the load of precursor chemicals goes way up at these times), especially if air flow above the pool and at the deck level is obstructed by banners and barricades. It's also so simple to reduce the load - just shower and don't pee in the pool.

    I suspect goggles are responsible for the "just pee in the pool culture". Back in the day you could only swim an hour + before your eyes were burning and you had to get out (we also had to swim two miles up hill both ways to school), and now one can just keep swimming past normal bladder capacities.

    As one of the articles points out engineers have intentionally added chloramines to drinking water to sustain disinfecting capabilities at the far ends of large water distribution systems. Free chlorine doesn't last long enough to keep on killing, so small amounts of chloramines are intentionally added and maintained. Thus some chloramines may be added to a pool too from the water system's make-up water.

    I survived 1 mile in the Schuylkill river a few years back, which might be as bad as the Navesink .
    Some guys they just give up living and start dying little by little, piece by piece. Some guys come home from work and wash up and go raciní in the street. (Bruce Springsteen, 1978)

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    Re: indoor pool air quality and feeling bad

    I suffer with asthma at some meets. PWB had good suggestions.
    One of the pools where I practice has always been good for me, but my granddaughter told me that when her high school team swam there they had a lot of breathing problems. I asked the Aquatic Dir about it. She said that in most pools the ventilation system cannot handle a large group like 40 from the swim team. I then realized that is what happens at a meet. At U of TX for instance. There were 1800 swimmers. We churn up a lot water and chemicals and the ventilation can't clear it all. By Sunday, I could only swim 50s. But when I got in the car with AC to drive friends to the airport, my breathing was great. Auburn was bad for me also. I hung around all day on distance day and ruined my meet. At a long meet, go back to the hotel, if possible, or find an air conditioned area.

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