Category Archives: Regulation

NEWSFLASH: The 1st Edition of the long-anticipated Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) has officially been released.

Click here to download a copy.

As the MAHC now moves into the next phase, local and state health jurisdictions will be able to implement all or portions of the code as seen fit.  The CDC will work with national partners to periodically update the MAHC to ensure it stays current with the latest industry advances and public health findings.

Conference for the Model Aquatic Health Code:

The Conference for the Model Aquatic Health Code (CMAHC; www.cmahc.org) is a non-profit organization and will be the vehicle for recommending code modifications to the MAHC moving forward.  The CMAHC will be suggesting MAHC revisions as well as identifying research opportunities for the CDC’s final determination.

The CMAHC’s role will include:

  • Collecting, assessing, and relaying national input on needed MAHC revisions back to CDC for final consideration for acceptance
  • Advocating for improved health and safety at aquatic facilities
  • Providing assistance to health departments, boards of health, legislatures, and  other partners on MAHC uses, benefits, and implementation
  • Providing assistance to the aquatics industry on uses, interpretation, and benefits of the MAHC
  • Soliciting, coordinating, and prioritizing MAHC research needs

The CMAHC members will meet biennially to gather, assess, and decide on the need for proposed changes to the MAHC. This first meeting is planned for October 2015, which will be 1 year after CDC’s release of the MAHC 1st Edition.

Individuals and organizations can become a member or sponsor the CMAHC and help the organization become the driving force for improved health, safety, and fun at the nation’s public swimming facilities.

MAHC Background:

The Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) effort began in February 2005 with the 1st Edition now being completed and published in August 2014.  The MAHC will have a significant impact on the aquatic industry and we strongly encourage all industry members to take an active role in supporting the effort, identifying opportunities for improvement, as well as areas that could benefit from future research as this will be a living document.

The first industry standard was issued in 1958. In the subsequent 50 years, there have been at least 50 different state codes and many independent county and city codes. What was required in one jurisdiction may be illegal in another. It is clear that this historic approach is not working. Thus, the National Swimming Pool Foundation took a leadership position and provided funding to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for the creation of the MAHC and now supporting the legacy and implementation efforts through sponsorship of the CMAHC. The MAHC is intended to transform the patch work of industry codes into a data-driven, knowledge-based, risk reduction effort to prevent disease, injuries and promote healthy water experiences.

 

All Stories

You want more competitive swimmers? Make swim meets shorter!!

Competitors swim during the women's 200m freestyle heats at the London 2012 Olympic Games“If I had only one day left to live I would spend it at a swim meet because they last forever.” I’ve seen this on swimmers’ t-shirts at swim meets across the country, and I couldn’t agree more.

I was recently visiting with USA Swimming in Colorado Springs when we began discussing how to get more competitive swimmers into the sport. Several approaches were discussed, all with merit. USA Swimming is beginning a great new campaign called “Swim Today” to convert swim lesson kids to swim team kids.  However, there was one approach that I felt needed to be addressed: shorter swim meets would draw and retain younger kids (and parents) to the sport.

With three age-group swimmers between the ages of 8 and 11, and having swum competitively myself, I understand the current age-group swim meet agenda: spend five to six hours on a pool deck either early on a weekend morning or late into the evening on a weekday. This is costing the sport future competitive swimmers not because the kids do not want to compete in swim meets but because the parents, who may not have been competitive swimmers, do not want this big of a commitment.

Over the last couple of years, I have been able to recruit some of my kids’ friends to the swim team through conversations with their parents.  I have appealed to the benefits of gaining confidence in the water, to a healthy lifestyle, to fun with friends.  What I tend to leave out is the lengthy time commitment required for swim meets.  I would say that I have only had about a 10% retention rate after the parents’ experience a long swim meet.  Now usually they stick it out for a short period of time, but the reason I get for their kids quitting is the swim meet time commitment.

We have all heard the phrases “practice makes perfect” and “practice like you play,”  but this to me is one of the largest disconnects in the sport of swimming.  Swim practices can last one to two hours with interval training and very, very limited breaks.  Rarely does a swimmer get out of the pool during practice.  Yet at a swim meet there may be an hour between events.Start Backstroke

During high profile meets like the Olympics or FINA World Championships, the media always make a big deal out of a condensed time frame between races for athletes like Missy Franklin and Michael Phelps.  I understand this for high-caliber meets but age group kids (and parents) do not need a long break to rest.  A typical swim meet may include three to five races for each of my kids over the five to six-hour time frame.

Here is a typical meet……kids arrive at 6 a.m. to warm up for 20 minutes.  Meet starts at 7 a.m.  My son swims a race and then is back on the grass field playing baseball or football.  I don’t know an age group kid out there that can be contained to “rest” for the next race when it’s an hour away and all of their friends are ready to play.  But hey, there is good news for the parents…..you get to stand behind a starting block for two hours, time the other kids, and see your kid swim for maybe two minutes.

Something has to change.

Think about this, most other sports like soccer, baseball, and football all have the same practice requirements as swimming (one to two hours) but the games are typically equal to the length of practice and most often are shorter.  I would enjoy a maximum of 2.5-hour swim meet where coaches have to select events (and entries) that fit within that time frame.  PS:  my 10-year old doesn’t need to swim the 200 Fly. Or we could have more swim meets that have condensed time frames – baseball and basketball games are commonly held frequently throughout the week. In fact, I recently saw an article on ESPN.com where a Major League Baseball executive suggested a 7-inning MLB baseball game to appeal to more people.  The same type of thinking needs to take place in the sport of swimming!

Cloudy Water Solutions Checklist

It’s that time of year again and as the summer season starts up many operators will have to deal with a nemesis to aquatic professionals around the globe, cloudy water! Before you just throw in some clarifier, here’s a quick checklist of items that you can take a look at if your water clouds up.

Fort LuptonWater Chemical Balance is typically the first thing that operators should check.  Start by checking the saturation index to see if your water is scaling or corrosive.  Next, ensure that you have enough chlorine in the water to effectively sanitize and oxidize, and also maintain your pH levels in the 7.2-7.4 range.  As pH increases so does the devaluation of your chlorine’s effectiveness. Cyanuric acid levels should also be checked and kept lower than 20ppm.  Too much cyanuric in the pool can cause cloudiness fairly quickly, as well as devalue your chlorine.

A second item to check is your chemical controller to make sure it is giving adequate readings.  Controllers should be calibrated on a regular basis and checked against the numbers you get when you are hand-testing the water.  If the readings are off then it’s either time for cleaning the probes and sensors, recalibrating them, or it might even be time for replacement.

The surface of your pool can also contribute to cloudy water, especially at the start of the season when it has sat empty all year and been exposed to the UV rays from the sun.  Painted pools can chalk at the beginning of the season so it’s always good to give them a good brushing before the pool opens to get all of the loose material off the bottom.

Bather load is obviously a huge factor since most of our pools don’t cloud up when we don’t have people in them.  If you think bather load is your problem, pay close attention to when it starts to cloud up and how many guests are in the park at that time.  You always want to ensure you are not exceeding the maximum capacity of your facility, and not putting your guests at risk.  If at any time the water is too cloudy to see any portion of the bottom of the pool, then you must clear the pool.  Guest safety is the utmost of importance.

Pool Filtration is another item on your list to check, though this is probably one of the hardest to diagnosis and fix, especially during the middle of your season.  You always want to dYuma, AZ (2)ouble check your flow rate and turnover to make sure they meet state codes, as well as meet the needs of your specific operation.  Debris can’t get filtered out of the pool if it’s not getting back to the filter in a timely manner.   Backwashing shouldn’t be done once a day just because; rather, it should be done based on the pressure differential on your filter.  Remember, a dirty filter traps more dirt and debris than a clean filter does.  Finally, put together a plan to observe, examine and replace your filter media per the recommendations of your filter manufacturer.  Over time, your filter media can definitely lose its effectiveness.

Hopefully, you won’t have to experience cloudy water at your facility this summer.  If you do, the above list is a great start to get you well on your way to finding the right solution.

Pool Capacity

We often get asked about capacity for pools during the planning process.  The challenge we find is there are different meanings for “capacity” depending on who you are talking to.  Sometimes people want to know how many people can fit in the pool, sometimes they want to know how many people they can allow in the gates, and other times they want to know how many people they could accommodate over an entire day. 

The term “Frozen Capacity” refers to the maximum capacity in a facility at one time, which is, understandably, the peak period for the day, whether it is an indoor facility or an outdoor facility.  There does not exist a comprehensive formula but a combination of ratios currently used in the industry and is used to determine bather load and frozen capacity.

The majority of health departments in the U.S. use the following formula for bather load sizing; shallow water = <1500 x water depth: = 1 person/3M², (includes wading pool)

Deep Water = <1500 water depth = 1 person/7.6M²; (each diving board deduct 10M² of water surface of pool area)

EXAMPLE PERCENTAGE  
Total surface area zones 2286M²  
Wading area 40 mm or less 229M²     10% 1 person/M²1 11 person         1 person /M²
  Shallow area 1.5M or less 1372M²     70% 1 person/2.13M²
Deep area 1.5M or moreIn water surface 685M²     30% 1 person/7.6M²Deduct 28M² from water surface, diving board, drop slide or waterslide
Plus holding capacity at stair to slide   1 person/lineal 300mm of waterslide
     

 

Pool Design Part 1 – Fast Pools

Every time a new pool is built or there is a high profile event, someone always seems to ask, what makes a fast pool? It is our job in the industry of building pools to make these Facilities the BEST they can be. Swimmers on the block should only be considering their efforts towards training and planning for a race to make their best times, not whether or not the designers have used the best and most appropriate materials in building or refurbishing the pool. Here are a few factors that to consider when building or upgrading your facility.

Water Depth: Over the past few years pools have been getting deeper and deeper.  When a swimmer dives in the water this creates waves not just on top of the water but under the water too. Think of an echo in a small room, the sound waves reverberate off each wall; well in a pool the waves (or currents) can reverberate off the floor and affect the swimmer as the race progresses.  These currents carry through the entire race. The more shallow the water is, the greater the effect these currents have on the swimmers. When talking about short distances like the 100 meter freestyle, the difference between 1st and 8th place could be 1/10th of a second.

Temperature:  When building a pool one of the biggest topic s of discussion is the temperature of the water.  Competitive and Lap swimmers want it cooler, divers want it warmer and therapy wants it even warmer. There is no perfect situation when trying to make everyone happy in one pool.  It is important to have a primary focus for the pool so that conditions can be optimal for the primary use. For racers, cold pools can shock the system and tense up your muscles, but hot pools create the body to overheat which they makes the athlete extent more energy, resulting is sluggish swims. The perfect temperature (for racers) ranges between 78-80 degrees. It can be challenging to maintain these temperatures when you are dealing with all 4 types of energy; radiation, evaporation, convection and conduction.

Lane Width– In a standard swimming pool the lane width is typically 7 foot wide.  In high competition pools the lane width is 8 and sometimes 9 foot wide, for higher end facilities. The large lanes are intended to give each lane equal conditions and minimize the effect of the currents created by other lanes.  A wider the lane leads to less wave movement from one lane into another.

Lane Line Design– Lanes line technology has changed progressed a lot over the years.  The first style of lane lines were really just floating ropes, as seen in this photo from the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Today, the lane lines are designed to suppress wave turbulence and now flank every lane. The competition improvement has led to the introduction of a 10 lane pool that adds capacity to practices but creates 8 equal competition lanes.fast pool2

Gutter Design: In an effort to maintain a consistent pool current throughout the race, competition pools have also lowered their gutters to absorb the waves at the edge of the pool, rather than bouncing them back towards center. A thoughtful gutter design is a very important aspect to a fast pool.

With water entries, flip turns and strokes all impacting the water’s surface, the number of currents in a pool are significant. All technological improvements that can be made to minimize these contribute to maximizing the speeds obtained in these pools and make them the best, fastest pools.