The New Science of Swimming

Welcome back, students of swimming. Our first topic this semester is some new science behind the benefits of swimming.

I have lectured before on joint pain and swimming; how the water adds resistance yet also cushions the body, for a low impact, yet impactful, water workout.

We also learned that swimming burns more calories than nearly any other activity, and can be the most efficient way of toning muscles and shaping the physique.

Yes, swimming is great exercise and good for the body. The cardiovascular and respiratory benefits of swimming are well established, but did you also know that swimming is good for the mind?

A Pool Prescription

Recent reports by health and wellness researchers brings to light the many mental health benefits that come from regular water exercise. And many doctors are now prescribing swimming as a form of aquatic therapy – but not just for lower back pain, arthritis or for heart health, but also as mental health therapy.

Guidelines published in the UK for Chief Medical Officers, advise that adults aged 19–64 years should aim for 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity in bouts of 10 minutes or more. Increase your heart rate for periods of about 10 minutes, done about 15 times per week, is an average exercise prescription.

You may recall our study of the correlation between depression and swimming, and how swimming stimulates brain chemicals that promote nerve cell growth. You can actually replace those lost brain cells by regular swimming!

From the article The Real, Scientific Benefits of Swimming, Heather Ansell points out that chronic stress can lead to brain cell loss, but that brain cells can be regenerated through swimming and other forms of water exercise!

According to a 2014 study in Australia, Dr. Howard Carter and team found that simply being immersed in water sends more blood flow to the brain. Essentially, the pressure of the water pushes more blood up into your head. The increased blood and oxygen improves cognitive function, mood and clarity of thought.

Swimming makes you smarter and happier, by growing your brain. Swimming increases the blood flow to the hippocampus region of the brain, which regenerates the brain cells lost each day. Researchers also see promising results in swimming as prevention and treatment for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Swimming Elevates the Mood

Swimming and water exercise makes you feel good, producing a ‘swimmer’s high’ afterwards that also helps with getting a good night of sleep.

Exercise affects serotonin levels in the blood. Serotonin produces ANP, a stress-reducing hormone that controls a brain’s response to anxiety and stress. With regular swimming or other forms of vigorous pool exercise, you can feel calmer, happier and serene.

Just floating around in the pool is not enough, you need to break-a-sweat, be out-of-breath and feel your heart pumping a little bit. And if your muscles are somewhat sore afterward, that’s a sign of a good workout! Remember that I’m not a medical doctor, consult yours for a personal pool exercise plan.

Swimming produces feelings of calm and well-being, for hours after water exercise. It may not come at first, and won’t come at all unless you exert enough energy to increase your heart rate and oxygen uptake for several minutes at a time. But the feeling of ‘well-being’ or ‘swimmer’s high’ is real, as measured by scientists!

Meditative Swimming

Swimming requires deep-breathing in a repetitive pattern, combined with a repetitive sequence of muscle stretching and relaxing.

With goggles and a swim cap, the insular nature of the water tends to block or muffle a lot of external stimuli, and allows you to focus on breathing. Swimmers often count each breath, stroke or lap repetitively, which further allows one to enter a blank, meditative state.

Swimming combines elements of other mind-body methods of relaxation, such as yoga, tai chi and even jogging or biking. Such exercises that involve rhythmic movement and coordinated breathing produces the largest oxygen uptake and blood flow – to the muscles and the brain.

Dr. Pool, ready for a swim!Burning up to 800 calories per hour, you can escape the noise and slip away into ‘the zone’. When you are in ‘the zone’ of a 20-minute swim for example, you will be surprised how time will fall away, and your mind will become calm, yet focused – at the same time.

Swimming is really good for you! In addition to using your own pool more for vigorous water workouts, I urge you to consider a winter membership at your local public pool, so you can be a year ’round swimmer!


Get your swim on, America!


Dr. Cornelius Pool

Dr. Pool


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Pollen Problems: Remove Pollen from Pools

pollen problems in pools - image by istockphotoSpring time is a time of renewal and growth, and also a time for love – tree love that is. Tree pollen allows trees to produce seeds, from which they can produce offspring, or baby trees.

So we put up with it – a week or two of yellow dust covering our cars, and allergy sufferers retreating indoors with tissues and a box of Claritin. Let the trees have their fun.

But when pollen starts to make a mess of swimming pools – that’s when we step forward, and provide pool owners with good information about removing pollen from pools. 🙂

Is Pollen in Your Pool?

It may be a smart deduction that during spring, a yellow layer on the surface, or all-over yellowish color to the pool water, may be pollen. But sometimes, it could be a form of yellow algae.

Pollen can be identified as such:

  1. Pollen tends to stick to the pool tile at the waterline
  2. Pollen will also stick to the inside of your skimmer
  3. Pollen on the surface is easily wind blown into a corner
Pollen on Pool Tile, image courtesy of Brian Maffitt, via youtube

Pollen on Pool Tile, image courtesy of Brian Maffitt

  • However, pollen will eventually dissolve and pollen will sink to the floor, or can discolor the pool water, making it appear to be yellow algae.
  • Algae will not (usually) float or stick to the tile, but will stick to underwater surfaces, often on the shady side of the pool.
  • And if on the floor, algae will not ‘dust-up’ when hit with a brush, like pollen will, but requires firm brushing to remove.

Removing Pollen from Your Pool

Eventually the pollen will filter out on its own, but if you want to speed the process along, there are ways to remove pollen from a pool very quickly.

7-ways to Remove Pollen from Pools

  1. Natural Chemistry First Aid; a blend of clarifiers and enzymes
  2. The Slime Bag; heavy fabric filter bag attaches to pool wall return
  3. The Skim Bag; heavy fabric filter bag drops into skimmer basket
  4. Filter Savers; fine mesh socks stretch over skimmer or pump baskets
  5. Jack’s Magic Fiber Filter Stuff as a filter aid to improve performance
  • pollen grain closeupAnother way to combat pool pollen is to shock the pool with a granular oxidizer, either with a basic Pool Shock, or you can also use our Non-chlorine Shock.
  • Running your pool pump a little overtime during pollen season, and keeping your pool and pool filter a little extra clean, also helps to remove the pollen from a pool faster.

Thanks for reading this short post about pollen problems in pools. If you have any specific questions about your pool, leave a reply below for a quick reply!


Davy Merino
In The Swim Blog Editor


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Aquabot Pool Cleaner Round-Up

Aquabot pool cleaner round-upHowdy pardner! Strap on yer spurs and saddle up, this week during Aquabot Days, we are rounding-up wild Aquabot pool cleaners from miles and miles away, into the corral for a close-up look-see. 🙂

And if you decide to take one of these beasts back to your ranch, you can burn yer brand into their backside with a hot branding iron – yeow!

Above Ground Aquabot Cleaners

Aquabot basically invented robotic pool cleaners for above ground pools, and was the first to offer a low priced, dependable robot pool cleaner for above ground pools. They did it by redesigning the entire propulsion and vacuuming system, using Jet technology and a simpler, unified drive mechanism. The Aquabot Pool Rovers!

Aquabot Pool Rover T – $339.99

  • Pool Size Pools up to 20 x 40′
  • Coverage Up to 5000 SF/hour
  • Filtration Quantity 4800 gals/hour
  • Filtration Quality 4 SF bag filters to 2 microns
  • Cable 51 ft. with floating buoys


Aquabot Pool Rover S2-40iAquabot Pool Rover S2-40i – $319.99

  • Pool Size Pools up to 30′
  • Coverage Up to 5000 SF/hour
  • Filtration Quantity 5000 gals/hour
  • Filtration Quality Dual bags filters to 2 microns
  • Cable 40 ft. rubber/Kevlar cord, also available with 50 ft cord S2-50



Aquabot Mamba suction pool cleanerAquabot Mamba Suction Cleaner – $99.99

  • Pool Size Pools up to 30′
  • Features Adjustable flow regulator
  • Universal Adapter Fits all skimmers
  • Simple Design suction from your pump creates movement and vacuuming
  • Hose includes 32′ of Cleaner Hose

Note: not a robotic pool cleaner, yet Mamba  has a lot of great reviews from many loyal customers!


In Ground Aquabot Cleaners

Aquabot pool cleaners have been the primary US based manufacturer of inground robotic pool cleaners. Despite effort by Pentair, Hayward and Zodiac, Aquabot dominates the inground robotic pool cleaner market!

Aquabot Classic pool cleanerAquabot Classic – $699.99

Time-tested Aquabot classic design has been around for 40 years!

  • Pool Size Pools up to 20 x 40′
  • Coverage Up to 5000 SF/hour
  • Filtration Quantity 4200 gals/hour
  • Filtration Quality Large soft filter bag filters to 2 microns
  • Cable 50 ft. floating cable



Aquabot Turbo T pool cleanerAquabot Turbo T Jet $659.99

New kid on the block, the Turbo T-Jet uses jets of water to propel and clean the pool.

  • Pool Size Pools up to 20 x 40′
  • Coverage Up to 5000 SF/hour
  • Filtration Quantity 4800 gals/hour
  • Filtration Quality Large soft filter bag filters to 2 microns
  • Cable 51 ft. floating cable



Aquabot Breeze robot pool cleanerAquabot Breeze – $848.99

Stronger, faster, lighter and easier to use, the Aquabot Breeze is easy to love!

  • Pool Size Pools up to 20 x 40′
  • Coverage Up to 5400 SF/hour
  • Filtration Quantity 4200 gals/hour
  • Filtration Quality Dual top mounted debris canisters with clear lid.
  • Cable 60 ft. floating cable



I might be having a little too much fun with the rodeo round-up theme, and I hope Aquabot doesn’t mind if I cartoonify their fine robotic pool cleaners.

These six are just a sample of the many Aquabot cleaners available for above ground pools, in-ground pools and commercial pools of all sizes. See the entire selection of Aquabot pool cleaners, the world’s leader in robotic pool cleaning solutions.

See you around the range,


Davy Merino
In The Swim Blog Editor


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How to Brush a Swimming Pool

Brushing Pools - how, why, what and when

Brushing a pool, seems like such a small thing, can it fill an entire blog post?

Pool brushing, like anything has many facets, and we start with why you should brush a pool, how to brush a pool, and how often or when to brush your pool. We’ll also look at the equipment, and what makes a good pool brush.

Let’s Go!


  • Prevent Scale: Pools and other bodies of water absorb particles from the outside air, which if not filtered out, settle to the bottom, and begin to build up as layers of scale film.
  • Prevent Stains: Pool stains are often a mixture of dirt, minerals, oils, or from tiny metal objects in the pool. Brush the dust off the surface, where stains begin.
  • Prevent Algae: Algae has a nice home in the micro-pores of a pool surface, where it finds a ready source of dusty food, and can establish a firm foothold.
  • Prevent Etching: A pool that is brushed will be softer and smoother. Brushing after adding salt, calcium or pH decreaser protects the pool surface from corrosive etching.

Plus, it’s good exercise for you – remember to breathe!


  • After Pool Plastering: After a pool is plastered or pebbled, there is a large amount of dust that needs to be brushed and filtered, or it can stain and scale the surface. Brush twice daily for 2-3 weeks.
  • After Adding Chemicals: Many powdered or granular pool chemicals don’t dissolve right away when added to the pool water. Brushing helps to dissolve and disperse the chemicals so they won’t etch, stain or scale the surface.
  • Stain or Algae Removal: Stains and algae cannot be removed by mere pool chemicals alone, there must be some physical persuasion. Like the dinner dishes, they need a little soap and scrubbing to become clean.

Or otherwise, brush your pool weekly – for best results!


  • Short pole for walls, extend the pole for floor work.
  • Brush the steps, benches and shallow end walls first.
  • Brush the shallow end floor, towards the deep end drain.
  • Brush the deep end walls and deep end floor last.
  • Keep your back straight, and follow-thru with a long reach.
  • For walls, pull in on the pole with your guide hand, to keep brush firmly against the wall.

Be consistent and thorough – brush towards the main drain! If you are brushing algae from the walls and floor, this can be some of the most difficult pool brushing. If your arms feel like they are going to fall-off afterwards – you were brushing algae correctly!


  • image of 7 types of pool brushesNylon brush bristles for all pool surfaces
  • Stainless steel brush for plaster or pebble surfaces
  • 18″ length is standard, 22″, 24″ and 36″ also available
  • Aluminum handle and frame adds strength and durability
  • Corner brush for jets, skimmers and of course, corners!

The black bristles of our Pro 22″ brush are stiffer for stronger action, and our Supreme brush has a 4″ row of bristles, over 20,000! Our Deluxe pool brushes comes in larger sizes to cut your brushing time. I like the 24″ brush lengths best.


Final Tips, store your pool brush out of the elements, in a pool storage box, or in the shed. Sun, weather and extreme temperatures can wither the bristles in time.

Replace your brush when the bristles wear down or when brushing becomes difficult. For most people, this is every 4-5 years. If you are still using (or not using) the brush that came with your pool so many years ago – step up to a new pool brush this year, and give your pool what it really wants – a weekly brushing with a good pool brush!

Brush your pool, America! Your pool will thank you for it!

Davy Merino
InTheSwim Blog Editor


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Above Ground Pool Lighting Options

pool-lighting-for-aboveground-poolsA pool light is a necessary safety feature and also the best way to make swimming at night even more enjoyable. Besides, swimming in a dark pool can be creepy!

There are several lighting options for above ground pools, and today we look at the features of the five most popular above ground pool lights.

Whether you’re looking for bright illumination from a remote controlled wall light, or the gentle, colorful glow of our floating solar lights, there are a number of lights to choose from. Here are the 5 most popular.

StarWhite LED Pool Light

Carvin StarWhite LED pool light for above ground poolsThe StarWhite LED wall light can be installed in about 10 minutes to the existing pool return fitting. Connects to the wall return; pool water flows around the pool light, dispersing your filtered water.

Carvin StarWhite above ground pool light Includes an intensely  bright white LED bulb, pre-wired transformer with on/off switch, and a 15 ft. power cord.

  • Bottom port and union nut for easy connection of a Polaris 65 / Turbo Turtle pool cleaner, or a floating pool fountain.
  • Installation Instructions for the StarWhite light by Carvin.

Nitelighter Halogen Pool Light

nitelighter-aboveground-pool-lightThe Nitelighter pool light includes a hanging bracket to easily install over your pool wall. Slip it under the top rail of your aboveground pool and connect the cord to a grounded electrical outlet. No drilling the wall or lowering of the pool water is required and does not connect to a wall return.

Available in 50 watt White LED or 100 watt Color LED models with a 2,000 hour halogen bulb. Chemical resistant light-dispersing lens will not fade and you can leave the Nitelighter in the pool all year round.

  • Includes 28 ft. power cord and 12 volt transformer.
  • Auto-shut off after 3 hours is a nice feature.
  • Installation Instructions for the Nitelighter by SmartPool.

SmartLite Rechargeable Color LED Pool Light

SmartLite aboveground pool LED color pool lightThe SmartLite pool light is a rechargeable color LED pool light that includes a hanger and a plate for mounting it to return, ladder, step, or deck post. You can also simply let it float.

Cordless LED light is small, just 5″ wide x 2″ tall, but illuminates comparable to 50 watts. Larger pools will need 2 or 3 for full effect.

  • Features 24 color options, brightness settings and several light modes to create the perfect pool mood.
  • Includes a remote control to turn the light on and off from the house, and control modes, brightness and dim settings.
  • Internal lithium ion battery lasts 8 hours per charge. Can be used anywhere, in and out of the pool!
  • Excellent Reviews – and quality made by Main Access.

Intex LED Soft-Sided Pool Wall Light

Intex pool magnetic wall lightThe Intex wall light is a unique pool light with 2 halves, one with the LED bulb – placed inside the pool, and the other half on the outside of your soft-sided pool plugs into an outlet.

Amazing magnetic technology sends the power through Intex pool’s vinyl sidewall, to deliver more brightness than a 50-watt halogen pool light. No holes are made to install.

  • For the magnet to work properly the unit must be installed on a PVC wall. Not suitable for above ground steel wall pools.
  • The light can be placed anywhere around the sidewall of the pool. The Intex wall light will float if magnetic contact is separated.
  • Includes a standard 120v plug with 12v transformer and 23 ft. power cord.

Rechargeable Floating LED Pool Light

portable floating led pool lightStylish floating LED pool light will lend a warm ambience to your pool for swimming after dark. Powerful lithium ion rechargeable battery and sleek modern design in one.

Floating LED light floats on the water’s surface for 360 degrees of light for up to 12 hours at a time. Complete with charger, this is our best selling floating pool light.

  • Rugged outer shell built to withstand weather and bumping into pool walls
  • Illuminates swimming pools up to 24 round, or 16’x32′.
  • Can be used in and out of the pool. Portable LED lamp goes anywhere!

Please visit our website for our complete collection of above ground pool lights. As always, if you have any questions, please give us a call at 1-800-288-7946!


Jackie Wolski
InTheSwim Staff Blogger


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Celebrities on Swan Pool Floats

It all started in 2015 with a spontaneous pose on an inflatable swan float of singer Taylor Swift and her then boyfriend, Calvin Harris, shown below.

Since then, the popularity of pool floats as props for fun-loving summer selfies has grown to gargantuan proportions.

It was even the subject of a WSJ article about ubiquitous sightings of huge inflatable swans and flamingos in exclusive neighborhoods of the Hamptons in New York.

“Dreamed up by a company called Swimline, of Edgewood, N.Y., the inflatable swan sells for around $50. Sales manager Kieran Glackin says that the company has been producing the float since 2007 and typically sells about 10,000 to 15,000 units per year.”

1. Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris, courtesy of Taylor Swift Instagram

2. Ariana Grande and Matt Bennett, photo via Instagram @ArianaGrande

3. Kourtney Kardashian, photo via Instagram @KourtneyKardash

4. Emma Rossum, photo via Instagram @emmyrossum

5. Vanessa Hudgins, photo via Instagram @vanessahudgins

6. Kendall Jenner, photo via Instagram @kendalljenner

7. Craig Conover, photo via Instagram @caconover

8. Taylor Swift and Serayah (on a Pegasus float), photo via Instagram @serayah

9. Kathryn Dennis, photo via Instagram @kathryndennis

10. Sofia Vergara (on the SuperSoft Recliner), photo via Instagram @sofiavergara

11. Diane Kruger (on a Pink Flamingo float), photo via Instagram @dianekruger

12. Justin Bieber (with Swan on a Sprinkle Donut float), photo via Instagram @justinbieber

But now for summer 2019 – coming soon – where is the inflatable swan float? We have moved on, and now carry the Mega Swan Float. With room for you and 4 friends, the Mega Swan is perfect for posting pool lifestyle updates!

In addition, we have dozens of inflatable animal floats – Unicorns, Pegasus, Flamingo, Parrot, Ducky and all types of food floats; Pizza, Potato Chips, Donuts and more – fun ride-on pool float for the whole pool family.

Get your cameras ready, pool season is coming soon! #FLOATLIFE


Davy Merino
In The Swim Blog Editor


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Happy Valentine’s Day! Heart Shaped Pools

What is the first image that crosses your mind when you think Valentine’s Day? Me too ~ Hearts!

What better way for us to celebrate Valentine’s Day than to show you some of the world’s most beautiful heart shaped pools and bodies of water? Let’s dive right in!

i-love-you-jaynieProbably one of the most famous heart shaped pools of its time, built for Hollywood starlet Jayne Mansfield in 1957 by her husband, Mickey Hargitay. Placed in the backyard of their famous California home, the Pink Palace. Sadly,  the estate was torn down in 2002.

pines-hotel-resort-poolThis was the beautiful heart shaped pool of the former Pines Hotel Resort in the Catskill region of South Fallsburg, NY. The hotel had to close its doors after a storm in 1998 and never reopened. Too bad, ‘cause that footbridge crossing over the pool is just so cool!

poconos-palace-poolsLooking for a romantic getaway for two?? The Poconos Palace is the home of the heart shaped hot tubs and Cove Haven is home to the heart shaped pool with an arrow through it (both part of Poconos Resorts in Pennsylvania).


The Poconos is also famous for the romantic suites with the champagne glass soaking tubs and the heart shaped hot tubs, right in the room! Ah, those were the days! Resort life – and tiny pools!

For anyone nursing a broken heart this Valentine’s Day, you may want to take a dip in the broken-heart shaped pool at the famous Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel. It’s right across the street from Graceland (where “The King” himself used to live) in Memphis. But if you go this time of year, you’ll see the bright red safety cover!

monticello-apts-heart-shaped-poolThis pool makes me want to move to Texas! Probably the coolest pool I’ve ever seen at an apartment complex, this one located at the Monticello Apartments in Fort Worth. The shape lends itself easily to a small pool size.

brussels-belgium-heart-shaped-poolEver been in a plane flying over Brussels, Belgium? Me neither, but if you ever are, look down ~ You might see this! The story is as romantic as the pool, a surprise pool for his wife. She had no idea!

Heart shaped pool in Pennsylvania, with attached spa for chilly nights. You can build a heart shaped pool out of concrete, or you can build it with one of our DIY vinyl inground pool kits, a custom configured kit, costing just a bit more than more rectangular shapes.

At the Villa Independente, in the south of France, you can rent this heart shaped pool, and as a bonus an entire 4-bedroom beach house comes along with it! The heart shaped island in the middle of the pool is a nice touch, and a hat-tip to the very first heart-shaped pool, shown #1 above.

At the Bali Nature Center, in Abiansemal, Bali features a very tranquil small pool in the shape of a heart, complete with a statue of cupid, taking aim at any lucky lovers who swim in his pool.

natural-heart-shaped-poolsThese two heart shaped pools were naturally formed in solid rock but the force of rushing water alone! You’ll have to travel from coast to coast to see them both (located in Crestline, CA and Watkins Glen, NY) Road trip anyone??

Well, I hope you enjoyed this look at some pretty awesome heart shaped pools and hot tubs. Maybe it will help inspire some romance of your own!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Enjoy your pool – no matter the shape, all swimming pools are something special!


Christine Silvestri
InTheSwim Staff Blogger


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The Most Popular Pool Products ~ of All Time!

In the swim pool store, Chicago, Illinois
Swimming pool equipment can be confusing, and deciding on which make and model can be especially difficult, when you have to choose between dozens of types.

This is why so many people like to read reviews of products before they purchase, to get some confirmation that it worked well for other people.

In addition to product ratings, rankings and reviews, another way to compare pool equipment or products is by their popularity, or how many are sold each year.

I pulled a product report for the last umpteen years, and at least for In The Swim, these are the most popular pool products, of all time!

Top 3 Pool Chemicals

In The Swim 3″ Tablets3-inch-chlorine-tablets: Our premium chlorine tablet is loved by millions of pool owners as a slow-dissolving tablet that delivers a powerful dose of daily chlorine.

In The Swim Pool ShockIn The Swim pool shock: Also beloved by millions, In The Swim pool shock can be relied upon as a powerful shock treatment for algae, bacteria and chloramine removal.

In The Swim pH IncreaserIn The Swim pH Increaser: More people use pH increaser than use pH decreaser, probably as a result of using low pH Trichlor tablets, and low pH rainfall.

Top 3 Pool Pumps

Hayward Super PumpHayward Super Pump: A medium head in-ground pool pump produces flow rates suitable for pools up to 30,000 gallons. Iconic square basket and the original see-thru lid.

Hayward Powerflo LXHayward Powerflo LX:: The most popular above-ground pool pump in America? Possibly, at least with In The Swim customers, it appears to be a quite popular pool pump.

Hayward Powerflo MatrixHayward Powerflo Matrix: Not far behind the LX model in units sold is the PowerFlo Matrix pump. Also for aboveground pools, but with higher flow rates for larger pools.

Top 3 Pool Filters

Hayward Pro-Series Sand FilterHayward Pro-Series Sand Filter: Our most popular pool filter, in sizes from small to tall – Hayward sand filters are reliable and asked for by name.

Hayward Perflex DE FiltersHayward Perflex DE Filters: Hayward “Extended Cycle” DE filters have a bump handle to regenerate the DE powder, for longer run-time between cleanings.

Hayward X-Stream Cartridge Filter SystemHayward X-Stream Cartridge Filter System: The X-Stream filter system saves water and energy and is the perfect upgrade for any above ground pool.

Top 3 Pool Cleaners

Aquabot Classic in-ground cleanerAquabot Classic in-ground cleaner: The boxy style of the Aquabot Classic may not be so sexy, but the price cannot be beat. We sell thousands every year!

Kreepy Krauly in-ground cleanerKreepy Krauly in-ground cleaner: Florida’s most popular pool cleaner, and also popular in other areas, because it’s our second most popular pool cleaner.

Hayward Aqua Critter above ground cleanerHayward Aqua Critter above ground cleaner:: For aboveground pools you can’t go wrong with the Aqua Critter, the cute cousin of the Aqua Bug cleaner.

Top 3 Pool Heaters

Hayward H100 HeaterHayward H100 Heater: We sold so many of these last year – Hayward ran-out for a short time in June. Also popular, the H150 model, for pools up to 20,000 gals.

Raypak Digital HeaterRaypak Digital Pool Heater:: Raypak heaters are loved by service guys, and also by pool owners apparently! Attractively styled and handsomely priced, it sells well.

Solar Heating SystemsSolar Heating Systems: For those pools with sunny backyards, our solar panels can add just enough heat to make everyone happy. DIY friendly pool heaters.

Top 3 Pool Slides

Turbo TwisterTurbo Twister pool slide: Standing over 8 ft. tall, the Turbo Twister by SR Smith is a very fast slide, for water park thrills in your own backyard. Sturdy base is easy to install.

Typhoon SlideTyphoon Slide: The smaller brother of the Twister, the Typhoon is just 8″ shorter, but $800 cheaper, and a smaller footprint, requiring less pool deck for installation.

Cyclone SlideCyclone Slide: A smaller slide for younger kids, The Cyclone slide has the smallest footprint of any inground pool slide, making it easy and quick to install.

Top 3 Solar Cover Reels

Aqua Splash above ground solar cover reel systemAqua Splash above ground solar cover reel system: Above ground solar cover reel for 18′, 24′ and up to 28′ diameter, pivots out of the way after rolling.

Aqua Splash in ground solar cover reel systemAqua Splash in ground solar cover reel system: All aluminum reel system for in-ground pools with ball bearing smooth rolling action – our most popular!

Rocky’s solar cover reel systemRocky's solar cover reel system: Rocky’s is known around the world as the best in solar cover reels. A little more expensive, but of the highest quality.

Top 3 Miscellaneous Pool Products

Epoxy PaintEpoxy Paint: Our Super Poxy paint is made for us by a well-known, major paint producer, and is the same quality as their name brand, one-step epoxy, at a lower price!

Leaf NetsLeaf Catcher Leaf Nets: Placed over top of a winter cover, Leaf Catchers allow leaf removal in one easy step. They can also be used without a cover, to block spring and fall leaves.

Pool Stepspool steps for aboveground pools: Above ground pools come with an A-frame style ladder, but most pool owners will soon upgrade to an easier and safer to use pool step system.

So there you have it, 24 of the most popular pool products across 8 categories. Consider this a proxy to product reviews – if these weren’t good products, we wouldn’t sell so many of them!

If you have any specific questions on these items, or other product questions – click the Leave a Reply link below, for fast answers to your pool product queries!


Davy Merino
In The Swim Blog Editor

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How to Drain a Swimming Pool

How to Drain a Pool - image from istockphoto
A simple enough question on the surface, but around here, we always dive deeper into a subject, so when we talk about how to drain a pool – first we want to explore why you would do such a thing, and then cover the when, where and what of draining a swimming pool.

Draining a pool safely must also be a large part of our conversation, because if done improperly or haphazardly, unfortunate damage or effects can happen! You don’t want to kill the lawn, flood the neighbors, burn out the pump, ruin the pool liner, or worst of all – pop the pool out of the ground!


  1. Very bad algae conditions with a heavy pool stains.
  2. Very high TDS (5-10,000 ppm) or very high Cyanuric Acid (100-150 ppm)
  3. To perform repairs or cleaning to pool surfaces or liner replacement

If a partial pool draining can accomplish the result, a complete draining of the pool can be avoided. When suitable, drain the pool one-third to one-half, and then refill quickly.


  • Vinyl pools should avoid draining completely to the floor, your vinyl liner can relax and possibly wrinkle or shrink in some areas. If necessary for cleaning or repair, re-set the liner with a Cyclone liner vac while refilling.
  • Fiberglass pools are usually ok to drain for short periods, but could shift or pop-up, if drained fully with a high water table or expansive soils. The topography of the surrounding area, local elevation, and recent rainfall can all be risk factors.
  • Concrete pools are usually stable when empty, but to be safe, open up the hydrostatic relief plugs in the floor and hydrostatic valve in the main drain. Avoid keeping empty for prolonged periods of time.


  1. Avoid draining a pool before, during or after heavy rain storms that raise a high water table.
  2. Wait to drain the pool until you are immediately ready to start repairs, to reduce time spent empty.
  3. Warm weather temperatures are best; 55-85° F. Cold temp exposure can be bad for pool surfaces.


Using the Pool Filter Pump to drain the pool

  1. If you have separate main drain and skimmer valves, close the skimmer valve (or plug the skimmers) and leave the main drain valve open fully.
  2. Place the filter multiport valve in the Recirculate position and turn on the pump, after you roll-out the backwash hose; monitor pool draining closely.
  3. Eventually the pool drain will begin to suck air, with about 6-9″ of water left in the deep end, if you’re lucky. Use a small cover pump for the 1000 gallons remaining.

INtermatic Timer Dogs or TrippersWhen using the filter pump to drain a pool, monitor the draining closely so that it continues, and does not lose prime. Keep the pump running, if shut-off, it may not catch prime again.

Flush Plug, a hydrostatic relief plug - Hayward SP1022B with GasketTo allow high water table water to flow into a concrete pool, located and remove a few of the hydrostatic relief plugs in the floor and hydrostatic valve in the main drain pot.


image from the movie, "The Swimmer" in 1967, starring Burt Lancaster!
In some cases, you can get nearly all the water out with the filter pump, but normally you will be left with several hundred gallons at least, when using the pool filter pump to drain a pool.

Pools with cartridge filters can install a 3-way valve between the pump and filter, to allow for draining or lowering of the pool water rapidly, or plumb-in a tee fitting and garden hose spigot to allow for lowering the pool water level, from too much rain.

AquaPro Pool Cover Pumps move 1800 GPH to 3000 GPHA more reliable option is to use a Submersible Pump, or a pool cover pump, to drain the entire pool. Our AquaPro cover pump ($149) can do 3000 GPH (gallons per hour), draining most pools in a day, or overnight. When resurfacing the pool, you will need a small pump anyway, to get out the last 50 gallons. Small submersible pumps fit inside of the main drain pot, to get every last gallon.

Gas powered trash pumps, which can be rented along with suction and discharge hose, can drain a pool in just 1-2 hours, and are suitable for pools with high amounts of solids, which clog up submersible pumps or pool pumps. Trash pumps can pass solids as large as a golf ball, and are used fast draining or very poor water conditions.

When draining very neglected and very green pools, spray off the walls as the water lowers – don’t let the muck dry on the wall and floor making it more difficult to remove, but hose it off before it dries.

Use larger 2″ backwash hose to reduce hose pressure, and make use of diffusers such as the Eco Pool Backwash Drain Fountain.


  1. Clean and balanced water can be directed into the storm drain if you have a curb/gutter type of sewer on your street.
  2. Pool water that has been chlorine neutralized and pH balanced can be pumped downhill from the pool, monitoring for erosion or over-saturation.
  3. Pump Away from the pool, 50′ to 100′ or more. Too much water pumped beneath your pool can cause a problem!

Remember to move the hose often as needed, to avoid over-saturation, when pumping into large grassy areas or wooded areas. Avoid downhill courses that erode hillsides.

For submersible pumps, run discharge hose out of the shallow end, to reduce resistance from a vertical lift over the deep end wall.

Every pool needs to be drained every once in awhile. If you are draining your own pool, monitor the situation well, and be aware of the potential pitfalls, as outlined above.

In addition to draining quickly, it is also recommended to re-fill the pool as fast as possible, using two hoses, even borrowing water from a neighbor (with their permission, of course!).

If you have any questions about draining your pool, not covered above – please leave a reply below, and I will answer promptly and personally!


Davy Merino
In The Swim Blog Editor


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Must Have Accessories for Above Ground Pools

10 must have pool accessories for above ground pools

There is a core group of essential pool supplies that every pool owner will need at some time during the season. These ‘must-have’ pool essentials are tools to respond to the latest pool crisis, or ways to avoid pool problems to begin with.

I’ve owned an above ground pool for a long time now, over a decade, so I have become comfortable using certain chemicals and equipment to open the pool, keep it clean and clear (usually) all summer, and close it down in the fall.

So here is my list of “Desert Island Pool Supplies” ~ If I was stranded on a desert island, with a nice swimming pool, these are the must-have items that I would absolutely need!

Good Pool Brush

in-the-swim-18-inch-supreme-pool-brushBrushing regularly not only lifts visible dirt, but invisible scale and films too, and does wonders for circulation. A few years ago we started carrying the Supreme pool brush, with 20,000 (!) bristles. It is so much more efficient and easier to use, especially with an above ground pool, where you may be standing outside, but at the same level as if you were inside the pool. I LOVE the Supreme pool brush!

Good Set of Pool Poles

pool polesWhy do I have to have two (2) good pool poles on my desert island? Because hopefully I’m also stranded with a nice person to help me keep the pool clean! Having two poles makes it much easier to call in reinforcements when needed, after a storm for example. It also means that you don’t have to change attachments so often, but can keep your net or brush on the pole, ready to go!

Good Leaf Rake skim net

Leaf Rakes for PoolsSpeaking of pool clean-up after a storm, nothing skims and scoops leaves faster than a pool leaf rake. Flat style skim nets are ok for light surface skimming, but when you need to clean the pool surface completely, or scoop leaves from the bottom, Pool Leaf Rakes are the way to go. They also come in handy for cleaning winter pool covers, scooping leaves from the surface.

Pool Equipment Hooks

aluminum hooks for pool polesTo protect your nice poles, brushes and nets, you’ve got to be careful where you store them. Keep them out of the sun and rain if possible, and mount them off the ground. Go ahead and buy these $10 plastic Pool Equipment Hangers, or kick-in another fiver and go for the all-Aluminum double Pool Pole Hangers. Having your poles mounted will look nicer and make your stuff last longer!


Debris Skimmer Skim-ItFor number five – which could rank higher in terms of my love for this little gadget, the Skim-It or Debris Skimmer is a must have pool accessory for thousands of aboveground pool owners. The skimmer arm attaches to the inside of the skimmer and reaches out in the pool to grab leaves passing by, and direct debris into the skimmer. I use mine for spring clean-up and then for the last few weeks of the year, or to finish up a storm clean-up.


seaklear natural clarifier for poolsClarifiers act as coagulants to clump together hundreds of microscopic particles into a larger size particle that can be removed by the pool filter. In this way, Clarifiers work to help the pool filter. As is the case with many above ground pools, the filter is often undersized and overworked. Clarifiers can help an under-performing pool filter run more efficiently, at a low cost per dose. I usually use SeaKlear Natural Clarifier, but any type will do.

Taylor Test Kit

Taylor Troubleshooter pool test kitThe Taylor Troubleshooter test kit, aka Taylor K-1515, is a great kit for the above ground pool owner. This pool water kit is Dr. Pool approved, so you know it must be highly accurate! You can test for Total and Free chlorine, to see when Combined chlorine levels are high enough to shock the pool. Also tests for pH and Total Alkalinity, and for Acid Demand, to know how much acid is needed to lower pH. All that for less than $20.

Nature2 Express

nature2 express for aboveground poolsAnother secret weapon I employ to manage my pool is the Nature2 Express, a mineral purifier with a 6-month cartridge that I replace annually. Nature 2 does such a great job on my 14,000 gal above ground pool, that I only use one chlorine tablet at a time, replaced every 5-7 days! My chlorine level is never above 0.5 ppm, except after opening when I shock it hard, and then about every 3-4 weeks during the season, I shock the pool with In The Swim Pool Shock, my go-to shock treatment.

Leaf Bagger

image of leaf gulper, our garden hose powered pool leaf removerYou know, since I’ve become so proficient in my use of the pool brush and skim net, and because I have an automatic pool cleaner doing the heavy lifting a few times per week, I haven’t actually vacuumed my pool in years! But, I do have a Leaf Gulper – connects to a garden hose and pole, and the water spray lifts leaves and sticks up into the debris bag.

Skim Bag

The Skim Bag skimmer accessory for above ground poolsThe Skim Bag is a fine mesh filter fabric that you drop into your skimmer basket during times of heavy leaf litter or heavy pool use. I use mine in spring, when the Poplar trees drop their tulip stamens, the Skim Bag prevents pump and filter clogging, and acts like a second filter. I also use it during pool parties or during weekends of heavy pool use. Also useful for wildfire conditions,  to trap soot that falls on the water.

And there you have it – 10 essential pool accessories for above ground pool owners. Every pool is different, so you may rely on certain other supplies or tools or pool gear that you could not live without – if you were stranded on a desert island, with a pool. 🙂


Sheryl Sollis
In The Swim Staff Blogger


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