The Borneo Post (Sabah)
Why swimmers must wear swimsuit into pool
WHEN someone was turned away by the pool keeper in Kinabalu Golf Club swimming pool many years ago because of not wearing proper swimming attire, I was upset seeing the teenagers in vain. At that time, it seemed to me like excuses to justify an adopted policy rather than genuine reasons which I suspect the guard knew next to nothing.
Is it actually a policy of enforcing social conformity? Mind you in Victorian times, women would have been arrested and imprisoned for swimwear which today they are literally required to wear.
Why swimmers must wear swimsuits into the pool?
I was told the pool lifeguards constantly have to turn away swimmers who aren’t in proper swimsuits! I believe it is not the club’s desire to turn away patrons from their swimming pools, or discourage people from getting exercise in an aquatic environment, but it is their ultimate goal to keep all their patrons safe, and the water clean and clear. How?
I have been apathetic and thus ignorant about the reason for the wants of swimming attire until two weeks ago when my fellow columnist Mr Liaw Lam Thye who is a property consultant enlightened me, I owe him one.
Much like why showers are an important part of our preswim routine, by wearing a swimsuit, you reduce the risk of contaminating the pool with waterborne illness and contaminants.
Cotton and some other materials can hold detergents, germs, and bacteria in them, which can be released into the water. This can cause swimmers to get sick and even affect the water chemistry and clarity. It also tends to absorb a lot of water and pool chemicals, requiring the pool to use more disinfectant. Swimsuits are made of polyurethane (Lycra, Spandex or Elastane), polyester, nylon or blended synthetic fibers such as Poly PBT or XLA. These materials absorb very little water, and therefore dry very quickly. They are flexible and conform to the body. Synthetic fabrics can be made resistant to chlorine, UV rays, etc. for greater durability
Dyes in a swimsuit also don’t come out as dyes in cotton would.
Because cotton is mostly used and is a common absorbent material, when the cotton absorbs the pool water, it can become pretty heavy, which can weigh down swimmers and make swimming more difficult. Cotton T-shirts also tend not to fit tight to the body, which can increase your risk of underwater entrapment.
Finally, unlike swimming costume, cotton breaks down in the water, which clogs the pool filter system. Certain dyed material can also release some of the dye into the pool water, causing poor water clarity and water balance.
As for the normal complain of swimmers urinate in pools constantly, it takes a few minutes for chlorine to disinfect. So, if we want the chlorine to be “free” and able to disinfect that first and foremost, but will an abundant of “street clothes” going to be delayed in getting to the urine because of the other non-organic material it’s trying to disinfect, it is best to avoid those non-organic materials altogether.
In terms of extra chemicals, when we introduce all those non-organic and organic things into the pool, the chlorine levels do drop because it’s being used to disinfect which, is a job of a pool to properly keep track of but with too many bathers all wearing proper swim material will not affect chlorine as much as 20 people who are all wearing denim, cotton and other absorbent materials. If you take an actual swim shirt and compared it to a cotton or other absorbent tshirt , those fibers get into the pool equipment and can actually clog filters and strainer baskets.
Personally I never wear my swimwear as normal clothes, so it is not exposed to as much pathogens as “normal” clothes are sweat, fecal matter, perfumes, etc.
The reason wearing a shirt often isn’t allowed in public pools is because shirts aren’t made like swimsuits. Shirts are usually made of cotton or other fibers that fray and gum up the filters. Dedicated swimwear is designed not to do that.