Being a mature swimmer I can remember the days when in order to swim in the UK, you had to go to a local ‘baths’ rather than a leisure centre. Individual changing cubicles would often be on poolside and quite often you would be required to walk through about 6 inches of coloured water containing disinfectant to ensure your feet were clean. Fast forward to today and whilst some pools request swimmers to shower before entering the pool, it is not always mandatory.
Swimming on the continent is a different story, all swimmers are required to shower before entering the water, pool shoes must be worn at all times in both the changing rooms and poolside and when in the water the swimmer MUST wear swimming cap.
Showering before entering the water – makes sense, humans perspire at all times, especially in the Summer and there is the lotions and sprays that are applied to the body, not to mention make-up. A quick shower is not enough to rid the body of all this, but it helps, the rest sadly is washed away by the pool water and filtered away by the back washing system.
Pool shoes not only help limit the spread of foot diseases like athlete’s foot and verrucas but also keeps your feet off the wet floor which as the damp surfaces harbour residue from chemicals and cleaning products.
There is not a lot worse than happily swimming along when a clump of hair wraps itself either round your fingers or worse still your goggles. It is repulsive to me personally and ruins my swim session every time. We all shed hair all the time and those with long hair tend to lose more hair than most. On the continent where swimming caps are mandatory this doesn’t happen, hair is tucked into the swimming cap and therefore unable to break away.
Swimming caps, pool shoes and showers, just three small things that could be implemented to improve the quality of water and improve the experience of swimming in the UK.