Adding Music to your Pool & Patio
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adding-outdoor-music-to-the-pool
Adding music around a pool makes pool time much more enjoyable, whether you are in the pool, cleaning the pool, or tending to the landscape.

If you already have an in-home stereo system, you could connect outdoor speakers to the receiver, but wiring is difficult and the controls – are inside the house.

The choices are endless for outdoor audio systems, so let’s break it down into a few simple set-ups that you can do yourself without spending thousands.

Speaker Location

outdoor-speaker-zones-smallThe first step is to decide where you would like music to be playing. If your pool is close to the house, or if you have other structures near the pool, hanging outdoor speakers under the roof eave is a popular choice.

When the pool is located a good distance from the house, you may want speakers for pool lounging and seating areas. And for very large backyards with several areas for gathering, you may want to plan your outdoor music system with music ‘zones’, where you can control volume and even music selection, independently.

Outdoor Speaker Selection

When outdoors, music speakers compete with a lot of ambient noise, and don’t gain from reflecting off indoor walls and furniture.

The number of speakers you choose depends on how big of a space you are trying to fill with sound. The volume or loudness depends on speaker size and amplifier / receiver size.

Most outdoor pool systems will have 2-4 speakers, but larger areas could benefit from more speakers, especially if you have separate gathering areas spaced a distance apart.

Bluetooth Rock Speakers

rockustics-rock-speakerWireless Bluetooth speakers allow you to connect your iPod, Tablet or Smartphone or any Bluetooth enabled device, to play your favorite stored music or stream from music services like Pandora or Spotify, or dial in your favorite radio station from their website.

Smaller wireless speakers are rechargeable, while larger ones plug the master speaker into a 115V outlet, which also powers a secondary speaker. Wireless speakers can also receive a wireless signal from the house, if placed within the wifi range.

You could use wireless rock speakers with the Sonos Connect, to create a secondary wifi network, or to expand your home wifi network to the backyard. As a bonus, you can use the Connect to stream music, play internet radio or music stored on a network PC.

Sonos Connect and Connect:Amp

sonos-ampsSonos is a very popular wireless music system for the home, and it’s what I have in my house, and outside on the patio. Easily connect to your PC music files, music streaming services and internet radio. The Sonos App puts you in full control, and the wireless speakers are easily moved from one room to another.

Sonos does not make an outdoor speaker however, but there are two ways around the problem. For my outdoor music, I connected a Sonos Connect:Amp in my garage, and connected speaker wires through the eave, where my outside (Yamaha) patio speakers are mounted.

Another route is to use the Sonos Connect (No Amp), and hook it up to your existing amplifier, receiver, or directly to your internet router. Place it near the pool for a dedicated wifi network with access to online radio, music streaming or a PC music library.

Niles Planter Box Speakers

Niles-Audio-planter-speakerLike Rock Speakers, Planter Box Speakers are designed to be hidden, and in this case, dual purpose! Large planter area accommodates flowers, bushes or tropical plants. Place them at the corners of your pool deck, or on the outside edge of a raised deck area.

Like most quality sounding speakers, Planter Speakers are meant to be wired, with a 2-wire speaker cable run underground inside of 3/4″ conduit. On the other end, they are connected to a receiver or amplifier set up in a protected location.

weatherproof-stereo-volume-controlA popular set-up is to run wires from planter or rock speakers, to the Sonos Connect:Amp, and then control it with your phone or tablet. You can also install an outdoor volume control knob, as shown here from Niles Audio, which also makes some great outdoor sub woofers, if you like to turn up the bass!


Sorry for talking so much about Sonos, but I do love mine! Any $100 receiver will do the job for an outdoor system, especially if you just want to hear the radio, or play a CD collection.

And, unless you’re a serious audiophile, there’s no need to get all caught up in complicated multi-channel systems – just keep it simple like me, with an amp/receiver, some speaker wire and a couple of outdoor speakers mounted under the roof eave, or hidden among the landscape..

 

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Ryan Dornan
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

 

Floods, Fires & Twisters: Natural Pool Disasters II
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lava-flowing-into-pool
As a follow up to an earlier article by the same name, we return to the subject of pools that get in the way of natural disasters.

America ranks as tops in the world for natural disasters. More than any other country, as reported by a 10 year UN study on weather related disasters.

A short photo journal of swimming pools that have weathered the storm, and some that did not fare so well.


fire-icon-istkWILDFIRES:

In this photo below, from AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, wildfires in California burned this indoor pool to the ground, as reported by telegraph.co.uk.wildfire-damage-to-pool-AP-Photo-Rich-Pedroncelli-via-telegraphcouk
The pool below survives the inferno, while the home does not. The pool cover has melted, and the fireplace seems to be screaming. Photo by National Geographic.fire-damaged-pool-national-geographic

tornado-icon-istkTORNADOS:

Tornadoes can develop quickly when conditions are right, and in a matter of minutes touch down with incredible fury. In this case, the tornado sucked the water out of the pool, right through the mesh safety cover, which was on the pool.tornado-sucked-the-water-out-of-this-pool
Eugene Thompson, found his horse in the pool after a tornado; a worse fate could have befallen this fine fellow. Photo Wichita Star, via Kansas.com.
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Tornado in a suburb of Atlanta, GA deposits nearly every kind of debris into the swimming pool. Photo courtesy of NOAA Photo Library.
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earthquake-icon-istkEARTHQUAKES:

Seismic activity can produce powerful forces underground, which cause shifting soils and water tables, as this New Zealand countryman found out first hand. Photo by Mart the Rev.
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Reinforced concrete is pretty strong stuff, but given a strong enough earthquake, stress can cause cracks as the ground ripples and shakes.
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Here’s a video of a “Pool Tsunami”, starting at about 1:00 min, is fairly frightening to watch.  The pool survives the strongest earthquake to hit the region in 50 years.

home-icon-istkFLOODING:

When flood waters from overflowing rivers or tropical storms or hurricanes recede, they leave behind tons of silty brown dirt that can take weeks to clean up. Photo by HealthyWA.
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Aboveground pools do have their advantages! If they are not in the path of rushing water, and as long as waters don’t get too high, they weather the storm.
flooding-west-babylon-ny-sandy-genova

After the water recedes however, there will be a thick blanket of mud all around the pool, with staining to the pool walls. Pool pumps will certainly need to be replaced.flooded-intex-pool

This last photo was titled “pool in neighbor’s yard”; the result of massive flooding after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005.hurricane-katrina-popped-pool

PREPPING THE POOL:

What can you do? Not much. Don’t cover the pool, unless you want to risk damage by flying debris, or burns from hot fire embers.

For heavy winds or flooding, remove any loose items from around the pool, including cleaning tools, toys, furniture and pool cleaners, and store them safely. Loose skimmer lids can be screwed in place or stored indoors.

If your pool pump is removable, move it to higher ground before the waters rise, to save the expense of motor replacement.Turn off all power at the breakers if flooding seems imminent.

There’s not much you can do to protect your pool from natural disasters like wildfires, hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes. Just make sure to keep yourself and your family safe – and don’t worry about the pool. It’ll be fine.

 

davy-davy-davy
Davy Merino
InTheSwim Blog Editor

 

Trends in Swimming Pool Decking
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trends-in-swimming-pool-deckingSwimming pool decks have come a long way from plain ol’ concrete.

Upgrading a pool deck is one of the most popular pool renovation projects, but the array of pool deck options can be dizzying!

In today’s post, we break down pool decking into four distinct types; concrete, tile, wood and natural stone pool decks.

CONCRETE DECKS

Concrete pool decks have the most finish options, in fact with the exception of wood decks, all pool decks have at least a reinforced concrete sub-deck – it’s what you put on top that makes all the difference

colored-concrete-pool-deckColored Concrete: Matte or flat hues can be added to concrete by adding a colorant dye to the mix, or adding a powder or acid stain after the concrete is poured. For blended colors that resemble stone or for color accents or patterns, a colorant is applied to fresh concrete, to dye only certain areas.

 

trends-in-pool-decking--engraved-concreteEngraved Concrete: Using a small concrete saw, the pool deck can be scored or engraved to create stone shapes, leaves, vines or any type of intricate pattern. Engraving is also used to create water drain channels on concrete pool decks with poor drainage.

 

trends-in-pool-decking---sandblasted-concreteSandblasted Concrete: Sandblasting a pool deck will roughen the surface for more traction, but it also imparts a matte finish to the concrete, producing beautiful results, especially for colored or stained concrete. Acid washing a concrete pool deck can produce a similar result; both must be done with care for good results.

 

trends-in-pool-decking--salted-concrete-deck-finishSalted Concrete: After pouring and troweling a pool deck, rock salt is scattered over the surface, and lightly pressed into place. After a day of hardening, the deck is power washed to reveal an attractive pock marked surface. Snow belt pools should seal a rock salt pool deck regularly to prevent freeze damage during winter.

 

trends-in-pool-decking---colored-and-polished-concretePolished Concrete: For pool decks that are quite level and hard, polishing can be an option to produce a lustrous sheen. Adding colorful aggregate can produce a floor with the look of Terrazzo. Polishing concrete is done after the deck has cured fully, and should be sealed regularly to keep it looking good.

 

trends-in-pool-decking--stamped-concreteStamped Concrete: While the concrete is still wet, large rubber stamps are placed and pressed to form stone shapes, brick patterns, even pine plank imprints. Dozens of patterns to choose from, with colors chosen to match the material that is being simulated.

 

trends-in-pool-decking---tiled-or-stenciled-decksTiled Concrete:  More commonly called stenciled concrete, installers make a tiled pattern over prepped concrete with heavy duty tape. They then spray on a colored cement over the existing deck, and knock it down with trowels, similar to a Kool Deck. The tape is then pulled up to reveal the ‘mortar joints’ between the tile.

 

trends-in-pool-decking---paver-decksPatio Pavers: A paver pool deck uses interlocking patio pavers made of colored concrete, usually in shades of brown or red. Pavers are installed on a 1″ bed of polymer sand, over top of 6″ of stone dust, or other sturdy sub-deck. Heavier pavers are used around the outside deck edge to hold it all together.

 

trends-in-pool-decking---exposed-aggregate-concreteExposed Aggregate: This method lays a fresh concrete deck a particular size and color stone, glass or ceramic aggregate added to the mix . The top layer of cement is washed away, revealing the surface of the aggregate rock. Smooth stones are used for bare feet comfort.

 

PORCELAIN TILE DECKS

trends-in-pool-decking---tile-decksA good way to upgrade a pool deck is to place outdoor porcelain or ceramic tiles on a bed of thinset mortar. Pool deck tiles are available in hundreds of shapes and colors, and have available decorative accents, mosaics and trim tile sets to complete a unified patio or pool deck design. Finish with a waterproof, anti-skid sealer.

WOOD POOL DECKS

trends-in-pool-decking---wood-deck-aExotic hardwoods like Ipe wood are popular, but also is regular pressure treated pine 2×4’s. A wood deck has timeless appeal, adding warmth and comfort to any pool deck. Partial wood decks can occupy 1 or 2 sides of a pool, or be built on top of a concrete deck as a raised lounge area.

NATURAL STONE DECKS

trends-in-pool-decking---travertine-stone-deckNatural Stone also has a timeless appeal, and nothing will last longer. Natural stones such as flagstone, limestone or travertine are placed over a solid sub-base of concrete or stone dust. After placement of a stone deck, the joints between are usually filled with mortar, and a sealer applied to protect the luster and color.


So you see ~ pool deck choices are numerous, and if you want to upgrade your pool look, it’s hard to change the pool itself, but the pool deck can be easily transformed with color and texture.

Call your local pool deck contractor for more information and pricing, which can vary from $10-$25 per square foot for a custom pool deck.

 

davy-davy-davy
Davy Merino
InTheSwim Blog Editor

 

 

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Favorite Take Amazing Underwater Pool Photos
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how-to-take-amazing-underwater-photos-istkOne of the best photo albums I’ve ever flipped through is my cousin’s summer photo collections, filled with underwater photos of kids, friends and family.

Over the years, she has gotten really good at pool pictures. So I asked if she could share tips on underwater photography.

She wishes to remain nameless, but her secrets are now revealed ~ 5 tips for taking amazing pool photos!

camera-iconGet the Right Light

“The most important element is your lighting, so I try to shoot mid-day, or when the sun is directly shining on the pool. If the sun is coming at an angle, be sure to shoot towards the lighted side of the pool.” she said. I asked her if she ever did any night pool pictures, and how do they turn out? “You can actually get some very eerie pictures, if that’s what you’re going for, by shooting at night with the pool light or patio light to give a glow, but…I don’t normally…” OK, I get it, take your pictures in broad daylight, Let’s move on.

camera-iconStay at the Surface

“The lighting is best in the first two feet below the surface, and I love to capture a colorful reflection from the water’s under-surface.” So no deep end photos, I asked? “Sure, you can shoot in the deep end, but the deeper you go, the more the picture tends to wash out; you lose color and contrast.”

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camera-iconGet Close-Up

Far away pool pictures? No, no. “Get Close-Up to your subjects, fill the entire frame with them.” This also helps avoid the loss of sharpness by taking pictures through water. “The farther away you are, the blurrier the pictures are”. Action photos, or several subjects in the picture may require more distance, but still try to fill the frame with your subjects. and remember to move yourself actively, underwater, to line up the best shots.

camera-iconReady, Set, Action!

Favorite poses, or action type of pictures? I asked. She laughed and said “I always do some sky diver poses, where I tell them to act like their falling through the air, with arms outstretched. Or sometimes I tell them to act like they are floating weightless in space”.

girl-and-dog-underwater-pool-istk

She also likes underwater somersaults, the Superman (wall push-off), or any dry land pose that can be done underwater. “Bubbles from a jump in the pool, or while sliding into the pool can be dramatic, but you sometimes have to take ten shots to get one good photo”.

camera-iconUnderwater Props

Be careful about bringing anything sharp into the pool, especially for vinyl pools. No glass, metal or oily things (like bicycles). “We’ve done pool pictures with hats, tennis racquets, or a skateboard, but nothing big. Two years ago I took some photos with the kids in Halloween costumes, and I took shots of my husband in his business suit, striking a pose underwater – he put it on his business card.” Lol, artsy pictures of people underwater in clothes is actually an entire business for photographers such as Elena Kalis.

camera-iconSpecial Pool Photography Gear?

I asked if there was any special gear that is needed for great underwater pool photos? “Not really, I use a snorkel sometimes, or you can just hold your breath”. What camera do you use? I asked. “Canon DSLR, with a wide angle lens, in a waterproof case of course” she said. “But you can use an iPhone, in a waterproof case, I hear they take great pictures underwater”. Do you use a flash? I wanted to know. “The flash on most phones or cameras is not bright enough, underwater, to see much difference really…”. Professionals use underwater strobe lights and/or large lamps on the deck shining into the pool.

camera-iconOther Pool Photography Tips?

“When photographing children, and also adults, remind them to open their eyes and smile, and to look directly at the camera. Group shots are great, but you may need to take a dozen shots to get one where everyone has eyes open and big smiles, so keep clicking the shutter! Oh, and tell them no ‘puffer fish’…”(cheeks full of air and pursed lips).

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Thanks, Cuz! Tried and true methods to take amazing underwater pool photos. If you have a camera, get a waterproof case, and some willing subjects – and get started on your own photo album of cool pool pictures!

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Sheryl Sollis
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

 

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21 Swimming Pool Wall Mural Ideas
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John Pugh Art

John Pugh Art

A swimming Pool Mural is a painted design inside of a pool, but a Pool Wall Mural is outside of a pool, on an adjacent wall or fence.

I’ve talked all about planning, prepping and painting pool murals before, but today we look at pool wall mural ideas.

There’s amazing possibilities, as these 21 pool owners below demonstrate – and because pool wall or fence murals are not underwater, it’s easier, cheaper and lasts longer than pool murals.

Pool Wall Murals

Richard Ancheta, Montreal

Richard Ancheta, Montreal

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Joef Design, Netherlands

Landmark Holiday Beach Resort, Panama City, Fl

Landmark Holiday Beach Resort, Panama City, Fl

Michele E. Duffy Murals, UK and Spain

Michele E. Duffy Murals, UK and Spain

KOA campground pool, Fiesta Key, Fl

KOA campground pool, Fiesta Key, Fl

Vinyl Pool Wall Mural

Vinyl Pool Wall Mural

Jim Gardner, Muralist, Phoenix

Jim Gardner, Muralist, Phoenix

Jim Gardner, Muralist, Phoenix

Jim Gardner, Muralist, Phoenix

Jim Gardner, Muralist, Phoenix

Jim Gardner, Muralist, Phoenix

Nicole Mann Decorative Painting

Nicole Mann Decorative Painting

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Paul Lewing Tile Wall Art

Paul Lewing Tile Wall Art

4 Quarters Villa, Bali

4 Quarters Villa, Bali

Govert Muijs, Dutch Visual Artist

Govert Muijs, Dutch Visual Artist

Vinyl Pool Wall Mural

Vinyl Pool Wall Mural

Vinyl Pool Wall Mural

Vinyl Pool Wall Mural

Creative Art Design, California

Creative Art Design, California

Debbie Fermanian, Creative Designs by Debra

Debbie Fermanian, Creative Designs by Debra

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Amber Dawn Creations, California

Amber Dawn Creations, California

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Daniel Joyce Design

Daniel Joyce Design

Pintura Mural Barcelona

Pintura Mural Barcelona

Donna M. Laconte, Painted Lady

Donna M. Laconte, Painted Lady


These are great pool wall mural and pool fence mural ideas. You may have a muralist in your area who can help, just search online for a wall muralist near me, or visit findamuralist.com to get started!

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Davy Merino
InTheSwim Blog Editor

 

 

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Favorite Meet Your USA Olympic Swim Team
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USA Swim Team Members Rio 2016; Tom Pennington/Getty Images

USA Swim Team Members Rio 2016; Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Olympic Swimming Trials were completed July 3rd, and the roster for Team USA has been announced for the Rio Olympic games in August.

Over 30 new members have joined the Olympic swim team this time around. In The Swim is proud of our USA Olympic swimmers and is backing them all the way to Rio!

May I have the envelope, please ~ Ladies and Gentlemen; may I present ~  your 2016 USA Olympic Swim Team members – 22 women and 25 men who have swam their way to the top!

Cammile Adams

camille-adamsFrom Cypress, Texas, she will be competing in Rio in the 200m Butterfly.

Qualified for second U.S. Olympic Team with a win in the 200m fly at 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials … Won silver in the 200m fly at the 2015 FINA World Championships … Won gold in the 200m fly at 2014 Pan Pacs … Qualified for 2014 Pan Pacs with a win in the 200m fly at Phillips 66 Nationals … Qualified for the 2013 FINA World Championships with a win in the 200m fly at Phillips 66 Nationals … Finished fifth in the 200m fly at the 2012 Olympic Games in London …

Nathan Adrian

nathan-adrian-2From Bremerton, WA, he will be competing in Rio in the 100m Freestyle, 400m Freestyle Relay.

Winner of the 50m and 100m free at 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials to qualify for his third Olympic Team … National champ in the 50m free at 2015 AT&T Winter Nationals … Won gold in the 400m medley relay and silver in the 50m free at the 2015 FINA World Championships … At 2014 AT&T Winter Nationals, became the first man to win the 50y, 100y and 200y free in a single Nationals … Won gold as part of the 400m medley relay team, took silver in the 100m free and bronze in the 50m free at 2014 Pan Pacs …

Haley Anderson

haley-anderson-2From Granite Bay, CA, she will be competing in Rio in the 10K Open Water.

Qualified for her second Olympic Team with a ninth-place finish in the 10K at the 2015 FINA World Championships … Also repeated as gold medalist in the 5K at 2015 Worlds … Qualified for the 2015 FINA World Championships with a runner-up finish in the 10K and a win in the 5K at 2015 Open Water Nationals … Gold medalist in the open water 10K at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships in Maui, Hawaii… Won a gold medal in the 5K at the 2014 Open Water National Championships …

Kathleen Baker

kathleen-bakerFrom Winston-Salem, NC, she will be competing in Rio in the 100m Backstroke.

Finished second in the 100m back at 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials to earn a spot on her first U.S. Olympic Team … Runner-up in the 200y IM at the 2016 NCAA Championships … Silver medalist in the 200m free relay and was sixth in the 100m back at 2014 FINA Short Course Worlds in Doha, Qatar … Qualified for 2014 Pan Pacs with a runner-up finish in the 200m back at Phillips 66 Nationals …

Gunnar Bentz

gunnar-bentzFrom Atlanta, GA, he will be competing in Rio in the 800m Freestyle Relay.

Finished fifth in the 200m free at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials to qualify for his first Olympic Team … Won a pair of medals at the 2015 Pan American Games … Won four medals at the 2013 FINA World Junior Championships – gold in the 200m IM and the 400m IM, bronze in the 800m free relay and the mixed 400m medley relay.

Elizabeth Beisel

elizabeth-beiselFrom Saunderstown, RI, she will be competing in Rio in the 400m Individual Medley.

Won the 400m IM and took bronze in the 200m back at 2014 Pan Pacs … Qualified for 2014 Pan Pacs with a win in the 400m IM at Phillips 66 Nationals … Also finished fourth in the 400m free and fifth in the 200m IM … Won bronze in the 400m IM at the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona …

Jack Conger

jack-congerFrom Rockville, MD, he will be competing in Rio in the 800m Freestyle Relay.

Posted three top-four finishes at 2016 Olympic Trials … Qualified for first Olympic roster with a third-place finish in the 200m free … Runner-up in the 100m free, 100m fly and 200m fly at 2015 Phillips 66 Nationals … Three-time medalist at the 2015 World University Games … Set American record in the 200y fly in a time trial at the 2015 Big 12 Championships … Gold medalist in the 200m at the 2013 World University Games.

Kevin Cordes

kevin-cordesFrom Naperville, IL, he will be competing in Rio in the 100m Breaststroke, 200m Breaststroke.

Won gold in the 400m medley relay, silver in the 200m breast and bronze in the 50m breast at the 2015 FINA World Championships … Won gold as part of the 400m medley relay at 2014 Pan Pacs … Won the 200m breast and set a U.S. Open and meet record in the prelims at 2014 Phillips 66 Nationals … Also took second in the 50m breast and third in the 100m breast … Set American records in the 100y and 200y breast at the 2014 NCAA Championships …

Maya DiRado

maya-diradoFrom Santa Rosa, CA, she will be competing in Rio in the 400m Individual Medley, 200m Individual Medley.

Won the 400m IM at U.S. Olympic Team Trials to qualify for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team … Won silver in the 400m IM at the 2015 FINA World Championships … Won gold in the 200m IM and silver in the 400m IM at 2014 Pan Pacs … Finished second in the 100m fly at 2014 Phillips 66 Nationals to earn a spot on the Pan Pacs roster … Won gold in the 800m free relay with a prelim swim at the 2013 FINA World Championships …

Caeleb Dressel

caeleb-dresselFrom Green Cove Springs, FL, he will be competing in Rio in the 100m Freestyle, 400m Freestyle Relay.

Runner-up in the 100m free at 2016 Olympic Trials to earn his first Olympic Games berth … 2016 NCAA champion in the 50y and 100y free for Florida … Claimed national titles in the 50m and 100m free at the 2015 Phillips 66 National Championships … 2015 NCAA champion in the 50y free at the University of Florida … Won six medals at the 2013 FINA World Junior Championships.

Conor Dwyer

conor-dwyer-2From Winnetka, IL, he will be competing in Rio in the 400m Freestyle, 200m Freestyle, 800m Freestyle Relay.

National champion in the 200m and 400m free at 2015 AT&T Winter Nationals … Won silver in the 800m free relay at the 2015 FINA World Championships … Won gold as part of the 800m free relay and finished fourth in the 200m free at 2014 Pan Pacs … Was second in the 200m free and fourth in the 100m free at 2014 Phillips 66 Nationals to earn a spot on the Pan Pacs roster …

Anthony Ervin

anthony-irvinFrom Valencia, CA, he will be competing in Rio in the 400m Freestyle, 200m Freestyle, 800m Freestyle Relay.

Finished 2nd in the 50m free at 2014 Pan Pacs…Won the 50m free at 2014 Phillips 66 Nationals for his first national title since 2001 … Recorded six podium finishes in the 50m and 100m free during 2013 FINA World Cup competition … Won silver in the 400m free relay at the 2013 FINA World Championships … Qualified for the 2013 FINA World Championships with a win in the 50m free at Phillips 66 Nationals.

Jimmy Feigen

jimmy-feigenFrom San Antonio, TX, he will be competing in Rio in the 400m Freestyle Relay.

Won three relay medals at the 2014 FINA Short Course World Championships in Doha, Qatar … Earned a spot on the 2014 Pan Pacs roster with a third-place finish in the 100m free at Phillips 66 Nationals … Won silver in the 100m free and the 400m free relay at the 2013 FINA World Championships …

Hali Flickinger

hali-flickingerFrom Spring Grove, PA, she will be competing in Rio in the 200m Butterfly.

National champion in the 200m fly at the 2015 Phillips 66 National Championships and added top-three finishes in the 200m free, 400m free and 200m back … Won bronze in the 400m IM and 200m fly and gold in the 800m free relay at the 2015 World University Games … Finished third in the 200m fly at 2014 Phillips 66 Nationals to earn a spot on the Pan Pacs roster.

Missy Franklin

missy-franklinFrom Centennial, CO, she will be competing in Rio in the 200m Freestyle, 800m Freestyle Relay.

Winner of the 100m and 200m back and runner-up in the 200m free at 2015 AT&T Winter Nationals … Won silver in the 200m back and bronze in the 200m free at the 2015 FINA World Championships … Won gold as part of the 800m free relay team, had two second-place finishes as part of the 400m free and 400m medley relay teams at 2014 Pan Pacs… Won national titles in the 100m and 200m back and 100m free at 2014 Phillips 66 Nationals … Set the American record in the 200y free at the 2014 NCAA Championships … Earned five podium finishes at the AT&T Winter Nationals … Won a women’s record six gold medals at the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona  … Set a FINA World Championships meet record and led the 400m free relay to an American record … Now has nine FINA World Championships gold medals, more than any other woman, ever.

Townley Haas

townley-haasFrom Richmond, VA, he will be competing in Rio in the 200m Freestyle, 800m Freestyle Relay.

Qualified for his first Olympic Games with a win in the 200m free at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials … Set an American record in the 200y free en route to the NCAA title in the event in 2016 … Also won the 2016 NCAA title in the 500y free.

Molly Hannis

molly-hannisFrom Santa Rosa, CA, she will be competing in Rio in the 200m Breaststroke.

Runner-up in the 200m breast at 2015 Phillips 66 Nationals … Won the 100y breast title and was runner-up in the 200y breast at 2014 AT&T Winter Nationals … Earned a third-place finish in the 100y breast at the 2013 AT&T Winter Nationals.

Ryan Held

ryan-heldFrom Springfield, IL, he will be competing in Rio in the 400m Freestyle Relay.

Member of the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle relays that took the ACC championship titles. At the NCAA Championships he was a member of the 400 and 800 meter freestyle relays that placed 2nd to earn All-American honors. He was also named a second team All-American in the 50 and 100 meter freestlye.

Connor Jaeger

connor-jaegerFrom Fair Haven, NJ, he will be competing in Rio in the 400m Freestyle, 1500m Freestyle.

Earned a spot on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team roster with a win at Olympic Trials in the 400m free … Won silver in the 1500m free at the 2015 FINA World Championships in American-record fashion … At 2014 AT&T Winter Nationals, won the 1650y free in an American-record swim of 14:23.52 and also won the 500y free and took second in the 400y IM … Won gold in the 1500m free and bronze in the 400m and 800m free at 2014 Pan Pacs … Won the 1500m free at 2014 Phillips 66 Nationals … 2014 NCAA champion in the 1650y free …

Chase Kalisz

chase-kaliszFrom Bel Air, MD, he will be competing in Rio in the 400m Freestyle, 1500m Freestyle.

Winner of the 400m IM at the Olympic Trials to earn a spot on the U.S. roster for the 2016 Olympic Games … Took bronze in the 400m IM at the 2015 FINA World Championships … Finished 3rd in the 400m IM at 2014 Pan Pacs…Was the runner-up in the 400m IM and took third in the 200m fly at 2014 Phillips 66 Nationals to earn a spot on the Pan Pacs roster … Set an American record in the 400y IM at 2014 NCAA finals.

Lilly King

lilly-kingFrom Evansville, IN, she will be competing in Rio in the 100m Breaststroke, 200m Breaststroke.

Runner-up in the 100m breast at 2015 Phillips 66 Nationals … Finished sixth in the 100m breast at 2014 Phillips 66 Nationals and clinched a spot on the 2014-15 USA Swimming National Team … Gold medalist in the 100m breast at the 2014 Junior Pan Pacific Championships … Two-time medalist at 2013 Speedo Winter Junior Nationals.

Katie Ledecky

katie-ledeckyFrom Bethesda, MD, she will be competing in Rio in the 400m Freestyle, 200m Freestyle, 800m Freestyle Relay.

Set 11th career world record at the 2016 Arena Pro Swim Series at Austin, swimming the 800m free in 8:06.68 on Jan. 17 … Won five gold medals at the 2015 FINA World Championships, becoming the first swimmer to win 200-, 400-, 800-, and 1500-meter freestyles in a major competition … Also won gold in the 800m free relay and broke her own world records in the 800m and 1500m free … At 2014 AT&T Winter Nationals, won the 200y, 500y and broke her own American record in the 1650y free … At the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships, became the first woman to win four individual gold medals as she topped the podium in the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m free and added gold in the 800m free relay … Set a world record in the 400m free at 2014 Phillips 66 Nationals … Also won national titles in the 200m free and 800m free to secure a spot on the Pan Pacs roster …

Jay Litherland

jay-litherlandFrom Alpharetta, GA, he will be competing in Rio in the 400m Individual Medley.

Was second in the 400m IM at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials to earn a spot on the Olympic Team … Won gold in the 400m IM at the 2015 World University Games … Finished fourth in the 400m IM at 2014 Phillips 66 Nationals … Won bronze in the 800m free relay (prelims) at the 2013 FINA World Junior Championships

Ryan Lochte

ryan-lochteFrom Daytona Beach, FL, he will be competing in Rio in the 800m Freestyle Relay, 200m Individual Medley.

Won gold in the 200m IM and 400m medley relay and silver in the 800m free relay at the 2015 FINA World Championships … Won a Team USA-best eight medals (1 gold, 4 silver, 3 bronze) at the 2014 FINA Short Course World Championships in Doha, Qatar … Won gold as part of the 800m free relay team and silver 100m fly at 2014 Pan Pacs … Won the 200m IM, was second in the 100m free and third in the 200m at 2014 Phillips 66 Nationals to earn a trip to Pan Pacs … Named the 2013 FINA Male Athlete of the Year for Swimming … Won three gold medals at the 2013 FINA World Championships.

Click below to see the rest of the US Olympic Swimmers for Rio!

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Favorite Pool Chores for Children
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pool-chores-for-children
I’ve been chuckling at this post title since we added it to the calendar, and now finally today I will share some advice on age appropriate pool care tasks for children.

These don’t involve electricity or equipment adjustments, and also remember to keep pool chemicals out of reach of children. With those caveats in mind, here are some pool chores for children!

Clean Tiles & Skimmers: This was one of my earliest pool chores when I was a kid. People used a lot of tanning oil back then I guess. If your tiles and inside skimmer walls get gunky, it can be scrubbed off with a pool tile cleaner and a Scrubby Mitt. For extreme cases, using an enzyme pool treatment will prevent scum lines around the pool, year round!

pool-chores-for-children-3Brush and Skim Pool: For kids big enough to handle the a pool pole, skimming and brushing the pool each week not only improves water clarity, but is a great bit of exercise, too! Be sure to provide your helpers with a good pool brush and a nice leaf rake (bag type of skimmer net).

Empty Bags and Baskets: Pool cleaner debris bags is another great pool chore for children. Just show them once (or twice) how to gently remove the bag, and where to empty the leaves, and how to put it back on (or in) the pool cleaner. And if your kids aren’t scared of bugs, they can also empty the skimmer baskets. Show them how to remove the baskets, where to dump it, and to always replace the lid safely.

Vacuum the Pool: Vacuuming the pool is something anyone can do. The hardest part is priming the vac hose, but not hard at all for the son of a pool man! It’s so easy, a 6 year old can do it! Here’s a cute video of the son of Marcus Sheridan, of River Pools, showing how he vacuums his backyard pool.

Clean the Deck: A fast way to clean a pool deck is to use a 5-gal bucket and douse the deck with chlorinated water, but that may be too strenuous for most kids. A rechargeable or electric leaf blower however can be used regularly by kids. Keep the deck clean, and your pool stays cleaner!

Water Testing: Water testing is not a difficult task to train a child of 6 or 7. They shouldn’t be handling pool chemicals, but can test the water 2-3x per week, using test strips or a test kit, and record the chemical levels for you in a pool log book, or on the kitchen message board.

pool-log-bookPool Log Book: Such fun for a detail oriented child, who can keep a record of pool chemical levels, pool temperature, pool filter pressure and pool water level. He or she can also note any pool cleaning chores done. At a glance, you can review the log book and see when you need to add chemicals or water, backwash the filter, or inspect any problem noted.

 


Kids can take over nearly every aspect of pool maintenance. It’s something they can take ownership of, or be accountable for, which builds self esteem. They will also pick up some technical knowledge along the way.

So go on, put your kids to work around the pool! Mwahaha!

 

davy-davy-davy
Davy Merino
InTheSwim Blog Editor

 

Favorite Mommy & Me Swim Class at Home
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mommy-and-me-swim-classMommy & Me swim classes are very popular programs for city pools, YMCA’s and community pools.

Parent/Child swim is for infants and toddlers, so let’s not call them swim lessons, they’re really water familiarity and safety training.

Splashing, singing and playing in the water, with basic floating skills and breath control are the goals.

In parent/child swim lessons, children ages 6 months to 36 months participate with a parent in the water. A low student-teacher ratio allows participants to safely develop skills and confidence in the water. Skills taught include: pool safety, using flotation devices correctly, skin and sun safety and safe boating; enjoying family time in a water environment; acclimating to the water and getting wet; breath control, sipping and expelling, submerging safely; and handling a child in deep water are components of the program. - Taylor Bend YMCA

In some ways, the Mommy & Me (or Parent/Child) classes are as much an education for the parent as it is for the child.

Contact your local pool for professional instruction, or with study on the subject, you could put together a water babies group at home.

STEP ONE: GET A GROUP

Contact other parents of children the same age as yours and float the idea as a weekly water adventure for infants or toddlers.

Come up with a regular day and time that works for everyone, and schedule out 6 sessions, or six weeks in a row, all at once.

moms-and-babes-in-the-pool
It needn’t be a large group, smaller groups of 2 – 4 is more manageable. Both parent and child will be in the water together, the entire time.

STEP TWO: GET READY

For Baby: Swim Diapers, Sunscreen, Hat. Well rested and fed.
For Parent: Swimsuit, Sunscreen, Hat, Towels, Dry clothes for baby.

Other supplies that are useful are flat foam pool floats or an oversized pool raft that babies can sit on (supported by parent).

The pool water should be warm for water babies, say around 85°, or even a bit warmer. Turn up the heater, or wait until water temperature rises naturally.

STEP THREE: GET A PLAN

Have a set of activities for the 30 minute class, which should be age appropriate. Mommy & Me classes tend to focus on training parents safe ways to introduce a child to water, teaching such things as:

  1. Proper infant / toddler Holds by parent
  2. Floating on the Back (supported by parent)
  3. Basic Motoring, kicking and sculling
  4. Breath Control under the surface
  5. Safe Submersion and Rolling onto back

1mom-and-baby-in-pool-istkInitial goals for infant and toddlers are not to swim, but rather acclimation and comfort in the water. In later lessons, you can work in more advanced skills like  breath control, back floating, and eventually rolling from a front float to a back float, safe submersion to find air at the surface, and how to reach walls, steps and ladders.

But don’t just wing it – you’ve got to study-up before the first class. A few recommended reading resources are listed below:

How to Teach Your Baby to Swim, book by Douglas Doman,
Teaching Children to Swim, online article by Beth Jenkins
Infant Swimming, diagrams and articles by “Dad”
InfantSwim.com, Infant Self Rescue (ISR) Resource


Spending time with babes in arms is always quality time. And babies love the water, and most take to it naturally.

Just remember to keep their safety first, and always have a solid hold of them while around the pool.

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Dana Katz
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

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How to Get Kids into the Pool!
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how-to-get-kids-into-the-pool-istk
A beautiful summer day, a warm pool awaiting just steps away in the backyard, and kids be like, ‘meh’. Sound familiar?

Most kids do enjoy a pool, but with so many modern distractions, you might have to lobby on behalf of your pool with some fun activity.

Here’s a few sure-fire tips to get kids into the pool this summer.

Weekly Pool Parties

Not a big pool party, just a regular time each week where you have lunch or dinner by the pool, or games in the pool. Just you and the kids – your own little party.

To make it more exciting, invite a few of your child’s friends from school or around the block to join in the short soiree.

Weekly Swim Lessons

We’ve suggested before that every child should have a full set of (8-12) swim lessons each year, until they develop full swimming and water safety skills. Many parents don’t feel qualified or may get better results from lessons outside the home, but it’s not hard to teach your kids how to swim.

Take a look at these swim lesson plans we wrote up a few years ago, and spend some quality time each week in the pool, mastering swim basics and later, swim stroke development.

Underwater Photos

Underwater cameras are still available at drug stores and novelty shops, or you can get a waterproof phone case, to take fun underwater photography.

underwater-photo-istkThen plug into your computer and download the pictures from the phone (or take the disposable underwater camera back to the drug store for developing). Underwater pool pictures are really fun for everyone.

Fun Floats and Pool Toys

Caution, here comes the sales pitch, because we just happen to have a huge selection of fun inflatable floats and durable pool toys that will keep your kids busy in the pool for hours.

One of my favorite pool floats is the Aqua Rocker, or the new inflatable jumbo Pizza Slices. And for pool toys, you can’t go wrong with dive sticks, pool balls or just a few pool noodles.

Pool Water Sports Games

Pool Sports Games include pool basketball, volleyball and water polo. For kids of all ages, and everyone already knows how to play!

I very recently wrote all about pool games in 3 price ranges, from budget games to high end pool water sports games.

Free Fun & Games

You don’t need to spend any money at all to have fun in the pool. Younger kids can use some direction to help them play all those fun games in the pool that don’t require equipment or complicated rules. And remember, it’s twice as much fun if mom or dad gets in the pool too!

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You could have a session of Marco Polo for starters, then proceed to a rousing game of Sharks & Minnows. How about a game of Freeze Tag, or a Cannonball Contest?

Friends, Family & Neighbors

Finally, invite your family, friends and neighbors who have children the same age as your kids. It’s a good way to show your kids that you also enjoy the pool.

When your friends, family or neighbors come over with kids in swim suits and towels, it’s hard for any kid to resist jumping in the pool! Relax about ‘entertaining’ your guests, but watch the swimmers closely.


If none of these tips encourages your kid to get into the pool, try throwing your pocket change into the pool. If that doesn’t work, may I suggest a complete ban on electronic devices for the summer? 😉

 

davy-davy-davy
Davy Merino
InTheSwim Blog Editor

 

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Landscape Lighting Tips from the Pros
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landscape-lighting-around-the-poolLandscape lighting is one of those details that can really make a backyard… shine!

Use landscape lighting to accentuate various features; plants/trees, outdoor art, water features or walkways.


lightbulb-icon-istkUSE MORE THAN ONE LIGHT

"If you wish to highlight a single item in your garden like a statue, gazing ball or fountain, you should consider using a few landscape lighting fixtures with lower intensity bulbs. Place these at various angles and distances. A single bright light shining directly on the object will create harsh shadows." Sandra Peterson, HGTV.com

lightbulb-icon-istkMAKE A SKETCH OF THE YARD

"After you have defined your reasons for wanting to add landscape lighting, sketch your yard. Include in the sketch existing lights, buildings, benches, trees and shrubs, as well as the vegetation and decorations in the garden. Each of these items will reflect light or absorb it. Estimate the height of each of the objects, especially the foliage." Sandra Peterson, HGTV.com

lightbulb-icon-istkHIDE THE SPOT LIGHTS

"In order to hide light fixtures so they're not noticeable day or night, pile rocks around the fixture or use light shields. At night you'll see the light peeking out from the rocks, giving its magical look to the stone, and nobody gets glare in their eye, no matter how they look at the fountain." - Michael Sestak, Designer

lightbulb-icon-istkAVOID LIGHT POLLUTION

"Aim lights carefully. Position lights at night and check their position frequently.

Shield bulbs. Use fixtures that have reflectors and shielding to concentrate light where you want it.

Minimize wattage. Higher wattage will create harsher light without improving aesthetics or increasing safety. 

Control the light. Separately zoned lights with timers, controls, dimmers, or motion sensors will turn on lights only when needed." 

- Kelly Roberson, Better Homes & Gardens

lightbulb-icon-istkADD LIGHT, NOT ENERGY

"One of the simplest ways to save on electricity costs is to use a photocell, when it becomes dark or daylight, the photocell automatically turns the lights on and off. Another common type of control is a timer that turns the lights on and off at specific times." Joe Rey-Barreau, American Lighting Assn

lightbulb-icon-istkA LITTLE LIGHT GOES A LONG WAY

"When laying out your project, remember a little light goes a long way outdoors. I see this happen a lot with path lighting, folks will place fixtures six to eight feet apart when lighting a sidewalk, and they end up using 10 fixtures for a 50- to 60-foot path. That path can easily be illuminated with three to four fixtures." - Lew Waltz, Hadco Lighting

lightbulb-icon-istkHOW DOES IT LOOK FROM THE HOUSE?

"What's it look like from the inside? Consider how patio spaces, gardens and pathways look like from inside your home. Light gardens or shrubbery that can be seen from living or dining rooms give a room-expanding view to the outside at night." - Mark Raissen, Lamps Plus

lightbulb-icon-istkDOWNLIGHTING OR UPLIGHTING?

"Mount shielded bullet fixtures up in taller trees to shine down, like moonlight, on a shorter tree or nearby shrubs. The downlight passes through branches and leaves, casting an interesting pattern of shadows. For a backlit effect, put the light source between the object you want to highlight and a wall or fence." - Lloyd Reeder, Greenlee Lighting

lightbulb-icon-istkMAKE THE POOL A REFLECTING POND

"Low lights on the far end of the pool, pointing away from the pool, to highlight a focal point, or to simply wash across the back fence, can make a soothing glow across the pool, when viewed from inside the house or on the back patio." - Janet Strait, Lightscapers, inc.

If your backyard is dark at night, make your pool pop with a few well placed lights to create visual interest or highlight focal points, and also improve pool safety by lighting up dark areas.

dana-katz
Dana Katz
InTheSwim Staff Blogger