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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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
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.