Monday, April 01, 2013

Better Pools Considering New Chemical Choices

2013 started off with a bang at the annual Country Club Managers Association Convention held this year in Las Vegas, where visitors were treated to a variety of new innovations and improvements on old stand-bys that club managers can bring home to their wealthy clientele. Keeping their facilities on the cutting edge and one-upping their competition - be it for turf, facilities, tennis, or pool management - is big business when your customers are blue-bloods (the richest of the rich). One of the biggest surprises at this year's show was a demonstration presented by AA Sun Products, Inc. which is offering a sun screen product that allows one to exit any swimming pool totally dry after complete immersion.

Using a technology similar to that offered by RainUWAY, a popular automobile wax product which is rubbed on windshields to whisk away rain in beads as fast as it lands on one's car, this sun screen product is made for people (applied like sunscreen or as a spray) and conceptually does the same thing.

With PoolTowelX (the new product's name), water can not be absorbed by the skin, swimsuits or even hair when it is applied. When one exits any swimming pool, the water falls off the applied area nearly instantly leaving the area totally dry and as if the user had never been wet at all.

As an added benefit, besides offering this innovative towel-eliminating feature, PoolTowelX - when applied to eyes (physician approval recommended) also allows one to see clearly in the water without goggles and increases swim speed exponentially by reducing drag (because water can not cling to the body).

Out of concern for this latter feature that some swim competitors may use PoolTowelX to get an unfair advantage, AA Sun Products promises a pool water mix (added along with the chlorine cycle) which will give all competitors the same advantage of the sun screen product and eliminate the need for any user application at all. ;)

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Do You Use the Kickboard Enough?

Do you adequately work all your body appendages when you swim? OK, let me be more clear ... When you swim, are your legs propelling you as much as your arms? When you get out of the pool after a good workout you may be arm weary, but are you ever leg weary too?

Yes, it all depends on the stroke, but it never ceases to amaze me how many people barely use their legs to propel themselves through the water when in fact some of the strongest swimming muscles of a given swimmer may be in the legs.

While many swimmers are quick to stick a pull buoy between their legs, it is the rare lap swimmer I see actually using a kickboard to give him/herself an aggressive workout for their lower half.

Instead kickboards get the short shrift. In the rare case I see someone who does use a kickboard, it is generally only for a couple laps or to work on their form. Some even - perish the thought - stick their kickboard between their legs and use it as a pull-buoy. In the twelve years I've been swimming daily--outside of watching swim teams practice--I have rarely seen anyone use a kickboard to go more than a couple hundred meters, and NEVER have I seen anyone use one to the point of exhaustion.

There are reasons. Kickboarding can be a bit difficult. Even if one is in shape in the upper body, kickboarding at first can be painful. Making muscles work hard that are not accustomed to an aggressive routine, always is. But once you get past that, it's just like any other exercise.

You can ease into it. Start with a set of short sprints 1/4 to 1/2 length followed by a couple easy lengths, then repeat. After a couple sessions start making those short sprint lengths longer. Set a goal to fatigue your legs -- at least briefly -- in each swim session. A little effort goes a long way to building power and endurance.

So here's the bottom line. Most lap swimmers' typical swim workout is not sufficient to build all available swim muscles and the legs are generally the ones that get ignored. I suggest adding a dedicated period of time during the aggressive part of your workout (not just the warm-up or cool-down) to kickboarding. After a couple months of this, I think you'll amaze yourself with additional speed and endurance, and when it comes to that final kick to the finish, it will be you who may have the advantage.