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What is The Ideal Temperature For My Swimming Pool?

Everybody has their own "ideal" pool temperature.  Some like it Polar Bear Club cold, while others like it "just shy" of calling it a hot tub.  While the ideal temperature is the one that is most comfortable for you, there are some things you should know when it comes to setting the temperature for your pool. If you like your pool water on the cold side or on the hot side, you may wonder if there’s anything wrong with swimming in temperatures that some of your friends find to be a bit unusual.  We tend to think that our comfort is the only factor in choosing temperature, but if you are aware of the tragedy in the 2010 Olympics, wherein U.S. swimmer Fran Crippen died due to swimming in 84° water, you know that there can be serious effects on one’s physiology of swimming in temperatures outside the norm. 78°-83° is generally thought of as the moderate or safe zone.  For reference points, for Olympic diving events, the required temp is 79°, while for synchronized swimming it is 80°-82° and racing events, 77°-82°.  However, these tend to be near the low end of the spectrum because, as one might guess, slightly cooler temperatures are advantageous to highly-competitive nature of these events.  For casual swimmers, going into the 80’s is recommended by many authoritative sources.   #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; width:100%;} /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */

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If you are wondering about how a swimmer could’ve died in 84° water, and if you take that to be a warning to stay below that temperature, the biggest thing to remember is that he was racing and exerting tremendous amounts of energy.  Any possible shocks to the system are only made worse by the rigors of Olympic-level swimming, which most of you will not experience.  A swimmer in her position can be in jeopardy at temperatures that high—in fact three swimmers were hospitalized and some of the athletes thought that the water felt warmer than the recorded temp of 84°. However, if you find yourself in water at 83° or 84°, don’t panic or worry as long as you are not racing or swimming fast for entire pool-lengths.  The possible health hazard is that your body won’t be able to cool itself fast enough and you’ll encounter hyperthermia.  If you experience light-headedness, nausea, or symptoms that might indicate dehydration, take a break and seek cool temperatures. On the other end of the spectrum is hypothermia, which involves a dangerous drop in body temperature.  A body reacts to cold water more severely than to cold air.  Jogging in 65° will be pleasant, even warm, while your body will lose its core heat in 65° water.  What can make matters worse is that continued swimming in cooler water does not warm the body up.  Though it is strenuous cardio activity, it actually burns heat and increases the risk of hyperthermia.  Thus, avoid water less than roughly 66°, and if you feel a loss of coordination or intense shivering, remove yourself from water of 70° or less (assuming, of course, that you wouldn’t encounter these symptoms in water warmer than that). So, a moderate temperature of 78°-83° is best, and you will probably find it easier to please most of your pool guests at about 81°-83°.  This assumes a range of demographics among your swimmer friends.  However, according to, if your swimmers are mostly children or the elderly, you may range from 82°-86°, being sure that at the upper end of this range you have the kids take breaks if they are swimming or playing vigorously.  The article also recommends an exception of 84°-86° due to their sensitive nature and the difficulty they have in regulating body temperature. Remember that hot tubs are for soaking, not swimming, and that polar bear clubs are probably best for actual polar bears.  Moderate temperatures are best as a way of protecting the body and providing the best atmosphere for fun and exercise.

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