Thursday, September 13, 2007

Why swimming in the United Kingdom is so anemic

In an article written by Joanna Coles for the New Statesman; a notable paper in the UK, Coles makes quite a provocative statement as to why the USA is so dominant in swimming. Coles gets a bit hyperbolic about kids swimming 'fly before they master reading but she includes this surprising statistic. From the second paragraph down:

"...Then there are the facilities, something one takes for granted here until you remember that the UK has only about 20 Olympic-sized pools for the whole country." [Link]

I can name four LCM pools alone that SCAQ swims in and this does not include the one in Santa Clarita, the Belmont Plaza, those two pools in Misssion Viejo, then there is UCLA, and, and, and... Poor UK!

I touched on this in an earlier post last April: [Link]


Scott said...

A dang! You beat me to it. It's very clear swimming is a rich man's sport when long course competition pools cost upwards of $70,000,000 USD and even wealthy countries like the UK don't have sufficient numbers of them. It's the primary reason why the States is so dominant. Now I'll have to wait a few months before posting on this so people don't think I'm just following your lead. :^)

Tony Austin said...

You must have meant 7 million. You can build a LCM pool for 2 million or less but LCM pools as compared to SCY or SCM pools are money pits. They take a lot of resources to run. i.e. Lifeguards, electricity, chemicals, etc.

The cost to build a pool is $250 a square foot. Then you have the surrounding facilities. The pool itself can be built for 1 million.

Though LCM pools are best, a 25 SCM by 25 SCY is very cost effective.

If I were to build a pool, I would use solar and or wind to drive an pool using ozone instead of chlorine. It would be for clubs only and the cub would have to supply the life guards. Here is a reference as to cost.

Scott said...

You're right - I did get carried away a little with the zeros. Many thanks for your link to Aquatic Design Group as it is very informative about the costs and design details in building a pool. I would like to point out for large communities which are underserved it would seem 50 meters is the way to go because of their flexibility/multiuse functionality. Your ideas to use solar power and ozone would be agreeable with many - though up here in the Pacific Northwest solar power isn't quite the potential bonanza it is in sunny Southern California. You'd be pleased to hear I think every new pool I've seen being built the past three or four years relies on ozone as its primary purification system. Not only does it greatly cut down on harmful chemicals but I understand it's actually cost effective.

Charlie said...

I think it is my duty as a Brit to also mention the weather!

Why build a swimming pool when half the year it is dark, cold and wet outside? It is hardly inspiring weather to the average person to make them want to hit the pool.

Compare that to Southern California where I have no problem swimming in an outdoor pool all year round. I will even swim in the Ocean (albeit in a wetsuit) in the winter.

Tony Austin said...

California is home to some great swimmers but Phelps isn't one of them. I think he trains in Michigan which has 3 months worth of sun and 9 months worth of lousy ice skating.

There are always indoor pools for the UK such as the empty pool featured above.

What is holding the UK back to me is your coaching situation as well as lack of pools