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Swimmers

Pool Cleaning Under Pressure

If you want to know the ABCs of pressure cleaning a swimming pool, read on. If you don’t have one, your friends might, or your local gym. You can give everyone you know some good tips for efficient, low-cost cleaning. What a guy! (Don’t forget to offer to help.)

Point one: in the winter, pools can turn black from accumulated algae. The time is right for heavy cleaning come spring. Grime and scum can be removed with the right solution and a pressure washer. If you want a usable sparkling pool, and you have to do it yourself, take heed. Investing in a good unit is a one-time expense and sure saves on the weekly pool boy who flirts too much with the girl next door in any case.

Point two: many people like to pressure wash their pool at the end of the season after a complete draining. You can then cover it with a tarp for protection against falling leaves and tree debris. Redoing the wash makes it that much cleaner for the warm weather crowd.

Point three: pressure washers come with extension wands and brushes. Buy one designed for a swimming pool rather than a basic utilitarian model unless it comes well equipped. You rinse well with water to flush residue, refill it, and you are set. If you are happy with the results and have a tennis court, you can clean that up nicely too. Then the basketball court, etc…

Point four: these are very handy tools that can run from a couple of hundred dollars to a thousand. Best to look at some pressure washer reviews here. Assess your needs and get help to make the right selection so you won’t have to upgrade soon. They are adjustable for different applications. You can choose an electric or gas model depending upon your desired power source. If you want hot water, you can have that, too.

Point five: safety first. Use goggles while operating machinery. No one wants algae in their eyes, or grit for that matter. Keep children and pets, as curious as they might be, far away. Learn the tricks of the trade for a particular job and the type of surface involved. You don’t need to do it by trial and error! Remember that pressure washers are designed for concrete, plaster, and exposed aggregate. Vinyl and fiberglass pools are a definite no no. When in the pool, be careful of heaters, pumps, and even stereo equipment. Work in sections starting with the walls. Try a low-pressure spray pattern at first to assess its effectiveness. Algae needs a high-pressure rinse using a prepared solution. Resilient residue may need some hand scrubbing. You don’t want to damage your unit by running bleach through it. Buy a turbo nozzle with your pressure washer so you won’t need to go back for it to blast away pesky buildup. Some are rotary, some are like a hydrojet. It sounds like fun, and it is.

And there you have the basics of cleaning a pool top to bottom in just one day.

A guide to picking a bag for swimmers

aquatic-center-550Going to and from training and swimming competitions, one of the most valuable pieces of gear I own is my backpack. I’d be lost without it, it holds all my essentials: goggles, swim shorts, towels, wallet and more. Obviously there are certain things as a swimmer that is a must for my backpack, like it has to be waterproof and it must hold a lot. I’ve used many backpacks over the years; I’ve used other bags too but backpacks are best: you can wear them making them easy to take with you. Here are my choices for the best gym bags for swimmers.

The Performance Pro Backpack by Speedo is one of my favorites, and the one I use most often. It is of course, waterproof, but that’s only part of its appeal. It’s made of polyester dobby and PVC free textiles, so it will last you a long time. It is optimally designed so it sits perfectly on your shoulders: it feels light no matter what you’re carrying. What I love most is there is a separate wet pocket inside so your wet towels and shorts will not dampen your dry gear. Inside is roomy, you can pack for two if you wanted. There are also outside individual pockets for cell phone and iPod, for fast, easy access. Best of all it comes in an array of colors for just $45.

Coming in a close second is the Swim Stuff Pro Team Swim Backpack. This backpack is also made with polyester dobby fabric and has room for all your gear. The bottom is protected with special waterproof rubber so you can place it anywhere without worrying. On the front there is webbing for your towel. There are also multiple outside pockets and an inside wet pocket for additional protection. Inside is roomy too, with plenty of space. The only negative is that this backpack comes in less colors, but it costs the same as the Speedo, so it’s another great option.

Finally there is the mid-sized Prestige Bag by Head USA. This bag is slightly smaller, but just as durable and convenient. It is also waterproof an even has draining outlets. There are outside pockets to carry personal items and it’s made of strong polyester fiber. There are dividers inside to keep all your stuff separate and is quite a bargain at just under $40. This bag is great for swimmers who pack light and want something small and compact. The straps are adjustable so they can be perfectly fitted for your body.

While these are a few recommendations, it’s important to remember that choosing the best backpacks is a very personal thing – and it really comes down to your preferences to help you find the right one for your usage pattern and lifestyle.

It’s important to try on a backpack before purchasing one. You want to make sure it work with your body and doesn’t feel cumbersome. You also want to pick one that suits your lifestyle. If you go straight from competitions to dinner you want a backpack that will hold multiple items of clothing. All these backpacks provide you with versatility and durability. Whichever one you choose is sure to be a good choice to get you from your meet to the street.

Shower technology for swimmers

One aspect of swimming that doesn’t get a lot of attention but should is proper hygiene after a meet, particularly showering off. Swimmers need to shower following a meet to rid their bodies and hair of chlorine. Hot showers also help loosen their muscles and relax them after the stress and pressure of competing. There are some amazing showerheads on the market that massage, filter or even play music. Some of these are currently in my home and at the swim club that I compete at, so I’m sharing with you what I consider the best showerheads for your various needs.

After a competition one of my main needs is to unwind and decompress. For me there’s no better way to do that than by listening to some great music. Music helps me clear my head and forget about everything except singing along. Years ago you would have a portable radio on the counter sink and hope you didn’t electrocute yourself. Thank God with today’s technology that’s no longer a concern. My personal favorite is the H-202 Shower Radio with Bluetooth by Sangean. With this model you can listen to all your favorite stations, plus connect to any Bluetooth device, so your entire music library can be accessed from the shower. It’s not only water resistant; its water proof, so you can drop it in a bucket of water and it will still work.

Besides relaxing I want my shower to soothe all the aches and pains that come with training and competing. The Elements 5 Mode Handheld Shower by Waterpik is a jewel among showerheads. It comes with 5 different spray settings. Each features pulsating water technology to bring relief to tired, sore muscles. They also have multiple settings depending on how soft or hard you want the water to hit your muscles. The best part is they’re priced around $40. There is no better feeling than standing under the steam of a hot shower and feeling your muscles loosen and the tension leave your neck.

The last product you should consider investing in is a chlorine filter shower head, like the Culligan RainDisc. This showerhead has a filter built-in to remove chlorine, dirt and odors that are in your hair after swimming. It will help keep your hair soft and prevent your skin from becoming dried out. At around $30 when bought online from Amazon, this showerhead is a steal. The first time I used it I could not believe how much cleaner I felt. There was no lingering chlorine odor and my hair was shiny and silky. I felt refreshed from the relaxing rainfall spray pattern and free of the smell and feel that pool chemicals leave on your body.

Taking care of your body is paramount for a swimmer. Letting chlorine and dirt build up will have you feeling less than your best, which can impede your performances. Not giving your muscles or your mind a chance to relax can also hurt your performance during competition. That’s why I recommend these three shower enhancers. Individually or combined these devices will improve your shower experience, which will translate into a better experience when you’re out competing.