What makes a swimming pool fast ?

Interesting story here on The Brown Daily Herald, with Brown Bears’ head coach Peter Brown describing what makes the new Katherine Moran Coleman Center swimming pool the fastest aquatic center in the Ivy League and in the Northeast.

(Ehm, vaguely related video)

“Fast pools have specific characteristics, and if you don’t have those, you’re going to have a slow pool,” Peter Brown said.

The first quality is the pool’s depth. In general, “the deeper the water, the better,” Peter Brown said. Men’s swimming captain James Hunter ’12 said the nine feet of depth reduce swimmers’ waves from bouncing off the bottom of the pool, which reduces turbulence in the water.

Peter Brown said the way in which water flows into the pool is crucial for swimmers. In the new pool, the water will enter the pool in a way that does not create resistance that slows down athletes.

“You don’t want (water) coming into the sides of the pool — you want it coming in from the bottom,” Peter Brown said. “If it comes in from the sides, it creates jets, it creates streams, it creates currents you don’t want to have.”

The pool also has a special gutter system in place that allows water to flow over the edge of the pool, instead of bouncing back off the wall and creating waves and currents.

“How the water meets the edge of the pool is very important,” Peter Brown said. “When water comes to the edge of the pool, it just washes over the side and it doesn’t bounce back into the pool.”

The pool’s two moveable bulkheads mean that during collegiate races, competitors will not be swimming from “concrete to concrete,” Peter Brown said. By swimming between the two bulkheads, the currents created by swimming in both directions will not be as harsh when swimmers make their turns. The water washes out through the bulkheads instead of entering back into the racecourse, Peter Brown said.


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