The Adventures of Splish and Splash
This clever series of games from the CPSC's Pool Safely campaign helps teach kids about swimming pool safety in a fun way. Watch all three of these interactive video games with your kids, and let them take part in Water Safety Month!
Click here to play the games
A Natural First
Courtesy of Jesse Dutra, Aqua Magazine
Natural swimming pools – those that use biological processes to treat water instead of standard sanitization – have been growing in popularity for more than two decades in Europe and elsewhere around the world. Now, these unusual pools have finally landed on U.S. soil. In this special project profile, Massachusetts landscape designer and pool builder Jesse Dutra describes the first natural swimming pool installed in the U.S. using a proprietary system developed by Munich, Germany's BioNova.
In an age where it seems that everything's been done before, it's not often you have the opportunity to be the first at something. Nonetheless, that was exactly the case for the project featured here.
It's what's known as a Natural Swimming Pool (NSP), a concept developed and popularized in Europe by the visionary firm BioNova, which has been successfully designing and promoting these pools for 25 years throughout much of Europe. The firm now has operations the world over, including a North American division based in New Jersey.
Like many landscape designers and pool builders, I've become interested in working with "sustainable environments," and a few years back decided to become a BioNova partner. That effort recently paid off with this beautiful project on Nantucket Island, Mass., the first pool built in the U.S. using the BioNova system.
A Fresh Approach
An NSP utilizes biological processes that exist in natural bodies of water to maintain water quality. Basically, you set up a constructed wetlands area, which BioNova calls a "Regeneration Zone." This zone consists of plant material combined with layers of gravel and sand, fitted with an under-drain system. Here, beneficial microorganisms form that in turn process nitrogen- and phosphate-based compounds to prevent algae blooms and also prevent the development of colonies of harmful pathogens. In essence, the regeneration zone acts as a large biological filtering system, which returns treated water to the pool. (BioNova precisely specifies the system design using different configurations based on the physical proximity of the Regeneration Zone to the swimming area and other parameters. It's extremely important to follow their specs to the letter in order to assure safe and appealing water.)
Although a completely separate system, the circular stone-clad spa is visually linked to the pool and regeneration zone via a small stream. (Photos courtesy of Jesse Dutra)
The dark interior color of the pool provides a beautifully reflective surface accentuating the surrounding views.
To biologists, as well as builders of natural ponds, the science of biological water treatment is well established, but in the U.S. it's remained obscure to swimming pool builders. BioNova has garnered a considerable level of press coverage at home and abroad, including past coverage in AQUA, and it's fair to say this first pool in the U.S. has been greeted with a high-level of anticipation. For our part going into the project, we certainly knew it was crucial we make this installation something special as a showcase and in a sense, an ambassador for this type of treatment concept in this country.
Backing up a bit, it's worth noting this approach first took hold in Germany, a nation famous for the most stringent water-quality standards found anywhere on the planet both for pools and public water utilities. In that rigorous regulatory setting, there are now literally thousands of these systems in Germany and other European countries, including a number of massive, high-use commercial and public facilities. To the best of my knowledge, these systems are virtually algae-free and have a perfect record in terms of bather health. Approximately 20 percent of all new pool installations in Germany are NSPs.
To be clear, the first NSPs installed in North America are located in Canada, and there are now a handful of others either in planning or under construction in the U.S., including another our firm is just completing and another we are currently designing. The first-ever U.S. commercial NSP is currently being planned for a facility in Minneapolis by BioNova's North American and Global Head Offices and will no doubt be the subject of great public attention when it's completed this fall.
It's true this concept has been slow in gaining a foothold in the U.S. market despite its success elsewhere and growing consumer desires in this country for chlorine-free swimming and bathing, as well as for ecologically-sustainable environments.
The dramatic stonework is softened by the use of plantings that create a visual weave with the plantings in the regeneration zone, creating an inviting and tranquil setting.
The water does have a very slight green tint to it, and if you hold it in a glass up to a light, you can see small particulate in the water. That aesthetic concern and fears of waterborne diseases have made the concept a tough sell to Americans who, despite their reservations about chlorine and other manufactured chemical compounds, are accustomed to the "scorched earth" mentality when it comes to treating water.
One of the big advantages of this type of water treatment, and one of the reasons I'm so enthusiastic about it, is the very fact that it doesn't kill all microorganisms. Medical science teaches us that our bodies contain and are covered with all sorts of beneficial microorganism that perform a variety of healthy functions. In sanitized water, all of those life forms are stripped from your skin and have to redevelop after you dry off.
It's been hypothesized that this is one possible reason some people become more susceptible to illness after swimming in sanitized water. In that sense, naturally-treated water is arguably healthier precisely because it doesn't kill everything it touches.
But the fact remains that, from a chemical treatment standpoint, these systems do represent an entirely different type of approach and many consumers and professionals alike, despite the benefits, have remained skeptical.
That's a mentality I'd love to change. Fortunately, these clients were willing to give it a try.
A Green Scene
I had been working for these clients for some time doing landscaping on their property and we have enjoyed a fruitful relationship for the past few years. For a long time, they had expressed interest in a swimming pool but hadn't decided to go forward.
The "better half" of the homeowning couple was chair of the board of sustainability on the island, and she wound up making a majority of the decisions on the pool. Even with their "green" mindset, the NSP concept was a tough sell, in this case simply because it's the first one in the U.S. They were interested in the concept and after a great deal of discussion and research, including calls to English speaking BioNova customers in Australia, France and Germany, they decided to move forward.
Ultimately, they liked the idea of no chlorine and the aesthetics of the pool combined with the pond-like setting of the regeneration zone.
The property is typical of many in the area, very open to adjoining views of the surrounding landscape, which includes protected wetlands found throughout the island. There's a lovely grove of Poplar trees that would eventually serve as a visual backdrop for the pool, as well as a stand of Tupelo trees that abut a nearby cranberry bog.
Although very much a swimming pool, the design includes a number of organic elements that lend the work a naturalistic feeling. (Photos courtesy of Jesse Dutra)
This pool is known as a BioNova Type 5, basically one where the Regeneration Zone is separate from the pool. There is a small section of Regeneration Zone that I located inside the pool at one end where you can swim up to a seating area and touch the plants. My thought was that would've made it a Type 4, but the founder of the company, Rainer Grafinger, said that the area directly in contact with the pool section was so small that it didn't alter the Type 5 classification.
(For detailed information about NSPs and their differing configurations you can visit BioNova's website at www.bionovanaturalpools.com.)
Working with the clients was a perpetual process where the design kept moving and changing as we went along. We came up with the footprint of the pool and the Regeneration Zone, but many of the hardscape features kept evolving. For example, we set several feet of stone coping to let them consider the look before we did the actual installation. Those kinds of discussions continued right up to the final stages of the project.
The pool itself is freeform, 60 feet long and approximately 30 feet wide — 1,600 square feet with about 40 percent devoted to the Regeneration Zone. Aesthetically it has a naturalistic feel, but still looks very much like a pool rather than a pond.
The pool is set up on two levels to the pool from the Regeneration Zone. It has a modified arced vanishing edge where water flows from the pool and creates a waterfall effect as it flows into the Regeneration Zone, which in a sense functions as an oversized catch basin. The edge treatment on the dam wall is unusual in that it has stones set at intervals that function as a stepping path across the pool, while allowing water to flow between the stones.
The Regeneration Zone is not only central to the treatment concept, but it also plays a major aesthetic role. It's a graduated wetland with a number of beautiful plantings typically found at the water's edge in this region, including irises, cardinal flower, hostas, rose mallow, cattails, sedges and a host of different things you would find in the surrounding wetlands areas.
The Regeneration Zone has graduated depths and slopes to dry land in a beach-like effect where the plantings fuse into the surrounding landscape. A small wood deck extends into the zone, giving the clients a beautiful place to enjoy the plantings and water at close proximity.
The pool itself is in many respects typical of large, freeform custom vessels we see all the time. The pool, spa and stream are all made in shotcrete and use typical pool pumps, heating, lights and control equipment. It is in every real sense a swimming pool, not a pond made for swimming. It has a graduated depth ranging from three and a half to six feet. It has a number of benches and a set of wedding-cake style steps the fan out into the shallow end.
The pool is finished in Pebble Fina finish from Pebble Technology. We chose the dark color to essentially mask the color of the water, which as mentioned above does have a subtle green tint to it. Although the water clarity is outstanding, with a light-colored finish you might notice it. As it is, you cannot visually discern the water from what you'd find in a typical swimming pool. Besides, the dark finish only made sense given the pool was intended to be somewhat natural in appearance.
(We've noticed some slight variations in water clarity, which is expected with this type of treatment. As a BioNova partner, I've traveled to Europe and seen pools with white bottoms and to my eyes, the water in these systems always looks inviting, so it's all in how you perceive it. That's why it's crucial to establish realistic client expectations early on so they know what to expect.)
The pool includes an in-floor cleaning system to help prevent the build-up of biofilm, which can form with these systems and make surfaces slippery. It has a bottom drain, which is not necessary on these pools, but in this case we needed it to work with the in-floor cleaning system. And when the clients heat the pool, they can reverse the flow and circulate warm water from the bottom up.
The circulation system also includes a special BioNova tank filter that contains a proprietary geo-mesh or "fleece" that filters particulate down to a size that supports water clarity but also allows microorganisms to flow through the entire system.
The stone we used throughout the project is native to the area, typically called New England Field Stone, both flat and in boulder form. It was originally deposited by glacial activity during the Ice Age, and it is very, very dense. The decks, coping and the vanishing edge, which includes a massive sunning stone, are all finished using this wonderfully durable material, which has beautifully subtle earth tones.
In all, the project includes upwards of 200 tons of the material.
When combined with the surrounding landscaping and the bucolic setting of Nantucket Island, the pool looks perfectly at home. Best of all, the clients love it and are now beaming with pride that they have the first of these pools ever built in the U.S.
In late August last year, BioNova conducted its first-ever construction-training program in North America. For five days, partners from across the U.S., Canada and Europe gathered in Boston for the program, which featured a trip to Nantucket to visit this pool.
We had a wonderful day examining and basically celebrating the project, no small point of pride for me personally, my crews and especially the clients, who were awarded a plaque commemorating the fact that theirs was the first of its kind in the U.S. All new BioNova pools are issued a Certificate of Authenticity – and theirs was serial number USA00001.
As it stands, these pools will likely never replace traditional pools, but with more and more people looking for healthy and sustainable alternatives, my hope is that in this great country of ours, they're here to stay.
From the Northeast Spa and Pool Association
Owning your very own swimming pool and spa is never about one single thing like
exercise or entertainment, but about so much more. Your new pool and spa will reward you from the first day that you switch on the pumps and filters to "fire up" the system and for the many trouble-free years that you use it. In fact, builders of the Northeast Spa and Pool Association have identified no less than 9 ways that your swimming pool and spa benefits you including...
Family togetherness. There is nothing like a swimming pool to bring the family together. It is an ever-present amenity that's ready for a spur of the moment gathering or a long-planned party. It's perfect for an afternoon barbecue or a long night under the stars. If you are always wondering where the kids are, build that pool and spa this year and you will know exactly where they are and you will get to know all of their friends as well.
Promote health. Many pool customers of the builders of the Northeast Spas & Pool Association have told them that exercise was not on their radar when they first purchased their new pool and spa. As time went on, it became more important. It offers cardiovascular and health benefits to so many members of the family at different times in their lives.
Boost property value. Does a pool and spa in your back yard add to the value of your home? The answer is–it all depends. If the pool and spa are properly designed and executed by an experienced pool builder, it absolutely can increase the value of your home, according to a study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). In fact, it can add a whopping eight percent to the home's value.
Lifestyle. The great thing about owning a pool and spa is that it fits your lifestyle exactly as you want it to. Got a big family and lots of kids? It is the place to go as long as a responsible adult is always watching the little ones. Are you an exercise freak? Nothing beats your own backyard pool for getting fit. Want a romantic getaway for you and your significant other? You got that too!
Recreation. One of the great lures of the swimming pool and spa is its endless capacity for recreation of various kinds. There is swimming and in-pool sports as well as a potpourri of other activities perfect for the pool and back yard.
Convenience. As mentioned above, one benefit that sets the pool and spa apart from anything else you can buy, other than perhaps your main residence, is its convenience. The pool and spa are there for your immediate gratification whether it is the early morning, before-work swim; the come-home-after-work and pop into the spa with a cold drink; and everything else in between. The cabin in the woods takes hours to get to; the boat is a big commitment; and the RV "demands" that you travel for hours and days to somewhere before you get to relax.
Stress reduction. The swimming pool and spa are not specifically designed as anti-anxiety medicine, but if you give them a chance to work their magic that is what you are likely to achieve. A brisk swim to get your heart racing, followed by a relaxing soak in a spa at 104 degrees F. may not eliminate all of your stress and worry, but it will help!
Beautiful aesthetics. The swimming pool and spa and the entire poolscape, if designed and executed properly by a qualified swimming pool builder, will be a little piece of paradise in your back yard. Even in a Northeast setting, the well-done pool and spa can be a little piece of tropical paradise replete with waterfalls, grotto and dramatic plantings.
Entertainment. Along with recreation, one of the often-mentioned reasons to own a swimming pool and spa today is its entertainment value. The pool and spa can be a setting for the elegant party, the casual barbecue, people over to watch the ballgame on the outdoor flat-screen TV, the teenage party and the extended family gatherings.
Got other benefits that we overlooked? Add them in your comments below. While you are at it, check out this link on our website to find a great builder or qualified service professional near you.
Pool exercise may build strength, reduce falls
form the Express Tribune
NEW YORK: Women who did a high-intensity aquatic workout for six months increased their strength and suffered fewer falls, in a new study that suggests bone- and muscle-building resistance can be achieved with the right kinds of water exercises.
"What we did was to test the model for muscle training in the gyms and put it inside the pools," said lead author Linda Moreira, a researcher at the Universidade Federal de São Paulo.
The study should encourage postmenopausal women at risk for osteoporotic bone-thinning that pool-based exercise can increase muscle and bone strength, according to Moreira's team.
Aquatic aerobics became popular in the 1990s as a way for older people to exercise without straining their joints or being injured in falls.
However, aquatic exercise fell out of favor, experts said, because of concerns that the bone and muscle-building benefits of resisting gravity in standard exercises were diminished when someone is buoyant in water.
To test a water workout Moreira's group designed to increase resistance and build strength, they recruited just over 100 inactive women in their 50s and 60s.
All the women took 1,000 international units of vitamin D3 and 500 milligrams of calcium daily – both vitamins known to help build bone and muscle – during the six-month study.
Half the women were also assigned to an aquatic exercise program, which Moreira's group created to combat osteoporosis by preventing falls, and named HydrOS.
Instead of the more typical high-repetition, low-impact aqua-aerobics, the HydrOS interval training included bursts of intense activity between 10 to 30 seconds at up to 90 percent of maximum heart rate. The water created the resistance that weights would provide on land, Moreira said.
Seven months later, the number of falls among aquatic exercisers had dropped 86 percent, and the number of women who suffered falls dropped 44 percent. In the sedentary group, the number of falls remained unchanged, according to results published in the journal Menopause.
The researchers also found that flexibility plus hand, back, hip and knee strength increased in the aquatic exercisers. The women in the sedentary group showed mild increases in balance and strength as well, but the researchers attributed those improvements to the calcium and vitamin D supplements.
As people age, they lose muscles used for quick movements that stimulate bone health. But, according to Moreira, typical aquatic aerobics work muscles used for slower day-to-day movement.
"Physical instructors were training the wrong muscle type," she said.
About a quarter of the study participants had osteoporosis, half were at the beginning stage of the bone disease and the remaining quarter had normal bones.
"There's this bias in the osteoporosis community against doing any water-based exercise," said Andrea LaCroix, a researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, who studies health in older women. LaCroix was not involved in the current study.
"This study goes in the face of that," LaCroix told Reuters Health. "If they show changes in bone density, that would be quite amazing and novel and will be a paradigm changer in terms of osteoporosis prevention."
Moreira told Reuters Health that another soon-to-be-published paper will show that over the six months of the study, the aquatic exercise group maintained bone mineral density in their femur leg bones while the sedentary women lost 1.2 percent of bone density.
Very little is known about how water exercise can improve health in older adults, said Wendy Kohrt, professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Kohrt was not involved in the current study.
"Without knowing what the benefits are, it's difficult to recommend water exercise; (the study) fills a gap in knowledge that is a pretty big gap," Kohrt added.
"Improvements tended to be small (with the aquatic approach). It's a little difficult to judge just how effective this type of exercise program is," Kohrt told Reuters Health.
Kohrt noted that one serious limitation of the study was that researchers didn't use equipment that could maximize muscle resistance.
"There are ways to use devices in water to make it a more effective strength training approach," Korht said, such as moving a milk jug or webbed object through the water.
"The next step is to find out whether water exercise can be as effective as more traditional land-based types of exercises," Kohrt said.
by Kelly Boudreau, Water Safety Magazine
Most pets love the water and are eager to jump in after a toy. With summer quickly approaching, many people plan to take their pets to the pool, on the boat, or to the beach. Keep in mind these pet water safety tips while enjoying fun in the sun with your four-legged friend.
The following pet water safety tips can be applied to swimming pools, hot tubs, boating, and beaches:
When the pool is not in use, cover it with a pool safety cover. Safety covers can be walked on and will prevent your pets from falling (or jumping) in and becoming trapped in
the pool or tangled in a winter cover.
Pets fatigue easily and have poor depth perception in the water. Be aware of your pet's breathing patterns and whether they seem to be too tired to swim. You should always be there to assist your pets when they want to get out of the water. Finding pool steps or pool ladders can be difficult for an animal, so NEVER leave your pet unattended in the pool.
Pet's body temperatures are different than ours, so be aware of the dangers of hypothermia. Some pet symptoms of hypothermia are dilated pupils, pale or blue gums, decreased heart and respiratory rate, or shivering. If you think your pet may have hypothermia, wrap the pet in a blanket, fill water bottles with warm water to place in the blanket, and take the pet to your veterinarian as soon as possible.
If you pet spends a lot of time outside during the summer and you are worried they will fall in the pool, equip them with a pool alarm. Pool alarms can attach to your pet's collar and alert you inside the house if they come in contact with water. These pool alarms will work for lakes, ponds, pools and out on the boat!
Water causes your pet's fur to lie flat and expose their skin to the sun. Just like our skin gets sunburnt, so can your pet's. If you know your pet is going to get his or her fur wet, you should rub them down with sunscreen in any sun-exposed places.
Have your pet wear a dog life vest when boating, at the beach or at the pool. Dog life vests will keep your pet afloat and be an extra sense of security for you and your animal. Dog life vests are made for animals of all sizes.
You should NEVER allow your pet in the hot tub or spa. These high temperatures are too hot for any pet and they can quickly overheat. Dogs and cats do not sweat like we do and their panting will not be enough to remove the excess heat from their bodies.
These are just a few of many pet safety tips to keep in mind this summer. Our pets are a part of our families and keeping them safe is a priority. Playing in the water with your pet can be fun and safe at the same time!
Parents' Top 5 Swimming Safety Mistakes
from WakeMed Voices, by Courtney Mann, MD, is Medical Director of WakeMed Children’s Emergency Department.
The dangers of a pool cannot be underestimated for children. And, this danger necessitates a whole new level of adult supervision, because a child can drown in the pool as quickly as they can dart out in front of a car at a busy intersection. Working in the Children's Emergency Department for so many years has clued me into a few issues that, if avoided, could greatly decrease the number of families impacted by drowning or close-calls.
1. Watching Multiple Children
Pools are especially dangerous when parents are trying to watch multiple children at a time. You only have one set of eyes, so there is no way to keep an eye on multiple children at a time. Make sure that children that can't swim, or do not swim well, wear an approved life jacket. And, utilize the touch rule when taking your children to the pool by always being within arm's reach.
2. Overestimating Your Child's Ability to Swim
One of the biggest mistakes I see parents make is overestimating their child's ability to swim. A child may be able to keep their head above water, but if they aspirate water or panic when someone swims over them in a crowded pool, they could still be in serious trouble quite quickly. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
3. Who is Watching the Children?
Make sure mom, dad or other guardian is well aware of who is watching the children. Mom can get to talking poolside without realizing that a child is in trouble. Mom, dad and kids may all attend the annual 4th of July pool party, and mom assumes dad is watching the kids while dad assumes mom has her eyes on them at all times. Talk about who is responsible for watching the children, and if you want to take turns, pass off an index card between the two of you so you always know who is responsible. And, whoever is responsible should always be paying attention.
4. Be Aware of Surroundings
Every year you hear about children who wander into a backyard pool and drown. Many of these drownings occur in a neighbor's pools or at a house where the child is visiting. Make sure you know if there is a pool in the backyard or in the neighbor's backyard before you leave your child anywhere. Talk to your child's caretaker about the special precautions they must take to ensure your child is safe in the presence of the pool. Explain that the pool is like having a busy intersection nearby and that children need to be watched closely at all times.
5. Avoid Alcohol and Sleep Deprivation
Alcohol and sleep deprivation are contributing factors to drowning because they all impair your ability to swim and slow your reaction time. All of these elements also impair your ability to supervise swimming. Avoid the pool if you are under the influence of alcohol or are sleep deprived.
Pools, although very fun, can also be very dangerous, and underestimating this danger can be deadly-especially for children. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children 1-4 and is listed among the top 3 leading causes of death in children up to 18 years of age. Be safe this summer by swimming smart.
May is National Water Safety Month!
In recognition of the popularity of swimming and other water-related recreational activities in the United States, and the resulting need for ongoing public education on safer water practices, the month of May is National Water Safety Month!
National Water Safety month will be celebrated through educational programs, public service announcements, governmental proclamations, dealer and business promotions and the distribution of water-safety themed materials, aimed primarily at the public.
When you promote water safety and fun, customers remember you care! Participate in National Water Safety Month and give your customers the information that they need to stay safe.
Visit NationalWaterSafetyMonth.org for more information about how you can promote water safety all year long.
The Safe Swimmer's Pledge
Take the Safe Swimmer Pledge, then download the I'm a Safe Swimmer Certificate.
1. I pledge to never swim alone
2. I pledge to never play or swim near drains or suction fittings
3. I pledge to always dive feet first
4. I pledge to obey the pool rules
Keep Your Kids Fit!
from Johnson Pools
Keep Your Kids Fit with After-school Swimming
by Kara Murphy
Summer playtime may soon be supplanted with sitting in a classroom, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all children exercise for at least 60 minutes a day—every day.
"It's important to keep children active year-round," says Alicia Kockler, national aquatics program manager for Life Time Fitness at the company headquarters in Chanhassen, Minn. "But while this is easily accomplished during the summer months when kids are involved in organized sports, they are typically not engaging in the same level of activity once school is back in session."
So how can you keep your kids fit once school starts? Try using your pool to make fitness fun. Jason Dews, personal aquatic trainer at the Oak Brook Park District in Oak Brook, Ill., says a pool provides low-impact exercise that is perfect for any fitness level.
Before you close down your pool for the cooler months, keep your kids active with the following aquatic activities:
1. Sharks and minnows: "A fun game for swimmers of any level," Kockler says. This game keeps kids active as they swim back and forth across the pool attempting to escape the "shark."
Directions: One person is the shark, and the remaining players are minnows. The minnows begin at one end of the pool, holding onto the pool wall. Once the shark calls out, "sharks and minnows," all of the minnows swim to the other end of the pool. The shark attempts to tag players when their heads are above water. If a minnow is tagged, that player becomes a shark and helps tag the remaining minnows in future swims across the pool.
2. Freeze tag: This traditional schoolyard game is even more fun in the water, Kockler says.
Directions: Designate one player as the tagger who swims around trying to tag and freeze the other players. For a fun pool twist, you can unfreeze players by swimming under their legs. Continue playing until the tagger has successfully frozen every player. Then pick a new tagger and begin another round. Ideally, this game should be played in shallow water, where frozen players can touch the ground. If you are in deeper water, frozen players can tread water, just be certain of their swimming ability. And, under no circumstances, should you ever leave the pool unattended.
3. Water volleyball or basketball: Instead of playing these games in the yard, try them in the water for better exercise. "Because water provides a higher level of resistance, children are working their bodies harder playing a game in the pool than if they played the same game on dry land," Dews says.
Directions: Using either a pool volleyball net or basketball hoop, divide players into two equal teams, and play by traditional basketball or volleyball rules.
4. Relay Races: Relay races are a great option for combining pool fun and exercise, Dews says.
Directions: You can hold races using traditional swimming strokes or make the races a little more fun. Try this dolphin relay race: Using beach balls, have kids push their team's ball across the pool using only their nose. Once the swimmer reaches the other side of the pool, the next teammate can take over and head back across.
5. Scavenger Hunt: Scatter a variety of toys and coins throughout the pool for your kids to collect—and let them keep the coins as a fun prize.
Directions: Spread items, such as coins or diving toys, all over the pool while your kids stand at the edge with their eyes closed tight. When all of the items are in the water, call out, "Go!" Children can then swim around the pool collecting items until nothing is left. Whoever grabs the most toys and coins is the winner. Scatter toys that float on the surface for younger children. Once the game is over, be sure to remove all uncollected coins and metal toys to prevent the possibility of staining.
While daily exercise is important for every child, these pool games mix fitness with fun, making it easy for you to keep your kids active even as summer comes to a close. "Often, kids don't even realize they are exercising when they play in a pool," Dews says.
Of course, water safety begins and ends with strict adult supervision. You should never leave children in a swimming pool unattended—even for a brief period.
article from poollifemag.com
Faux Rock Adds Real Style to Natural Pool Designs, Waterfalls, and Caves
by Patti Plummer, Luxury Pools Blog
When a homeowner decides to create an outdoor space that blends seamlessly with the surrounding natural world, rarely do they think faux rocks. "Using a faux product to replace indigenous rock is actually a smart choice because it is lighter and easier to work with and less expensive to ship," says Bruce Riley, owner, RicoRock, Inc.
Some pool designers also prefer this product because they can always obtain the size, shape, and color they want for a particular setting. Cast from natural rock formations, faux boulders give the appearance of real rock. Usually made of composite materials like GFRC (glass fiber reinforced concrete), artificial rock is durable and can be colored to match the grain and texture of various stone types.
Faux rock is ideal for a number of backyard and indoor pool projects, including garden accents, waterfalls, sheet falls, and cascades. Additionally, some designers use it to create otherworldly caves and grottos of varying sizes and shapes. Because of its adaptable nature, faux rock can conform to whatever design is desired, from peaceful hideaways under a waterfall to seemingly endless caverns that include recreation rooms, kitchens, and swim-up bars.
by Eric Herman, Aquamagazine.com
I've long been fascinated by the relationship between swimming pools and other types of recreational and decorative bodies of water, largely because of the way that other aquatic environments have transformed segments of our industry.
One example would be the way large water theme parks have influenced residential aquatic design. It's no secret many residential installations now include systems once only found in waterparks, such as large interactive play structures, elaborate flume slides and even lazy rivers. (It's not likely we'll start seeing wave pools in backyards, but one never knows.)
On the commercial side, a great many property owners have also turned to such features to create what amount to mini-waterparks, an evolution that has led to increased attendance, profitability and functionality for many facilities. (And some of those do have wave pools.)
Fountains represent another area of integration. Growing numbers of pools these days include fountain features in the form of plumes, laminar jets and all manner of waterfalls. In fact, a handful of fountain equipment manufacturers have developed product lines aimed directly at the swimming pool market. One could argue that pools might owe the vanishing edge to fountains, and there's no question that leaping jet deck systems come directly from the world of aquatic ornamentation.
One of the more interesting areas of crossover stems from the world of ponds and streams. The first glimmer of that hybridization came in the form of lagoon style pools; their lush plantings and rocky edges were made to look like natural bodies of water. The advent of artificial rock went on to make "naturalistic" pools affordable for middleclass pool buyers. Today, we see countless examples of custom pools that look very pond-like. Some are convincing, far more really aren't.
On the other side of the equation, many ponds are built with swimming in mind, a trend that comes as a surprise to some. A number of pond builders I know have told me over the years that they've often been asked to deliberately make ponds deep enough for swimming and design them with easy point points of entry and egress. There are ponds with grottos and even some with slides, along with diving rocks and other pool-like features.
In some cases, it's come to the point where it can be tough to draw an exact definition of what separates swimming pools and ponds made for swimming. Pools are often associated with concrete construction, while ponds are typically made with liners covered with rocks. I do think it's safe to say the vast majority of vinyl liner pools bear little resemblance to ponds, but I'm sure there are exceptions to that assumption as well. There are also many man-made ponds built using gunite or shotcrete, so that distinction can be vague. Ponds most often have associated streams and waterfalls, but that's also true of many pools, albeit to a lesser extent.
One place where pools and ponds have remained decidedly separate has been in the realm of water treatment. Pond craft is almost always based on the concept of using natural forms of treatment to maintain water quality, specifically in the form of bogs or constructed wetlands which act as biological filters.
In some ponds, large areas of their bottoms are fitted with under-drain manifolds that draw water through layers of gravel and sand, in effect creating sometimes-massive bio-filters. In these systems, colonies of beneficial bacteria and plant root systems consume compounds that foster the growth of algae and bacteria. It's a necessary approach for ponds that are home to fish and aquatic plants and also preferred by both consumers and professionals who are interested in "sustainable" environments.
By stark contrast, swimming pools have long been treated with potent chemicals that oxidize organic compounds and kill microorganisms. That traditional approach has become the object of concern and even ridicule by some for a variety of reasons, but in all fairness, our industry's approach to treatment has been, I argue, tremendously successful for close to a century.
Fact is, if done properly, both treatment scenarios lead to great water quality both in terms of clarity and bather safety, while if mismanaged can also result in unsightly, smelly water that can be harmful.
Even that seemingly un-crossable divide has been breached over the past two decades in the form of swimming pools that use biological treatment, similar to that used in many ponds, to treat water — using no manufactured chemicals of any kind. The leader in this effort is a firm called BioNova, based in Munich, Germany, that has developed what it calls "natural swimming pools" and has seen its proprietary design used to build thousands of pools across much of Europe.
The firm has garnered a fair share of press due to its unusual approach, but its novel design concept has only recently reached our North American shores. In fact, the first pool of this type built in the U.S. was finished just last summer and is the subject of a feature in this edition of AQUA Architecture, "A Natural First," by designer and installer Jesse Dutra.
In this case, the vessel is very much a swimming pool, made of shotcrete with steps, a deep end and a vanishing edge treatment. It even has an in-floor cleaning system. Moreover, it looks like a swimming pool.
Of course, it's highly unlikely the introduction of these pools will pose any threat to chemical manufacturers, but they do certainly offer an intriguing alternative. I leave it to Jesse to tell the story of this groundbreaking installation. For my part, I urge you to consider the implications of this revolutionary, and yet completely old-fashioned approach to water treatment.