Everything H2O Q&A

Q: What kind of caulking are people

using in their pool to seal the expansion

joints on the floors as well as the walls?

A: We are presently using Seka Flex 1a

and Seka Flex 1sl. This seems to be a

product that works well, but we are looking

for products others are using that

work even better.

John Webb is the park supervisor for

the City of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and will be

giving presentations on aquatics troubleshooting,

facility maintenance and management

at Parks & Rec Business LIVE! at

Deer Creek State Park, near Columbus,

Ohio, Sept. 19-20.

Q: When and how is the best time to

paint a concrete pool?

A: For a number of reasons the best time

to paint is in the fall months. One reason

is time constraints. It seems as though

there is so little time in the spring months

to take on such a large project.

Others reasons include personnel, weather, temperature

and cure time. We have found

our best success in the fall, the day after

the swimming season ends, to drain the

pool and use TSP (trisodium phosphate)

to remove the suntan lotion and body oils

left behind from swimmers. Rinse thoroughly

and allow to dry.

Then paint the

pool with a manufacturer-approved coating

and allow proper cure time (usually

7-10 days) before refilling the pool (if you

keep water in the pool over the winter


The temperature and weather

seem to cooperate better in the fall and

the paint will adhere to the warm concrete

much better.

The same would apply

if you decide to contract out the painting.

You will find the coating will last much

longer if the work is completed in the fall.

John Webb

Q: What’s the most effective strategy

you’ve employed recently to train your

lifeguard staff?

A: I really need to build a team. I need to

build a team of 120 young people who

are anywhere from 15 to 25 years old.

This team has to think alike in reacting to

life-threatening conditions, have good

personal relations with customers, be

physically astute, and want to be the best

lifeguards in Colorado.

How can I

achieve this and make it a rewarding

experience? I kept retracing the educational

sessions that I attended at last year’s

aquatics conference and the same one

kept reoccurring... The Lifeguard Boot

Camp—The Few, The Proud, The

Trained, presented by Debbi Davidson of

Arkansas City, Kansas, and Bart Peace of

Newton, Kansas.

I would have to alter the

approach to meet our needs, but the

foundational idea was excellent.


Knight, Denver school teacher and a

Marine Corp Combat Instructor of Water

Survival came up with great ideas on how

to present the Marine approach, amend it

and use it for the Denver lifeguard boot


My primary objective in this

maneuver was safety, which is always the

main criteria at any swimming pool,

water park or beach front.


must be realistic at boot camp; that was

one of the main points that Knight

stressed. Increasing your response time in

reaching the victim or victims is imperative,

and team building and developing

trust in your co-workers is essential.


we reinforce the concepts through participation

in games and skills drills, while

bumping up the stress levels with lots of

yelling and screaming.

That sounds kind

of strange, but it’s quite effective in making

the drills more realistic. All rescue

skills were covered, including oxygen

and AED.

To kick off this special in-service,

all guards and managers were

marked on the upper left arm with a

magic maker in various colors as they

walked through the pool gate, and placed

randomly into four groups.

Since they

weren’t segregated by pool or put together

with a group of their friends, it allowed the entire Denver lifeguard system to

come together as one unit.

Each group

had a different maneuver. The first group

was taken to the grass, where they did

jumping jacks, push-ups, crunches and

ran the perimeter of the fence outside the

pool, which had to be done in under two

minutes. Additionally, they could only

run as fast as the slowest person.

The second

group, the middle pool group, had

to swim underwater across the pool.

Then they had to get out of the pool,

jump back in, do an approach stroke

while screaming at the top of their lungs,

“Help!” Then they would jump back in

and swim back across the pool, towing a

rescue tube. Then they would take the

tube off, put it on the deck and swim

back across the pool as fast as the could

while being harassed the entire time with

loud encouragement and words (or

yells?) of advice.

In the deep end, group

three did a deep-water entry, swam to the

victim and did an active rescue. Then

they did a spinal rescue.

At the other

deep end, group four did a deep-water

entry, using a breast stroke approach and

retrieved a submerged, non-responsive

victim. Then they had to get the victim

out of the water and do CPR.

The groups

would rotate after the drills. At the end

we did a team circle tread, where they

had to hold hands and see who could

tread water longest. In this case, the

stronger swimmers helped the weaker

ones stay up, helping further build the

team concept.

We also ordered red rubber

wristbands with Denver Lifeguard

imprinted on them for the participants.

All of this was judged and evaluated, so

that if we notice any deficiencies we’ll

work with them on those areas specifically.

Of the 120 lifeguards who participated

in the 2005 boot camp, 118 had a very

positive response. The remaining two

said, “We had to get up too early.” Our

response? “What is your major malfunction?!”

This was one of the most rewarding

and beneficial large group in-services

Denver Aquatics has ever held.

Lee Ragon is with Denver Aquatics

and can be reached at aquatics@ci.denver.


Q: How do you decide on the type and

size of swimming facility when planning

for future or present expansion? What

activities should be included?

A: The best way to approach this is to

plan for the biggest, most comprehensive

facility. Think of a facility that will

encompass everything that you might

want in one site.

Allow for deep and shallow

water so if there is to be diving, allow

enough depth for a one meter and/or

three meter board.

This deep water will

also allow for scuba classes, lifeguarding

classes, deep water aerobics, etc., to be


If there is no need for these types

of classes in the community, one might

want to forego the deep water and put

the money into another aspect of the


Is the pool a recreational pool, competitive

pool a training pool or any combination

of these? These questions must

be addressed so that a facility is designed

and built to meet the needs of the potential


The recreational and competitive

portions of a pool can be designed

into one vessel utilizing one filtration

plant. This saves space and especially


Splash pads may be incorporated

into a facility by drawing water from the

main pool and by draining water back

into the main pool instead of having a

separate system.

The same goes for any

water toys in and around the pool. Some

pool designers/builders try to get more

bang for their buck by specifying residential

sized piping and equipment, even

though the pool is to be used commercially.

This is a problem that will come to

back to haunt many times over. It is

important to not sacrifice in the equipment

room in order to make the pool

more appealing.

Fixtures, toys, slides,

etc, can always be added later. It is much

more difficult and expensive to upgrade

plumbing, electrical and equipment later.

Billy Sassi is the aquatics program

manager for the Tucson Parks and Recreation Department.