Best Pool Service Offering Residential and Commercial Pool & Spa Service For Orange County 714.330.4434 & San Diego County 858.805.1100
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Best Pool Service Offering Residential and Commercial Pool & Spa Service For Orange County 714.330.4434 & San Diego County 858.805.1100 Sharing some summer pool fun.
Backyard Summer Games: Fill a Cup Relay
Backyard water games are fun for summer birthday parties and those sunny afternoons when the kids are bored. You don't need to spend hours filling up water balloons to have a fun and wet activity, instead choose an easy game like this fill-a-cup relay.
What is the Fill-A-Cup Relay?
The fill-a-cup relay is a fun and cheap game for kids to play during the summer. Kids love it because they get wet and have a little competition with their friends.
From young kids to teenagers, this is an activity that all ages can enjoy.
Parents love this game because it is cheap and can keep a group of kids busy for hours. The game can last as long as the kids want to keep going. Everything you need for the relay activity is probably right there in your house.
During the relay, the kids will be split up into two or more teams. The goal is to be the team that fills and dumps their cups the fastest. The trick is that water can only be transported with a sponge!
What You Need:
Large bucket of water
Two or more groups of friends
Set Up the Game
Set a bucket full of water about 10-20 feet away from the starting line. Adjust the distance for the age group, moving it closer for younger kids and farther away for older kids.
Divide the kids into two or more teams and have them stand in a straight line.
Give each team a plastic cup and a sponge.
You can use a single bucket for all of the teams or give each team their own bucket.
Once everyone is ready to begin, it is time to play. On 'go' each team will:
The second player on each team places the cup on top of their head.
The first player runs to the water bucket with the sponge and soaks up as much water as they can.
They return to the starting line and squeeze all of the water into the cup, then return to the water bucket to fill the sponge again. This process repeats until the cup is full.
Once the cup is full, the second player dumps the water onto the first player's head!
The first player goes to the back of the line to wait their turn with the cup and the second player now has the sponge and continues the relay.
The relay continues until each of the team's players have a chance with both the cup and the sponge. The first team to complete the cycle wins!
By Denise Witmer
Best Pool Service Offering Residential and Commercial Pool & Spa Service For Orange County 714.330.4434 & San Diego County 858.805.1100 Wishing Everyone a Happy and Safe 4th of July
Best Pool Service Offering Residential and Commercial Pool & Spa Service For Orange County 714.330.4434 & San Diego County 858.810.1100 sharing wave pools and wishing you a Happy First Day of Summer.
How Wave Pools Work
Thunder Bay is 84 feet (26 m) across at the deep end, and it is more than 400 feet (122 m) long. Overall, the pool holds about 2 million gallons (7.6 million L) of water, and the wave itself is 90,000 gallons (341,000 L). To make a wave this big and get it to make its way across the entire pool, you need some pretty heavy equipment.
The wave generator uses a 100-horsepower pump, a 200-horsepower pump and a 300-horsepower pump. Each pump has a motor at the top, which spins a long drive shaft. The drive shaft extends down through a pipe, to a propeller positioned 13 feet (4 m) underwater. When the drive shaft spins, it rotates the propeller, which drives water upward through the pipe (in the same way a spinning fan drives air forward).
At the base level of the pump, the pipe curves, runs horizontal for 6 feet (1.8 m), then curves up and rises another 10 feet (3 m) before finally opening into the water reservoir. In all, the pumps move the water 29 feet (9 m)! At their standard speed, the pumps drive about 40,000 gallons (150,000 L) of water per minute.
The water reservoir is broken up into eight connected chambers, each with its own release valve. The release valve has three major elements:
•The valve seat - The opening that leads down to the pool
•The valve plate - A wide piece of metal that fits snugly on top of the valve seat
•Metal struts that pivot on a stationary steel beam attached to the reservoir walls on one end and to the valve plate on the other end
•The hydraulic-cylinder piston, which is attached to a metal beam running between the two struts
Since the metal struts pivot freely on the stationary steel beam, you can swing the valve plate back and forth. The plate is fairly heavy, so it naturally will swing over the valve seat. This plugs up the reservoir so water can't escape. (A rubber gasket around the valve seat keeps the valve from leaking too much.)
When pressurized oil is directed to the hydraulic cylinder, it moves the piston with a great deal of force. This pushes out on the metal struts. The valve plate extends outward, unplugging the water reservoir. The water drops directly underneath the reservoir, into a curved passageway leading to the pool. As it rushes into the pool, the water ramps up a sort of reef in the concrete floor. This focuses the flowing water so that it moves in a good-sized, surfable wave.
The water pumps do most of the work in building up a wave, but the hydraulic system is the crucial element that actually gets it going. In the next section, we'll look at the simple but ingenious mechanism that controls this system.
by Tom Harris
Best Pool Service Offering Residential and Commercial Pool & Spa Service For Orange County 714.330.4434 & San Diego County 858.810.1100 Sharing Summer Pool Maintenance 101
Summer Pool Maintenance 101
Posted on May 30 2017 - 11:58am by Housecall
Laying poolside is the quintessential way to spend a scorching summer day. It’s easy to imagine the fun that comes with owning a pool—floating in a tube on Caribbean blue waters, family poolside volleyball, romantic moonlit dips—without considering the responsibility that comes with it.
The truth is, owning a pool requires regular upkeep and maintenance: weekly vacuuming, chemical testing, and inspecting various filters, pumps, heaters, and more. But, by understanding the cost of owning a pool and how to properly care for it, you can learn to avoid the common and costly mistakes that take the fun out of pool ownership.
Here are six easy ways to keep your pool party-ready this summer:
1. Know Your Chemicals
An under-maintained pool doesn’t just look gross, it can also contain E. coli and other dangerous bacteria. On the flip side, over-chlorinating can cause swimming pool rash and eye irritation.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be a chemist to maintain proper chemical levels in your pool. Using chlorine and pH testing strips to clean your pool is straightforward with modern testing kits.
The colors on a testing kit chart represent your pH level, which tells you if you added too much or not enough chlorine. The ideal amount of chlorine and pH is:
• a free chlorine concentration of at least 1 ppm and
• pH 7.2–7.8
If your pool doesn’t match these standards, simply adjust the chemicals or water levels.
Test your pool’s chemical levels at least once a week to keep maintenance work low and the water ready for swimming.
2. Practice Quick, Daily Pool Cleaning
Pool cleaning is just like house cleaning—doing little chores everyday can prevent a cleaning disaster at the end of the week.
One of the easiest (but most important) pool maintenance chores is skimming the top of the pool every day for leaves, bugs, and dirt. This helps your water circulate correctly and keeps you from having to add chlorine too often, improving pool feel and aesthetics.
Make sure to clean out the strainer basket and scrub the sides of the pool with a brush or pumice stone about once a week to prevent algae buildup. These tiny chores go a long way in keeping your pool clear and bacteria free.
3. Learn to Use Your Pool Vacuum
How often you have to vacuum depends on how vigilant you are about daily skimming, since dirt and leaves left on the surface eventually sink to the bottom.
Pool vacuums come in a wide variety of styles and prices, from largely automated robotic cleaners to handheld systems with telescopic poles.
Vacuuming the pool can require a little bit of work to set up, but it is a key ingredient to a healthy pool. And, the process can be about as fast and simple as vacuuming a carpet indoors once you’re familiar with the equipment.
4. Shock Your Pool Twice A Season
Shocking your pool can sound scary, but all it means is adding a high volume of chemicals all at once in order to “shock” the system and kill bacteria. You only have to shock your pool about twice a season to counteract contamination.
For safety, make sure to wear protective eye goggles and rubber gloves when shocking the pool. Here are a few tips to help get you started:
• Use one pound of shock per 10,000 gallons of water.
• Dissolve one pound of shock solution in a five-gallon bucket of warm water before adding it to the pool.
• Once the shock is dissolved, slowly pour the solution around the pool.
• Shocking the pool works best at evenings or night. Not only can sunlight dissolve some chemicals and make them less effective, but the chlorine levels can balance out while you’re sleeping.
Just be sure to wait until chlorine levels are back to normal (anywhere from 15 minutes to 8 hours depending on the kind of shock you used) before going for a swim or you risk serious skin irritation.
5. Check Your Water Level
Everyday summer play can cause major fluctuations in your pool’s water level. The perfect water level is halfway up the skimmer line.
If your water level gets too low it could reduce safety and ruin your pool’s pump. Adding water is easy: just grab a hose and fill it up. Be careful not to overfill your pool, though. Renting a pump to lower the water level can be labor intensive and expensive.
6. Call in the Pros
With the above tips, you can take care of most summer pool maintenance by yourself. But, a pool is still a complex system—chemicals, heaters, filters, pipes—and sometimes even the savviest pool owners need an expert opinion.
Getting a yearly checkup by an expert to make sure all your equipment is working will save you money and keep your pool operating all summer long.
Best Pool Service Offering Residential and Commercial Pool & Spa Service For Orange County 714.330.4434 & San Diego County 858.810.1100 Sharing Staycations
Staycation vs. Vacation Costs: Weighing Your Options
According to a 2013 survey by American Express, 31% of travelers planned to spend more than $1,000 per person, per week on their summer adventures (up from 27% in 2012). That means a vacation could cost about $4,000 a week for a family of four!
If you’re one of the many Americans looking to save a little green and still have fun, consider being a tourist in your own town. Whether you’re located in the suburb of a big city or a rural town in the shadow of the mountains, there may be a lot you’ve never thought to explore. Plus, with the average staycation costing around $500 for a family, there are great savings available when you stay home during your time off.
Lower staycation costs help you save for future vacations
When faced with the thought of a staycation, many families may wonder if it’s worth it. Will I be tempted to clean the house or finally build that shed? Is there even enough to do around me? Can I really save that much? When it comes to saving on vacation costs, staying home is a clear winner; there are no airfare or hotel costs, and you don’t need to worry about paying to board pets or eating out for every meal. Because even if you choose to eat out a few nights, hire a cleaning service for the week or stay over at a bed-and-breakfast or hotel one night, you’ll still have saved more than if you had taken the whole family to a remote destination. When you factor in the price of gas for day trips, dining out, groceries, a sitter and a few activities, you may be able to keep your spending at around $500 – eight times less than if you had spent your vacation elsewhere.
But no matter how relaxing they are or how much money you can save, staycations are no match for immersing yourself in another locale’s culture, cuisine and history. And it doesn’t have to be one or the other! While 57% of Americans named saving money as their top goal for 2013, 53% of travelers were still inclined to spend. If vacation costs are a concern right now, consider taking one staycation a year, or even every other year, to help save up for a more indulgent vacation next time.
Tips for a staycation
Staying home doesn’t have to mean sacrificing fun. Any travel expert will tell you that the number one rule of a staycation is to treat it like a real vacation – no answering work emails, doing housework or staying in the entire week. By following those simple don’ts, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your time off without worrying about missed flights, lost reservations, packing or unpacking, and hungry or tired kids while traveling. Speak to a local travel agent to find out what they would tell tourists to see while visiting your area. Perhaps there’s a cool cave, trail or beach several miles away, or a museum you never visited that has demonstrations or low admission fees. You might be surprised what you’ve left unexplored in your own backyard.
Staycations give you the opportunity to try that new restaurant in town, spend a night without the kids while leaving them with a trusted sitter, relax and read a book at the beach or hike a trail you never knew was there. Use online social couponing sites to find great deals in your area, buy gourmet groceries to prepare something you wouldn’t normally splurge on, and take advantage of local activities like visiting parks, museums, beaches or zoos. Plus, the reduced travel time of a staycation gives you more time to relax and enjoy the vacation.
Create a plan and a budget for your staycation
Even with lower staycation costs vs. vacation costs, it’s still possible to overdo it when you’re at home. Plan your trip just as you would if you were going away – what will you do each day, how much will it cost and what will you need to participate? Whether you’re planning a staycation or vacation, it’s important to budget properly and keep track of your funds. Open an online checking account and make regular deposits each month before your time off to ensure you have what you need when you’re ready to stay home. Then, avoid spending with a credit card and only withdraw from the designated staycation account to stay on budget. While you may have turned off your work email, make sure you still use online or mobile banking to check balances or pay bills during your staycation.
MAY 10, 2014 BY TONYA
Happy May Day from Best Pool Service Offering Residential and Commercial Pool & Spa Service For Orange County 714.330.4434 & San Diego County 858.810.1100
May Day History Beltane and the May Pole
May Day is a holiday that slips many people by, yet for some it is full of meaning. The history of May Day and the May Pole tradition is thousands of years old, and is rooted in the Celtic cultures of the Northern Hemisphere. May Day was, and still is, known as Beltane; a festival for the celebration of the life, fertility and summer.
May 1 was once considered the start of summer, and the other season, winter, started on November 1. Many pre-Christian Celtic people split the seasons into two in this way, and Beltane marked a half way point in the year. It was celebrated with much optimism; the sun thawed out the people and the land, and flowers and animals sprang to life in the new-found warmth. The strength of the sun is said to finally overcome the darkness of the winter on May Day, and takes it’s place to bring life to the planet.
For Pagans of ancient and modern times, the winter is a time to honor death, and the summer a time to honor life. Beltane, being the half way point between death and life, dark and light, is a sacred day of “no time” where the veils between the physical and ethereal worlds are at their thinnest. The fairies are said to be out in all their mischief on the eve of Beltane, and so traditions often involved offerings, such as leaving flowers or food out for them.
Beltane is the cross-over, and represents a coming change in the human cycle, which reflects the turning of the seasons. Winter is a time that can feel dreary, and it can start to take it’s toil on the soul. Short days, grey skies, and cold temperatures begin to wear people down, and in ancient times this would be coupled by a gradual decline in food supplies. Winter, back then, would be a very difficult time indeed. The coming of summer, and the festival of Beltane, were times of great hope; crops and grasslands became full of life again, animals bred, and the warmth of the sun thawed out human soul.
As life becomes the pre-dominant force, ancient civilizations would celebrate Beltane with highly energetic fire displays, field frolicking, and of course dancing round the May pole. The word Beltane translates to bright fire, and the reason for the bonfires may be in celebration of the sun; the Bel fire was lit in order to invoke Bel, the Sun God. Myths surrounding Beltane very often describe a battle between two deities, or a battle between summer and winter, and on May 1 summer prevails.
Pagan celebrations old and new still celebrate Beltane with feasts, festivities, fires, and yet more frolicking. Across the world some of the ancient traditions of Beltane still exist, often in evolved or nullified forms. In Britain for example, Beltane traditions are still quite strong on May Day and include the crowning of the May queen, carnivals, Morris dancing, where many men dressed in bells perform tribal dance, and the dancing of the May pole. The ancient history is still visible across much of Europe.
The May pole is actually, historically speaking, a phallic symbol, and the dancing around it an ancient fertility rite. The May pole is perhaps the most famous tradition associated with modern May Day, and it had equal importance for Celtic Beltane festivals. A huge pole is decorated with flowers and wreaths, a potent symbol of the fertility of summer. Then, boys and girls hold on to ribbons connected to the pole, and dance opposite ways, inter-winding their ribbons as they duck and dive between each other. The dance seems to perfectly symbolize life, and the inter-winding of masculine and feminine energies. The pattern was also believed to indicate patterns of the harvest, and may have been a sort of tool for divination.
The history of the May Pole and May Day have their roots in Beltane. Today May Day has many different meanings, and has found it’s place in Christianity, International Workers’ Day movements, Labour Day, and as a much needed bank holiday weekend. For some, May Day will be a time for relaxing, but for others’ it will be a time for celebrating the forces of life overcoming death, light overcoming darkness, and summer overcoming winter.
By Matthew Warburton
10 Classic Swimming Pool Games
BY DAVE ROOS
This is the king of all classic pool games. Long before schoolchildren learn about the real Marco Polo, a 13th-century Italian explorer who lived in China and wrote extensively about his travels, they are experts in this aquatic version of Blind Man's Bluff.
To play Marco Polo, you need at least two people, but it's better with a small crowd. One person is designated to be "Marco." That person must close his eyes and try to tag the rest of the people in the pool. To locate the other people, he uses a primitive form of sonar, yelling out "Marco!" to which everyone else must respond, "Polo!" Using the direction of the voices as a guide, the blind Marco lunges after his Polos. The first person to be tagged is the new Marco.
The rules for Marco Polo are pretty simple, but enforcing them can be tricky. The Marco might try to sneak a peek, or the Polos might not yell "Polo." In a classic jerk move, the Polos might even leave the pool entirely. To combat this trickery, some players allow the Marco to yell, "Fish out of water!" when he suspects someone of leaving the pool [source: Retroland]. If he's right, the "fish" becomes the new Marco.
First, a disclaimer. As your mom probably told you 6,784 times as a kid, chicken fighting in the pool is a potentially dangerous activity. Necks have been sprained, pool water inhaled, and more than one bikini top has been, um, compromised. That said, it's still a classic.
A chicken fight in the pool is like double-decker wrestling. There are two teams consisting of two people each. Each team has a "bottom" and a "top." The "top" climbs onto the "bottom's" shoulders. The two "top" people are the only ones who actively fight. The object is to knock your opponent into the water, either by toppling just the "top" or both "top" and "bottom" together.
As with any great sporting tradition, there are variations on the rules. Most chicken fighters outlaw scratching, hair pulling, punching, biting or other nasty behavior. Some don't. Some chicken fighters believe the game is won when any part of the "top" touches the water. Others wait for full-body immersion. In some pools, the "bottoms" are allowed to grapple as well. All is fair in love, war and water wrestling.
Sharks and Minnows
In its most basic form, sharks and minnows is a game of water tag. The game starts with one shark and several minnows. The shark lurks in one end (or the middle) of the pool. The minnows stand at the other end. When the shark yells "Minnows in!" or a similar phrase, the minnows jump or dive into the pool and try to swim to the other side without getting tagged by the shark. Every minnow the shark tags joins the shark's team and helps to tag other minnows. The last minnow becomes the first shark in the next round.
There are rule variations about when a minnow can be tagged. In one version, a minnow cannot be tagged if she is fully under the water. In that case, the shark can either wait for the minnow to surface for a breath, or the shark can try to pull her to the surface to make the tag.
In another version of the game, stealth is critical. The game starts with the shark facing away from the pool. The shark can only turn around when she hears a minnow in the water. Minnows who enter the water silently and swim without splashing are rewarded with a head start toward the other side.
Safe zones are also popular. If a minnow is touching the agreed-upon safe zone (like the pool drain or diving board), the shark can't tag it.
For the gymnastically impaired, there are few things more satisfying that doing an underwater handstand. Incredibly, a skill that requires superb balance and strength on solid ground can be executed underwater with almost zero effort.
Since nothing is fun unless someone loses, underwater handstands have been made into a classic pool game. The object of the game is to hold an underwater handstand longer than your opponents. This requires balance, poise, and if you are halfway decent, some serious breath-holding skills.
You can hold a handstand contest with two or more people, although it's important to have an impartial judge. The judge counts to three, yells "Go!" and the contestants submerge themselves to assume their handstand position. The handstand is good until both feet are underwater. The last person to tip over wins.
Variations include one-handed handstands, one-finger handstands, and the rare no-handed handstand, also known as treading water upside-down. If it sounds hard, that's because it is.
Holding Your Breath Contest
In 2012, Danish free diver Stig Severinsen set a new world record for holding his breath underwater [source: Grenoble]. How long did he stay under? We'll give you a hint: You are way, way low. The man held his breath for 22 minutes. Twenty-two minutes!
Underwater breath-holding contests are a classic, if controversial pool game. The rules are simple. Two or more people count to three, take a deep breath, submerge themselves, and see who can stay under the longest. When kids play the game, it's usually harmless, since no one tries to hold their breath for a dangerous amount of time. Tragically, that can change as kids get older.
The biggest danger of breath-holding contests involves forced hyperventilation. By taking a series of large forced breaths (which people tend to do before submerging), you can expel CO2 from your system. The lack of oxygen and buildup of CO2 in your blood is what triggers the impulse to breathe. By artificially lowering your CO2 level before entering the water, you buy yourself extra time before having to breathe.
Unfortunately, that technique can also backfire. As oxygen levels decrease, you run a greater and greater risk of losing consciousness. If you lose consciousness underwater without close supervision, you can drown [source: Canadian Red Cross].
So if you are going to play a breath-holding game, please keep it safe and fun. And if you feel dizzy after a couple of rounds, switch to a different game.
Diving for Treasure
This is a great game for kids with goggles. The concept is simple: Choose a small, non-floating object and toss it into the pool. Have the kids race to locate the object and pick it up first.
There are lots of fun variations on the diving for treasure game. You can turn it into a longer challenge by tossing a dozen pennies into different parts of a large swimming pool and challenging kids to find them all. For stronger swimmers, you can play the game in the deep end.
When we were kids, we used pennies and rocks as the treasure, but now they sell special dive rings and dive sticks just for the game!
Cannon Ball Contest
American diver David Boudia took home the gold medal in the 2012 London Olympic Games by executing a near flawless two-and-a-half somersault with two-and-a-half twists in the pike position from the towering 10-meter (33-foot) platform [source: Coffey]. But can the dude cannon ball?
To perform a perfect cannon ball, one must leap from a diving board or the side of the pool and clutch both knees to the chest forming the shape of -- you guessed it -- a cannon ball. Unlike competitive diving, the goal of the cannon ball isn't to slip noiselessly into the water, but rather to create the biggest splash possible.
In a cannon ball contest, two or more competitors try to impress one or more judges with their cannon balling skills. Judges can rate competitors by biggest splash, best cannon ball style, or whatever random criteria they wish. Until cannon ball becomes an Olympic sport, there are no official rules.
Belly Flop Contest
A belly flop contest is a classic companion to the cannon ball contest. To execute a perfect belly flop, the contestant needs to leap from a diving board (very brave) or the side of the pool, fully extend both arms and legs, and attempt to produce the loudest, most painful "smack" when entering the water.
As with the cannon ball contest, there should be a judge or judges to rank contestants on criteria like the loudest smack, the reddest belly and the most stylish flop.
This is another classic pool game that doesn't require any special props or toys. The object of the dolphin game is simple: Try to swim the farthest distance underwater. Two or more people begin on one side of the pool. On the count of three, they submerge, kick off from the wall and try to swim all the way to the other side without taking a breath. Strong swimmers can do a flip turn on the opposite wall and attempt to swim back. The person who swims the farthest without taking a breath is the winner.
Again, please use caution when playing any game that requires you to hold your breath. There have been cases where children who have repeatedly held their breath underwater have passed out and even drowned. Pool safety advocates call it shallow water blackout [source: Margetts]. Adult supervision is always recommended when young people are playing in a pool.
This is an incredible pool game if you have a large crowd of people in a big pool. It's perfect for summer camps or other large aquatic gatherings. In nature, a whirlpool is formed by ocean currentsmoving in a rotating direction, usually caused by rising and falling tides [source: BBC]. Whirlpools are extremely rare in nature, but with enough people, you can create a powerful whirlpool of your own.
Choose a large shallow area of the pool and get as many people in the water as possible. If there is a mix of adults and children, make sure that all kids are strong swimmers and tall enough that the water level is at chest height when standing.
Now have everyone start walking in a large circle in the same direction. Start slow and get progressively faster. It will be hard at first, because the water will resist your motion. But after 30 seconds, the coordinated movement of so many people will create a strong circular current in the water. Once you've created enough momentum, tell everyone to pick up their feet and float. You've created a whirlpool! If the whirlpool starts to lose momentum, have everyone start to run again.
Best Pool Service Offering Residential and Commercial Pool & Spa Service For Orange County 714.330.4434 & San Diego County 858.810.1100 sharing the 10 most expensive swimming pools in the world.
List of top ten luxurious pools of the world at a glance
Rank Pools Location Cost
1. City of stars, sharm el sheikh Egypt $5.5 Billion
2. San Alfonsd Del Mar Algarrobo, Chile $2 Billion
3. Seagaia Ocean Dome Miyazaki, Japan $2 Billion
4. Lev Leviev London, United Kingdom $10 Million
5. Hearst Castle San Simeon, California, USA $10 Million
6. Nemo 33, Brussels, Germany $3 Million
7. Kichukov, family pool Arizona, USA $1 Million
8. Sarogin Resort, Phuket, Thailand $1 Million
9. Gellert Thermal bath Budapest, Hungary $3.6 Million
10. Umaid Bhavan Palace Jaipur, India $2,25,000
Best Pool Service Offering Residential and Commercial Pool & Spa Service For Orange County 714.330.4434 & San Diego County 858.810.1100 sharing helpful hints to prevent your swimming pool from overflowing when it rains.
The Rain Is Causing My Swimming Pool to Overflow
By Evan Gillespie
Home Improvement Professional
A large amount of rain or runoff water entering your pool may have an effect on the cleanliness of the pool, the pool's water chemistry and the landscape around the pool. Rain and runoff, as well as the wind that sometimes accompanies heavy rain, often carry with them dirt and debris that can settle into the pool and contaminate the water, and you'll have to clean up the mess after the rain stops.
Rain may also have an effect on pool water chemistry. Rain tends to be acidic, and large amounts of rain can lower the pH of pool water. The concentration of free chlorine in the water and the water's total alkalinity level may also drop after heavy rains as a result of dilution of the pool water. Contaminants brought into the water by the rain may also lower the free chlorine level as the chlorine reacts with the foreign matter.
Pool overflows may also cause damage to decks and structures around the pool if the area has not been landscaped so that runoff water drains away quickly.
Draining Excess Water
If heavy rains have raised the water level of your pool to the point of overflowing, you may need to drain some the excess water. If your filter has a backwash or waste setting, you can run the pump with the filter set at these settings to remove water from the pool, directing the draining water to a safe area via a hose connected to the pump. If your filter does not have these settings, you may be able to use a submersible pump and hose to remove water. In either case, remove enough water so that the water level is 1 to 2 inches below the coping at the edge of the pool.
Cleanup and Water Chemistry
After heavy rains, you'll likely have to clean debris out of the pool. Use a skimmer or rake to remove any leaves, branches or other large debris, and check your pump strainer and skimmer basket to be sure that they're free from debris. Brush the sides and floor of the pool and then vacuum up any remaining dirt and debris.
After the water is clean and at the proper level, use a test kit to check pH, chlorine and total alkalinity levels, and adjust the levels if necessary using the proper chemicals. In most cases, it isn't necessary to shock, or super chlorinate, the pool after a rain, but if heavy rains or storms have introduced a lot of debris into the pool, shocking can help to restore the water's chemical balance, which can be thrown off by large amounts of organic material.
Best Pool Service Offering Residential and Commercial Pool & Spa Service For Orange County 714.330.4434 & San Diego County 858.810.1100 Sharing Pros and Cons of Salt Water Pools.
Pros and Cons of Salt Water Pools
1. Low Chlorine Intensity.
Salt water pools have a lesser chlorine content compared to regular water pools. This is primarily attributed to the presence of salt in the water, using a chlorine generator that converts the salt to chlorine.
2. Gentle Water
Since salt water pools have low chlorine content, it is less harmful to the skin. These are good for swimmers who have sensitive skin or water allergies.
3. Low Salt Content
A lower amount of salt content can be found in these pools compared to the salt content of the ocean. This is equivalent to the amount of salt found in human tears. Because of this, swimmers can safely open their eyes while swimming in the pool.
4. Less Maintenance
Owning a salt water pool means less maintenance without the worry of algae growth. The salt water system possesses functions that automatically monitors and cleans the water.
The Cons of Salt Water Pools
1. Costlier to Install
Salt water pools require more installation costs throughout the process. However, when installation is complete, you are not required to spend any more money.
2. Salt Content Can Damage Parts and Accessories
The presence of salt content in the water can affect the underlining system of the pool and overall framework.
3. Damage Plant Growth
The waste water of salt water pools can easily damage the growth of plants in the surrounding area.
4. More Electricity
While a salt water pool requires less maintenance costs, the downside is the electrical costs associated with increased energy consumption. With a chlorine generator, higher amounts of electricity is used.
Should You Own a Salt Water Pool?
When it comes to making the right choice for owning your own pool, a salt water system is a healthier option for many. With initially higher costs involved in its installation, this is considered a lower maintenance option for many.
Best Pool Service Offering Residential and Commercial Pool & Spa Service For Orange County 714.330.4434 & San Diego County 858.810.1100 sharing tropical backyard ideas.
Creating a Tropical Backyard Oasis.
- Plant Lush Layers
- Use Water Features
- Create Stone Accents
- Find Tropical Plants that will thrive in your area.
- Use plants that will grow to different heights for a natural look
- Incorporate color
Happy New Year from Best Pool Service Offering Residential and Commercial Pool & Spa Service For Orange County 714.330.4434 & San Diego County 858.810.1100
Happy New Year from our family to yours!
Best Pool Service Offering Residential and Commercial Pool & Spa Service For Orange County 714.330.4434 & San Diego County 858.810.1100
Wishing you Happy Holidays from our family to yours.
Best Pool Service Offering Residential and Commercial Pool & Spa Service For Orange County 714.330.4434 & San Diego County 858.810.1100 Sharing Energy Saving Tips
Energy Saving Tips
According to the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, during the summer season a typical backyard California pool can use enough energy to power an entire home for three months.
It's a good reason to maintain and operate your pool - or your spa - at peak efficiency.
Because pools or spas can use so much water and energy, the steps you take to conserve will benefit the environment and save you money on your utility bill - even while you continue to enjoy that backyard swim.
These tips can help you save energy, water and the money you spend on utility bills. Many of these are from the California Swimming Pool Industry Energy Conservation Task Force, a consortium of pool builders, pool technicians and retailers.
Ways to Save Energy in Your Pool
The pump and pool filter pump can be one of the largest users of electrical energy in a home. If you reduce the amount of time you run the pump, you'll save energy and money.
Of course, the amount of time you'll have to run your pool filter will vary according to the size of the pool, how much it's used, and factors such as leaves or dirt that can blow into the water. A rule of thumb, however, says that all the water in the pool should be filtered once every 24 hours.
Consider the pool filter operating recommendations established by the California Swimming Pool Industry Energy Conservation Task Force:
"Reduce filter operating times to no less than 4 to 5 hours per day during the summer and 2 to 3 hours per day during the winter period. This will reduce annual electrical consumption by 40 to 50 percent. Normal and heavier swimming use may require as much as eight or more hours filtration per day. Should water clarity or chemical imbalance indicate inadequate filtration, immediately operate the filter until acceptable water clarity has again been established.
If additional filtration is still indicated, increase filter operating time in one-half hour increments until the water remains clear and properly balanced chemically. When the pool is being heavily used, it is recommended that the pool be operated manually and that the filtration system be run under such conditions. Under no circumstances should the water quality of any swimming pool be so poor that the main drain cover is not clearly visible from the deck."
Consider a Time Clock
An automatic time clock for your filter and cleaning system is one of the smartest investments you can make. With it, you can avoid the electric power "rush" hour by not running your pool or spa filter on hot summer afternoons when demand for electricity is at its highest. Generally, peak demand hours are from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., in the months from June through September, when most people are running air conditioning and other appliances.
By operating your pool pump during off-peak hours, you help reduce the demand on the State's electrical system, postponing the need to construct new power plants and helping to keep electricity rates low for everyone. You'll also help to prevent the sort of peak hour electrical emergencies that plagued California in the summer of 2000, when record-setting electrical use on consecutive, hot summer afternoons threatened the State's power grid with occasional rolling blackouts. More directly, if you're buying electricity at a time-of-use rate, avoiding electricity use during peak hours can lower your electric bill.
Once you determine the number of hours required for one complete filtering cycle of your pool water, set your filter prompt time clock for that much time, during off-peak hours.
Do Regular Preventive Maintenance
You'll save money and energy if you keep your pool pump and filter operating as they are supposed to do. Follow a regular program of preventive maintenance and backwash or clean the filter as recommended by the manufacturer to maintain maximum efficiency. Be aware that some filters automatically backwash more frequently than they need to, and some designs don't even need to be backwashed at all. Check the manual for the right regimen for your system.
Remove any foreign materials from the strainer baskets in the pump and skimmer regularly, to make sure the flow of water isn't hampered.
Use Automatic Pool Cleaners
If your pool is equipped with an automatic pool sweep, operate it for three to four hours a day during the summer and two to three hours a day in the winter. Start the pool sweep 15 minutes or more after the filter pump is running and stop it 15 or more minutes before the filter pump stops. On unusually dusty days, increase cleaning time by half-hour increments until the pool is clean. Use a wall brush and leaf skimmer frequently to help the cleaner along.
Cover It Up
A good pool cover will save energy and water. It can keep the water in your pool an average of 10 degrees warmer, which can cut summertime pool heating costs by up to 90 percent! A cover reduces water and chemical evaporation by up to 70 percent, saving nearly a thousand gallons of water per month. A cover also helps keep your pool clean, which means you'll have to run your filter pump less often, saving even more energy.
Heat Your Pool Efficiently
In addition to a pool cover, there are other ways to help keep the cost of heating your pool to a minimum while you still enjoy a comfortable water temperature.
First, make use of solar energy by locating your pool in the sunniest part of your yard. If possible, screen it from the cooling, prevailing wind with existing structures such as the house or garage, or add a solidly built fence as a windbreak.
Remember that over-hanging tree limbs create cooling shade. Trees also can shed leaves and twigs into the pool, while grass planted too close to the pool can send cuttings into the water. Such debris can clog or damage the filter, will make the filtering system much less efficient, and will require the use of additional pool chemicals.
Heat It With the Sun
You may want to consider solar heating for your pool. A solar unit, used in conjunction with a back-up heating system, can save on heating costs.
It typically costs between $2,000 and $4,000 to install a solar heater for a backyard pool. From the savings over the cost of an average fossil fuel heater, a solar pool heater should pay for itself in one-and-a-half to seven years, depending on your climate and the geographic location of the pool. Your actual cost will also depend on such factors as the ease of installation, type of financing you choose, the length of pool season, and local building code requirements.
It's easy to understand how a solar heating system works if you've ever tried to drink out of a garden hose that's been lying in the sun. When you first turn on the faucet, hot water comes out. The sun's energy was absorbed by the hose and transmitted as heat to the water inside it. The hose acts as a solar collector.
Heating a pool to a comfortable swimming temperature uses relatively large amounts of energy. In the simplest, most common design, the pool's filtration system pumps pool water through solar collectors - basically, a network of black plastic hoses. The pool itself serves as the system's storage tank.
Solar collectors for swimming pools can also be flexible rubber mats or even tube-on-sheet panels made of copper or aluminum. They are generally not as involved as solar water heaters made for domestic use, which must heat water to much higher temperatures.
Ideally, swimming pool solar panels should be oriented toward the south. Most are mounted on the roof, though they can also be installed on patio covers, trellises or even on the ground.
The system must be sized properly - if there are too few solar panels, the pool's water won't get warm enough. To provide adequate heating, the total area of the solar panels should be somewhere between 50 percent to 80 percent of the pool's surface area. The right size for a particular swimming pool depends on such factors as the pool's capacity, the orientation of the panels to the sun, and the climate in which you live.
The most efficient solar systems use automatic controls - working like a thermostat - to set the temperature of the water in the pool. They direct water through the solar panels when the sun is out and the water is cool. When the water is warm enough, the controls shut off the flow of water through panels, preventing overheating in the hottest part of the summer.
Saving Water Saves Energy
Pumping and treating water, and then cleaning it up in waste water plants after it's used, accounts for approximately 50 percent of a city's energy bill. That's why conserving water in California also saves energy.
Swimming pools are not necessarily water wasters. It may surprise you to learn that, under some conditions, swimming pools and irrigated lawns use approximately the same amount of water on a square-foot basis. In other words, if a homeowner were to remove a section of grass and install a swimming pool, the water use for each square foot of grass replaced by the pool's surface would be approximately the same.
This estimate, which comes from the California Urban Water Conservation Council, relies on several assumptions - it figures evaporation from a pool in a warm summer climate like California's Central Valley. This loss of water in the pool is compared against the evapotranspiration rate of grass, coupled with a lack of efficiency in the typical lawn watering system, which is only 30 to 50 percent efficient.
Swimming pools come out even better in this comparison of water-use, however, if you consider that decks or concrete walks usually ring a pool, displacing additional grass area. Depending on the landscape's design, a backyard with an irrigated lawn can use more than one to one-and-a-half times as much water as the entire pool area - particularly if the homeowner is using an automatic timed sprinkler system.
We mentioned that using a pool cover will help you to conserve nearly a thousand gallons of water a month. Here are other ways to use less water in your pool.
And, finally, some safety suggestions
Saving Energy in Your SpaPortable spas are more energy efficient than in-the-ground spas, because they are better insulated and usually have covers.
If you have a typical portable spa, your heater will heat water 10 degrees in about 8 hours. If you use your spa once a week, lowering the temperature three degrees when not in use will save you approximately five percent to 10 percent of you spa heating costs; if you use the spa less often, your saving could be even greater.
Don't run the jets unless you are using your spa. The mixture of water and air is great for relaxing the muscles, but it cools the water quickly.
Spa covers are important. Be sure to leave the cover on until you are ready to use your spa and replace when you're finished. Remember that heat that escapes is the heat you must pay to replace.
visit Ca. Energy Commission and Ca.gov for more great information.
Best Pool Service Offering Residential and Commercial Pool & Spa Service For Orange County 714.330.4434 & San Diego County 858.810.1100 - Winter Pool Party Ideas
Invite kids to shed their coats, put on their swimsuits and dive right into some summer-style fun at a wintertime pool party.With weather forecasts that are peppered with phrases like “wind chill” and “below zero,” there's no better time to warm up in an indoor, heated pool. So go ahead and cure their cabin fever with a party that doesn’t care what the calendar, the thermometer or the weatherman says.
Of course in Southern California you can have many more outdoor pool parties during the wintertime if you have an outdoor heated pool and spa.
Of course, the first essential for any pool party is the pool itself. Unless you’re fortunate enough to have an indoor pool in your home, you’ll need to find the next best option. A few ideas for places where you may be able to rent an indoor pool for your party include hotels, fitness centers and community centers.
If your schedule is flexible, you may be able to arrange for a private rental or a reduced rate during hours when the venue usually experiences a lull in usage of the pool.
Certain pool rules may limit or prohibit things such as food, decorations and activities, so keep these in mind when choosing a location that best suits your party plans.
You may use any style of invitation to invite guests to your party, but why not play on the theme of summer fun in wintertime?
Cute Winter Pool Party Invitation Ideas:
•A snowman shape cut out of tropical colored cardstock, decorated with a bathing suit and sunglasses.
•Store bought pool party invitations, rubber stamped with snowflakes or decorated with snowflake stickers.
•Postcard photos of your children dressed in their swimsuits in front of a snowy backdrop.
Along with the time and location information, add instructions for guests to bring their bathing suits, water shoes, goggles and towels (if none are supplied by the facility). You may also want to ask them to bring a hair dryer and any styling tools needed so they don't have to go back out into the cold with wet hair.
If the indoor pool is adjacent to windows, any snow outside creates a backdrop that is not only beautiful, but also reminds your guests of how wonderful it is to be warm and wet inside the pool. A combination of snow-themed and tropical decorations indoors can help you to emphasize this summer-in-winter concept.
Whimsical Winter Pool Party Decorating Ideas
•Snowflake ornaments hanging from inflatable palm trees.
•Lounge chairs draped with snowflake-patterned beach towels.
•Inflatable winter animals, such as penguins or polar bears, floating in rafts.
Continue the fun with a selection of pool party games that play on the theme of summer fun in wintertime.
Winter Pool Party Game Ideas
•Play volleyball, but use white beach balls and call it “snowball volley.”
•Turn “Marco Polo” into “Marco North Pole.”
•Place rubber penguins in toy boats and have kids push them from one end of the pool to another, relay-race style.
•Use white water-balloons to have a snowball fight.
•Some of these pool party games can also be played in addition to the winter-themed options.
When it’s time to head home, send them with a party favor to remind them of their break from winter (and maybe just hold them over until the real days of summer).
Ideas for Winter Pool Party Favors:
•Beach towels that are rolled and tied with a snowflake patterned ribbon.
•Plush polar bears that are wearing sunglasses.
•A beach pail filled with winter accessories such as earmuffs and mittens.
•A summer beverage tumbler that is paired with a package of hot cocoa.
By Christine Gauvreau
Kids' Parties & Celebrations Expert
Our comprehensive pool and spa care programs are affordable and effortless for you. We customize according to your needs and lifestyle, based on these service options.
Weekly and bi-weekly services are available. Physical cleaning and sanitation that includes leaf and debris removal as well as vacuuming and brushing.
Process of chemical testing, balancing and adjusting to ensure healthy, clean, and clear water quality.
Equipment and pool surface inspection, installation, and repair.
* Heaters, pumps, filters.
* Inspection, repair, and replacement of pool systems and components.
* Acid washing.
Pool system analysis for the addition of requested accessories as well as upgrades to improve efficiency.
Sanitation and maintenance of your spa's quality and system components.
PLANTS THAT ATTRACT HUMMINGBIRDS
HOW TO GET HUMMINGBIRDS IN YOUR GARDEN
For centuries, gardeners have been fascinated with the beauty and aerobatics of hummingbirds. The key to attracting hummingbirds to your yard is to plant lots of flowers and provide the habitat that will give them shade, shelter, food, and security.
Herbs, flowering shrubs, dwarf trees, and vines all can be used to create an ideal tiered habitat from ground level to 10 feet or more.
Provide lots of space between plants to give hummingbirds enough room to hover and navigate from flower to flower.
Hummingbirds love water, especially if it is moving. A gentle, continuous spray from a nozzle or a sprinkler hose is perfect for a bath on the fly.
Hummingbirds do not have a keen sense of smell and rely on bright colors to find their food.
They are particularly fond of red and are often observed investigating feeders with red parts, red plant labels, red thermometers, and even red clothes on a gardener. Note: Do not use red dye in a hummingbird feeder; there is concern that it may harm the birds. Instead, use plain, clear sugar water (1 part white sugar mixed with 4 parts water). The birds love it! If your feeder does not have red on it, attach a red label or other item to attract them.
Brightly colored flowers that are tubular hold the most nectar, and are particularly attractive to hummingbirds. These include perennials such as bee balms, columbines, daylilies, and lupines; biennials such as foxgloves and hollyhocks; and many annuals, including cleomes, impatiens, and petunias.
Find more tips for introducing hummingbirds to your garden here.
An often–asked question is, “Why do hummingbirds hum?” We really aren’t sure, but suspect that it might be because they don’t know the words.
PLANTS THAT ATTRACT HUMMINGBIRDS
Here are more plants that attract hummingbirds. Choose varieties in red and orange shades.
Many of the plants that attract hummingbirds also attract butterflies.
Clove pink Dianthus
Desert candle Yucca
Scarlet sage Salvia
Draining a Swimming Pool May be a Bad Idea. Emptying Your Swim Pool Can Lead To Problems
While it is possible to affect most repairs to your swimming pool underwater, there are circumstances that necessitate draining. You should not attempt this unless it is absolutely necessary and you are thoroughly familiar with the steps necessary to do this safely. Draining your pool can cause serious damage to it's structure. Why is it dangerous to drain a pool? Let's explain this by the type of pool and the damage that can occur.
Norton's Pool & Spa Service bringing you Swimming Pool Myths and Facts - Call for 1 Month Free Service 714.330.4434
Swimming Pools: Myths & Facts
What You Think You Know and What You Should Know About Healthy Pools
-MYTH / *FACT
- I can’t get sick from swimming in a pool.
*Swimming is a fun and healthy activity. However, swallowing, breathing, or having contact with contaminated water from swimming pools can spread illnesses. In fact, the number of outbreaks associated with swimming has increased over the past decade.
- Clear pool water means clean pool water.
*Microorganisms can be present even in pools that appear clean. What you smell, feel, and hear can help you sense whether you’re swimming in a healthy pool.
- All germs that can cause illness are immediately killed by standard pool cleaning chemicals, such as chlorine.
*Chlorine kills germs that can cause illness in pool water; but it takes time. While chlorine eliminates most within minutes, some germs such as Cryptosporidium can survive in a properly treated pool for days.
-When I smell the strong odor of pool chemicals, it means the swimming pool water is very clean.
*The heavy chemical odor is not from chlorine. It means that unhealthy chloramines have formed in the water, created from the mix of chlorine and contaminants. Chloramines are not as effective in disinfecting swimming pool water. A well-maintained pool has little odor.
-When I get red eyes while swimming, it means there is too much chlorine in the water.
*Red eyes and itchy skin are usually caused by improper pH or high chloramine levels. Surprisingly, the pool may actually need additional chlorine treatment to get rid of chloramines and sanitize the water.
-I only need to shower before going into the pool if I haven’t bathed that day.
*All swimmers should shower before entering the pool. Perspiration, body oil, urine, and other waste are with us at all times. Without showering, it all comes with us when we go swimming.
-As long as a child is wearing a diaper in the pool, there’s no chance for a contamination of the water.
*“Accidents” from diapered children pose a risk of contamination. To minimize this risk, parents must wash children thoroughly, front and back, with soap and water, and make sure a clean, form-fitting “swim diaper” is worn by the child at all times. Just remember that swim diapers are not leak proof
-Keeping a swimming pool clean and healthy is the lifeguard’s and pool manager’s responsibility.
*Employees help keep pools clean, but they cannot be your only defense. Each one of us has a responsibility to follow good public health practices, stay alert for unhealthy conditions, and report problems when they occur.
Pond Niche- This pond helps create an intimate backyard space.
This bamboo-and-stone water feature is tucked away in the corner of a small backyard, creating an intimate gathering place off to the side.
Orb Fountains- These orbs-turned-bubbling-fountains are just one of the elements in a cottage garden filled with tricks to extend the space. For added fun, consider transforming a bowling ball or two into your very own miniature orb fountain.
Bubbling Containers- An easy way to create an inexpensive fountain is to convert a garden pot — any size — into a bubbling water feature. Place it on an apartment terrace on in a nook on your patio.
Asian-Influenced Copper Basin- A simple fountain makes a bold statement. Water trickles through an Asian-influenced bamboo spout into the copper basin below.
Norton's Pool & Spa Service wishing everyone a fun and safe
History of swimming
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Competitive swimming in Britain started around 1830, mostly using breaststroke. Swimming was part of the first modern Olympic games in 1896 in Athens. In 1908, the world swimming association, Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA), was formed.
10,000-year-old rock paintings of people swimming were found in the Cave of Swimmers near Wadi Sura in southwestern Egypt. These pictures seem to show breaststroke or doggy paddle, although it is also possible that the movements have a ritual meaning unrelated to swimming. An Egyptian clay seal dated between 9000 BC and 4000 BC shows four people who are believed to be swimming a variant of the front crawl.
More references to swimming are found in the Babylonian bas- reliefs and Assyrian wall drawings, depicting a variant of the breaststroke. The most famous drawings were found in the Kebir desert and are estimated to be from around 4000 BC. The Nagoda bas-relief also shows swimmers inside of men dating back from 3000 BC. The Indian palace Mohenjo Daro from 2800 BC contains a swimming pool sized 30 m by 60 m. The Minoan palace of Knossos in Crete also featured baths. An Egyptian tomb from 2000 BC shows a variant of front crawl. Depictions of swimmers have also been found from the Hittites, Minoans and other Middle Eastern civilizations, in the Tepantitla compound at Teotihuacan, and in mosaics in Pompeii.
Written references date back to ancient times, with the earliest as early as 2000 BC. Such references occur in works like Gilgamesh, the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Bible (Ezekiel 47:5, Acts 27:42, Isaiah 25:11), Beowulf, and other sagas, although the style is never described. There are also many mentions of swimmers in the Vatican, Borgian and Bourbon codices. A series of reliefs from 850 BC in the Nimrud Gallery of the British Museum shows swimmers, mostly in military context, often using swimming aids. The Germanic folklore describes swimming, which was used successfully in wars against the Romans.
Early modern era
Swimming was initially one of the seven agilities of knights during the Middle Ages, including swimming with armor. However, as swimming was done in a state of undress, it became less popular as society became more conservative in the early Modern period. Leonardo da Vinci made early sketches of lifebelts. In 1539, Nikolaus Wynmann, a German professor of languages, wrote the first swimming book Colymbetes. His purpose was to reduce the dangers of drowning. The book contained a good methodical approach to learning breaststroke, and mentioned swimming aids such as air filled cow bladders, reed bundles, and cork belts.
In 1587, Everard Digby also wrote a swimming book, claiming that humans could swim better than fish. Digby was a Senior Fellow at St. John's College, Cambridge and was interested in the scientific method. His short treatise, De arte natandi, was written in Latin and contained over 40 woodcut illustrations depicting various methods of swimming, including the breaststroke, backstroke and crawl. Digby regarded the breaststroke as the most useful form of swimming. In 1603, Emperor Go-Yozei of Japan declared that schoolchildren should swim.
In 1696, the French author Melchisédech Thévenot wrote The Art of Swimming, describing a breaststroke very similar to the modern breaststroke. This book was translated into English and became the standard reference of swimming for many years to come. In 1739, Guts Muts (also spelled as Guts Muth) from Schnepfenthal, Germany, wrote Gymnastik für die Jugend (Exercise for youth), including a significant portion about swimming. In 1794, Kanonikus Oronzio de Bernardi of Italy wrote a two volume book about swimming, including floating practice as a prerequisite for swimming studies.
In 1798, Guts Muts wrote another book Kleines Lehrbuch der Schwimmkunst zum Selbstunterricht (Small study book of the art of swimming for self-study), recommending the use of a "fishing rod" device to aid in the learning of swimming. His books describe a three-step approach to learning to swim that is still used today. First, get the student used to the water; second, practice the swimming movements out of the water; and third, practice the swimming movements in the water. He believed that swimming is an essential part of every education. The Haloren, a group of salt makers in Halle, Germany, greatly advanced swimming through setting a good example to others by teaching their children to swim at a very early age.
Swimming as a competitive sport
Swimming emerged as a competitive sport in the 1830s in England. In 1828, the first indoor swimming pool, St George's Baths, was opened to the public. By 1837, the National Swimming Society was holding regular swimming competitions in six artificial swimming pools, built around London. The sport grew in popularity and by 1880, when the first national governing body, the Amateur Swimming Association, was formed, there were already over 300 regional clubs in operation across the country.
In 1844 a swimming competition was held in London with the participation of two Native Americans. The British competitor used the traditional breaststroke, while the Native Americans swam a variant of the front crawl, which had been used by people in the Americas for generations, but was not known to the British. The winning medal went to 'Flying Gull' who swam the 130-foot length in 30 seconds – the Native American swimming method proved to be a much faster style than the British breaststroke. The Times of London reported disapprovingly that the Native American stroke was an unrefined motion with the arms "like a windmill" and the chaotic and unregulated kicking of the legs. The considerable splashing that the stroke caused was deemed to be barbaric and "un-European" to the British gentlemen, who preferred to keep their heads over the water. Subsequently, the British continued to swim only breaststroke until 1873. The British did, however, adapt the breaststroke into the speedier sidestroke, where the swimmer lies to one side; this became the more popular choice by the late 1840s. In 1895, J. H. Thayers of England swam 100 yards (91 m) in a record-breaking 1:02.50 using a sidestroke.
Sir John Arthur Trudgen picked up the hand-over stroke from South American natives he observed swimming on a trip to Buenos Aires. On his return to England in 1868, he successfully debuted the new stroke in 1873 and won a local competition in 1875. Although the new stroke was really the reintroduction of a more intuitive method for swimming, one that had been in evidence in ancient cultures such as Ancient Assyria, his method revolutionized the state of competitive swimming – his stroke is still regarded as the most powerful to use today. In his stroke, the arms were brought forward, alternating, while the body rolled from side to side. The kick was a scissors kick such as that familiarly used in breaststroke, with one kick for two arm strokes, although it is believed that the Native Americans had indeed used a flutter kick. Front crawl variants used different ratios of scissor kicks to arm strokes, or alternated with a flutter (up-and-down) kick. The speed of the new stroke was demonstrated by F.V.C. Lane in 1901, swimming 100 yards (91 m) in 1:00.0, an improvement of about ten seconds compared to the breaststroke record. Due to its speed the Trudgen became very quickly popular around the world, despite all the ungentle-manlike splashing. Captain Matthew Webb was the first man to swim the English Channel (between England and France), in 1875. He used breaststroke, swimming 21.26 miles (34.21 km) in 21 hours and 45 minutes. His feat was not replicated or surpassed for the next 36 years, until Bill Burgess made the crossing in 1911. Other European countries also established swimming federations; Germany in 1882, France in 1890 and Hungary in 1896. The first European amateur swimming competitions were in 1889 in Vienna. The world's first women's swimming championship was held in Scotland in 1892.
Nancy Edberg popularized women's swimming in Stockholm from 1847. She made swimming lessons accessible for both genders and later introduced swimming lessons for women in Denmark and Norway. Her public swimming exhibitions from 1856 with her students were likely among the first public exhibitions of women swimming in Europe.
In 1897, Capt. Henry Sheffield designed a rescue can or rescue cylinder, now well known as the lifesaving device. The pointed ends made it slide faster through the water, although it can cause injuries.
The Olympic Games were held in 1896 in Athens, a male-only competition. Six events were planned for the swimming competition, but only four events were actually contested: 100 m, 500 m, and 1200 m freestyle and 100 m for sailors. The first gold medal was won by Alfréd Hajós of Hungary in the 100 m freestyle. Hajós was also victorious in the 1200 m event, and was unable to compete in the 500 m, which was won by Austrian Paul Neumann.
The second Olympic games in Paris in 1900 featured 200 m, 1000 m, and 4000 m freestyle, 200 m backstroke, and a 200 m team race (see also Swimming at the 1900 Summer Olympics). There were two additional unusual swimming events (although common at the time): an obstacle swimming course in the Seine river (swimming with the current), and an underwater swimming race. The 4000 m freestyle was won by John Arthur Jarvis in under one hour, the longest Olympic swimming race until the 10k marathon swim was introduced in 2008. The backstroke was also introduced to the Olympic Games in Paris, as was water polo. The Osborne Swimming Club from Manchester beat club teams from Belgium, France and Germany quite easily.
The Trudgen stroke was improved by Australian-born Richmond Cavill. Cavill, whose father Frederick Cavill narrowly failed to swim the English Channel, is credited with developing the stroke after observing a young boy from the Solomon Islands. Cavill and his brothers spread the Australian crawl to England, New Zealand and America. Richmond used this stroke in 1902 at an International Championships in England to set a new world record by out swimming all Trudgen swimmers over the 100 yards (91 m) in 0:58.4.
The Olympics in 1904 in St. Louis included races over 50 yards (46 m), 100 yards, 220 yards (200 m), 440 yards, 880 yards (800 m) and one mile (1.6 km) freestyle, 100 yards (91 m) backstroke and 440 yards (400 m) breaststroke, and the 4x50 yards freestyle relay (see also Swimming at the 1904 Summer Olympics). These games differentiated between breaststroke and freestyle, so that there were now two defined styles (breaststroke and backstroke) and freestyle, where most people swam Trudgen. These games also featured a competition to plunge for distance, where the distance without swimming, after jumping in a pool, was measured.
In 1908, the world swimming association Fédération Internationale de Natation Amateur (FINA) was formed.
Women were first allowed to swim in the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, competing in freestyle races. In the 1912 games, Harry Hebner of the United States won the 100 m backstroke. At these games Duke Kahanamoku from Hawaii won the 100 m freestyle, having learned the six kicks per cycle front crawl from older natives of his island. This style is now considered the classical front crawl style. The men's competitions were 100 m, 400 m, and 1500 m freestyle, 100 m backstroke, 200 m and 400 m breaststroke, and four by 200 m freestyle relay. The women's competitions were 100 m freestyle and four by 100 m freestyle relay.
The Deutsche Lebens-Rettungs-Gesellschaft (DLRG) (German lifesaving organization) was established on October 19, 1913 in Leipzig after 17 people drowned while trying to board the cruise steamer Kronprinz Wilhelm. In the same year the first elastic swimsuit was made by the sweater company Jantzen.
In 1922, Johnny Weissmuller became the first person to swim the 100 m in less than a minute, using a six kicks per cycle Australian crawl. Johnny Weissmuller started the golden age of swimming, winning five Olympic medals and 36 national championships and never losing a race in his ten-year career, until he retired from swimming and started his second career starring as Tarzan in film. His record of 51 seconds in 100-yard (91 m) freestyle stood for over 17 years. In the same year, Sybil Bauer was the first woman to break a men's world record over the 440 m backstroke in 6:24.8.
At the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, lane dividers made of cork were used for the first time, and lines on the pool bottom aided with orientation.
The scientific study of swimming began in 1928 with David Armbruster, a coach at the University of Iowa, who filmed swimmers underwater. The Japanese also used underwater photography to research the stroke mechanics, and subsequently dominated the 1932 Summer Olympics. Armbruster also researched a problem of breaststroke where the swimmer was slowed down significantly while bringing the arms forward underwater. In 1934 Armbruster refined a method to bring the arms forward over water in breaststroke. While this "butterfly" technique was difficult, it brought a great improvement in speed. One year later, in 1935, Jack Sieg, a swimmer also from the University of Iowa developed a technique involving swimming on his side and beating his legs in unison similar to a fish tail, and modified the technique afterward to swim it face down. Armbruster and Sieg combined these techniques into a variant of the breaststroke called butterfly with the two kicks per cycle being called dolphin fishtail kick. Using this technique Sieg swam 100 yards (91 m) in 1:00.2. However, even though this technique was much faster than regular breaststroke, the dolphin fishtail kick violated the rules and was not allowed. Therefore, the butterfly arms with a breaststroke kick were used by a few swimmers in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin for the breaststroke competitions. In 1938, almost every breaststroke swimmer was using this butterfly style, yet this stroke was considered a variant of the breaststroke until 1952, when it was accepted as a separate style with a set of rules.
Around that time another modification to the backstroke became popular. Previously, the arms were held straight during the underwater push phase, for example by the top backstroke swimmer from 1935 to 1945, Adolph Kiefer. However, Australian swimmers developed a technique where the arms are bent under water, increasing the horizontal push and the resulting speed and reducing the wasted force upward and sideways. This style is now generally used worldwide.
In 1935 topless swimsuits for men were worn for the first time during an official competition. In 1943, the US ordered the reduction of fabric in swimsuits by 10% due to wartime shortages, resulting in the first two piece swimsuits. Shortly afterwards the bikini was invented in Paris by Louis Reard (officially) or Jacques Heim (earlier, but slightly larger).
Another modification was developed for breaststroke. In breaststroke, breaking the water surface increases the friction, reducing the speed of the swimmer. Therefore, swimming underwater increases the speed. This led to a controversy at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, and six swimmers were disqualified as they repeatedly swam long distances underwater between surfacing to breathe. The rule was changed to require breaststroke to be swum at the surface starting with the first surfacing after the start and after each turn. However, one Japanese swimmer, Masaru Furukawa, circumvented the rule by not surfacing at all after the start, but swimming as much of the lane under water as possible before breaking the surface. He swam all but 5 m under water for the first three 50 m laps, and also swam half under water for the last lap, winning the gold medal. The adoption of this technique led to many swimmers suffering from oxygen starvation or even some swimmers passing out during the race due to a lack of air, and a new breaststroke rule was introduced by FINA, additionally limiting the distance that can be swum under water after the start and every turn, and requiring the head to break the surface every cycle. The 1956 Games in Melbourne also saw the introduction of the flip turn, a sort of tumble turn to faster change directions at the end of the lane.
In 1972, another famous swimmer, Mark Spitz, was at the height of his career. During the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany, he won seven gold medals. Shortly thereafter in 1973, the first swimming world championship was held in Belgrade, Yugoslavia by the FINA.
Breaking the water surface reduces the speed in swimming. The swimmers Daichi Suzuki (Japan) and David Berkoff (America) used this for the 100 m backstroke at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. Berkoff swam 33 m of the first lane completely underwater using only a dolphin kick, far ahead of his competition. A sports commentator called this a Berkoff Blastoff. Suzuki, having practiced the underwater technique for 10 years, surfaced only a little bit earlier, winning the race in 55.05. At that time, this was not restricted by FINA backstroke rules. The backstroke rules were quickly changed in the same year by the FINA to ensure the health and safety of the swimmers, limiting the underwater phase after the start to ten meters, which was expanded to 15 m in 1991. In Seoul, Kristin Otto from East Germany won six gold medals, the most ever won by a woman.
Another innovation is the use of flip turns for backstroke. According to the rules, a backstroke swimmer had to touch the wall while lying less than 90 degrees out of the horizontal. Some swimmers discovered that they could turn faster if they rolled almost 90 degrees sideways, touched the wall, and made a forward tumble turn, pushing off the wall on their backs. The FINA has changed the rules to allow the swimmers to turn over completely before touching the wall to simplify this turn and to improve the speed of the races.
Similarly, the dolphin-kick underwater swimming technique is now also used for butterfly. Consequently, in 1998 FINA introduced a rule limiting swimmers to 15 meters underwater per lap before they must surface. After underwater swimming for freestyle and backstroke, the underwater swimming technique is now also used for butterfly, for example by Denis Pankratov (Russia) or Angela Kennedy (Australia), swimming large distances underwater with a dolphin kick. FINA is again considering a rule change for safety reasons. It is faster to do butterfly kick underwater for the first few meters off the wall than swimming at the surface. In 2005, FINA declared that you may take 1 underwater dolphin kick in the motion of a breaststroke pull-out.
Sophisticated bodyskins were banned from FINA competitions from the start of 2010 after many national swimming federations demanded the action, and leading athletes such as Michael Phelps and Rebecca Adlington criticized the suits.
SWIMMING MEDAL COUNT Update
Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 United States 11 5 8 24
2 Australia 3 3 2 8
3 Hungary 3 0 1 4
4 Japan 2 2 3 7
5 Great Britain 1 3 0 4
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