Problem Solver - August 2011
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Outfit Your Pool for Competition

When you host swimming competitions at your aquatic facility, you need to pay close attention to how your facility is set up. Swimming lane dividers require careful attention. Taking a few simple steps can ensure your lane dividers do the job right—and keep doing it for the long term.

Q: What should we consider when choosing lanes for our pool?

A: The most important thing to consider is how the lanes will work for your program. Standard 4-inch lanes are good for high schools, YMCAs, hotels and others. But for higher competition, such as colleges and U.S. Swimming trials, you'll want the 6-inch variety.

If you want your competition to be comparable to this higher level, also look for lanes with wave-quelling abilities that are 25 percent better than a standard lane divider.

Either way, you should also look for stainless steel cables and a clear vinyl coating, which will protect from excessive wear. Most lane dividers are available in multiple colors. You'll need at least two different colors, with a different pattern starting at least 5 meters from each end of the lane.

Q: Can we leave the lanes in the water?

A: Unfortunately, it can be difficult to haul and store large lanes, but if you leave them in the water, body oils and bacteria that rise to the surface can deteriorate the plastic and shorten their life.

Cleaning the lanes is important to stop this deterioration process. Wash them with clean water and sodium phosphate, then store them with a cover to keep UV rays away.

Pulling the lanes out of the pool can seem like a hassle, but it can make a big difference in the life of your lanes. You can find a reel with a cover that will simplify the job of getting the lanes out of—and back into—the water.


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