Outfitting Your Pool for Competition
When your aquatic facility hosts competitions, swimming lane dividers require careful attention.
A few simple pointers can be critical in deciding how to take care of your dividers and which types to use.
Q: Can leaving my lanes in the water shorten their lives?
A: Having to haul and store large lanes can become a pain, so it is certainly easier to leave them in the water. However, body oils and bacteria that rise to the surface can deteriorate the plastic, causing a serious reduction in life.
Q: How can I maintain my lanes to get the longest life possible out of them?
A: Cleaning lanes can be critical in stopping the deterioration process. Wash them down with clean water and sodium phosphate, which acts as a detergent. Store the lanes with a cover over them and keep UV rays away.
Of course, this requires pulling the lanes out of the pool every day, which may seem like a hassle, but can make the difference between getting three years or five years out of the lanes. However, whether the labor is worth the time and effort depends on your program, especially if your facility is at a school where the lanes have to constantly be changed over for lap swimming and open swimming.
Q: How should I choose what lanes to use in my pool?
A: The most important factor in choosing swimming lanes is how they will suit your program. Standard four-inch lanes are good for high schools, YMCAs, hotels or for hospital therapy pools.
Some opt for a six-inch variety that is useful in college pools or any other pool used for higher competition like the U.S. swimming trials. In this situation, look for lanes with wave-quelling abilities that are 25 percent better than that of a standard lane divider. Either way, it is important to find a lane divider that has stainless steel cables and clear vinyl coating to protect from excessive wear. Most lane dividers can be purchased in several colors. At least two different colors are recommended, with a different pattern installed at least five meters from each end of the lane.