Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A swimming pool, swimming bath, or wading pool is an artificially enclosed body of water intended for recreational or competitive swimming, or for other bathing activities that do not involve swimming, i.e. for soaking, wading, water exercise, floating around on inner tubes, or merely cooling off on hot days.
One can distinguish private and public ones; the private ones are usually outdoors; for the public ones we can distinguish those outdoors, those indoors, and complexes with both. In some parts of the world, a swimming pool for private use is considered a status symbol (an indoor private pool even more so). Swimming pools can be constructed either above ground (generally constructed from plastic and metal), or in the ground (usually concrete lined).
water clenliness and disinfection
Swimming pool water must be maintained with very low levels of bacteria to prevent the spread of diseases and pathogens between users. Strong oxidising agents are often used — especially simple chlorine compunds such as Sodium hypochlorite. Other disinfectants include Bromine compounds (very rare) and Ozone generated on site by passing an electrical discharge through oxygen or air. When chlorine products are used these can be in the form of hyochlorite solutions and by dissolving Chlorine gas in water. Mantaining a safe concentration of a disinfectant is critically important in assuring the safety and health of swimming pool users. When these chemicals are used it is very important to keep the pH of the pool within a certain range (7-8), because either acid or alkali can cause chlorine gas to be produced. This is especially important in installations using chlorine gas itself because the reaction with water produces hypochlorous acid and hydrochloric acid which would make the water dangerously acid if not neutralised.
Some recent studies have suggested that swimming pool chlorination may contribute to higher rates of childhood asthma, leading to the development of (currently expensive) chlorine-free pool filter systems, which sterilise the water exposing it to powerful ultra-violet light.
Most people would not wan't to swim in a pool that appeared dirty even if germs were under control. Therefore pools must be filtered to remove dirt. Also to prevent built-up of chemicals some water must be let off and renewed.
The correct management of a backyard swimming pool is a difficult and time-consuming task. The chemical balance of the water has to be carefully monitored to make sure that it does not become fouled with algae, or grow too much bacteria. Either of these will make the water smell and look unpleasant, and can be a serious health hazard. The water must also be kept clear of debris such as fallen leaves and sticks, as these encourage fouling, and they become very slippery and dangerous as they start to decompose. Most people keep their pool either covered over or drained entirely during the months of the year in which it is not in use, as this is the easiest way to keep it sanitary (draining however can be a serious safety hazard with deeper pools and re-filling can be fairly expensive an areas where water is more scarce). Public and competitive swimming pools are generally indoor pools — covered with a roof, and heated — to enable their use all year round.
It is always advisable to keep a close watch on small children around swimming pools (especially private pools that do not have any professional lifegaurds , as drowning is a major cause of child deaths. Adults are likely to be more aware of the risks but it is still a good idea to have more than one person around when using a private pool.
In public pools there is a much higher level of safety measures with trained lifegaurds on duty all the time the pool is open. Because of the risk of drowning, and the desire for greater safety, combined with technological advances that make such safety possible, more and more public pools are being equipped with computer-aided drowning detection, or other forms of electronic and sometimes automated safety and security systems. Among these are the Poseidon system, swimguard, and the Drowning Early Warning System (DEWS). Where safety and privacy are concerned, the trend seems to be toward safety.
Public pools are often found as part of a larger leisure centre or recreational complex. These centres often have more than one pool for example an indoor heated pool, an outdoor saltwater or unheated chlorinated pool, a shallower 'children's pool', and a paddling pool for toddlers and infants. There may also be a sauna area. In the swimming pool area and/or in the sauna area there may be one or more jacuzzis, see below.
If a swimming pool (sometimes combined with facilities for allied sports and activities, such as a diving tank) is in a separate building, the building is called a "natatorium".
Many public swimming pools are rectangles either 25 m or 50 m long, but a backyard pool can be any size and shape desired. There are also very elaborate pools, with artificial waterfalls, fountains, splash pads, wave machines, varying depths of water, bridges, and island bars; they may belong to a hotel or holiday resort.
Swimming pools designed for competitions are required to be a certain length and depth to guarantee that a 200 m race will always be 200 m long. Many public swimming pools are 50 m long and 25 m wide which is a requirement for Olympic and World Championship swimming. Professional pools require a minimum depth of 1 m and there are also regulations about other characteristics such as temperature, guttering and lighting as defined by FINA. Public pools are generally indoors — covered with a roof, and heated — to enable their use all year round. Competition pools have to be indoors to comply with the regulations regarding temperature, lighting and to protect the needed Automatic Officiating Equipment.
An 'Olympic Swimming Pool' is 50 m in length ("long-course"), 25 m wide, with 8 lanes of 2.5 m each. The water should be kept at between 25 and 28 °C and the lighting level at greater than 1500 lux. Recently "short-course" swimming events held in a 25 m pool have become popular (if not held at the Olympics). There also exist many pools 33⅓ m in length, so that 3 lengths = 100 m. This is sometimes jokingly referred to as "inter-course". In general, the shorter the pool, the faster the time for the same distance, since the swimmer gains speed from pushing off the wall after each turn at the end of the pool.
In the US pools are generally measured in feet. In the UK most pools are in metres, but older pools measured in yards still exist. In the US pools tend to be fractions of 100 yards (25 or 50), whereas UK non-metric pools are more likely to be based on 110 yards. However, the international standard is metres, and world records are only recognised when swum in 50 m pools.
In the swimming pool area and/or in the sauna area there may be one or more jacuzzis: small pools where people sit on an underwater bench along the edge, with water streams and air bubbles. Dress code is in accordance with the area it is in: either swimsuit or nude. The water temperature is usually very warm to hot, 30 to 40 °C (86 to 104 °F), so that one can only stay a limited amount of time in it, but sometimes only mildly warm, in which case one can stay long if one likes (unless perhaps to make room for people who are waiting to get in when it is crowded).
In public swimming pools dress code may be somewhat stricter than on public beaches, and in indoor pools stricter than outdoors. For example, in countries where women can be topless on the beach, this is often not allowed in a swimming pool, in particular indoors. See also Swimsuit. A reversal of this strictness is also common, e.g. undress code in pools is stricter than beaches. Wearing shoes, and a shirt, on a beach is acceptable, but often not in a pool. Indoor pools have stricter undress codes than outdoor pools, e.g. in outdoor pools men are often allowed to wear t-shirts for modesty or for protection from sunburn, but in an indoor pool, men are not ordinarily allowed to wear t-shirts. Swimming with clothes on (e.g. as practice for the prevention of drowning, as one might fall off a boat clothed) often results in objections from lifeguards at pools, especially at indoor pools. At beaches, many people swim with their clothes on. At beaches, people typically wear beachwear, such as full length beach shorts, whereas at pools, especially indoor pools, a more minimal form of bathing attire, such as lycra briefs for men, or lycra one piece tanksuits for women, is often worn. Entering the pool off a cement tower, such as 10m high, sometimes doubling up of bathing suits is done (e.g. men will often wear one brief inside another), so that the swimsuit doesn't rip on impact with the water. Splashing around on beaches, especially urban beaches , looser fitting bathing attire that is of a more modest nature, is often worn.
Some public swimming pools have regular hours for nude swimming, and some pools even require nakedness (i.e. bathingsuits are not allowed). Until recently, many YMCA pools required users to be naked, or to have a bathingsuit made of materials that will not contaminate the pool: the words often used were "nylon bathingsuit or no bathingsuit". More recently dress codes in many pools have been relaxed to allow for additional modestly. Many pool operators allow people to swim fully clothed if they can prove that they have a second set of clothes that are only for use in the pool, and if they are willing to go through the showers in this second set of clothes prior to entering the pool.
Swimming pools are also used for events such as synchronized swimming and water polo as well as for teaching diving and life-saving techniques . They have also been used for specialist tasks such as teaching water-ditching survival techniques for helicopter crews, and for astronaut training .
- Nude swimming hours in the Netherlands (in Dutch)
- Maintaining a pool with minimum chemical usage (in English)
- Step by step pool maintenace with minimal chemicals (in English)
- Build a virtual swimming pool online (in English)
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