Closing Your Pool

Protect Your Pool Over the Cold Winter Season

As cold weather approaches, you will want to start thinking about winterizing the swimming pool. The main purpose in winterizing your swimming pool is to protect it from damage due to freezing water. Another reason to close the pool correctly is to keep it as clean as possible for the next season. Closing your swimming pool properly can save you a lot of work when it comes time to open the swimming pool for the summer. Here are a few steps to follow that will make your pool as safe as possible for the winter and low maintenance to open when warm weather returns in the spring.

Balance The Water

About 4-7 days prior to closing your pool for winter, bring your pool pH (7.6-7.8), pool alkalinity (80-100), and calcium hardness (150-250) in line. Shock the pool with a chlorine shock to bring the chlorine level up to 10-12ppm. Allow the pool chlorine to come down to its normal level, about 1.5-3.5ppm before adding any pool algaecides, pool winterizing chemicals, or your pool cover. If you are unsure of how to correctly balance the water, take a sample to your local pool retailer and they can test it and make recommendations.

Removal Of Inground and Above Ground Pool Accessories

Remove the skimmer baskets, heaters, slide, any wall fittings, vacuums, pool cleaners, ladders, handrails, or anything else that shouldn't be in the pool. Scoop out any debris on the top and bottom of the pool using a good leaf rake. At this point you may want to invest in a winter conditioner or a winterization swimming pool water treatment kit to keep your pool water chemistry on track. You can visit a local pool professional retailer to get all you need for your inground and above ground pool chemicals.

Clean And Backwash The Filter

You'll want to do one final brush and vacuum to winterize your swimming pool. Once this is done, it's time to backwash your filter.

Lower The Water Level

You can either use your filter pump or a submersible pump to lower your pool water level. You'll need to lower the level about 4"-6" below the lowest plumbing line, normally the water return line. Be sure the water level is at least below the skimmer. You can remove the above ground pool skimmer.

Drain Your Pump, Filters, Heaters, and Chlorinating Equipment

Your pump, filter, heater, and chlorinator all have a drain plug. Either drain the water out of these or blow the line out with a shop vac. This will ensure all of the water has drained and none is left inside any plumbing lines. If you have a DE pool Filter or a cartridge filter, now would be a good time to take them out and clean the grids or cartridges and store them away for the winter. If the filter is small enough, you might be able to take it apart and store it for the winter. Keep the plugs out of these units. If you plug them back up and water happens to get into them, they might freeze over and crack your equipment. Place all the plugs in the skimmer basket during your pool winterization maintenance. By doing this, you'll know where they are when you need them next spring.

Empty Your Chemical Feeder

If you have a chemical feeder, now would be a good time to drain and empty it. By leaving chemicals in your chemical feeder during swimming pool winterization, you might damage your equipment. Remember to put the top back on the chemical feeder and be sure to wear safety goggles and gloves.

Winter Pool Covers

Now is the time to break out your above ground pool winter cover or inground pool winter cover to keep the debris out of the pool. Use a solid cover that keeps out all debris and sun. These solid covers should keep the pool clean and prevent algae growth. You should also use an air pillow. These air pillows hold the pool cover up like a tent so water and debris fall off instead of collecting on the top. They also help to take up any water expansion which could occur from freezing and possibly cause your above ground pool wall to split.

How to Maintain Swimming Pools in Winter

By: Doheny's Pool Supplies Fast

Now that your pool has been winterized, you may think that you are done taking care of it for the season.  However, winter pool maintenance is simple and should be completed as regularly as possible.  Doheny’s Pool Supplies Fast is here to walk you through the process step-by-step, making it easy to maintain your swimming pool with the right pool chemicals and accessories, while saving money all year long.

Ensure your pool has been winterized.

Check out Doheny’s for information on what chemicals to use and what kind of winter pool covers are best for your pool.  If you live in a location with mild winters, then reference the information on how to maintain your uncovered pool during the winter months below.

Make sure your winter pool cover or safety pool cover is secure. 

Heavy rain, snow or wind can damage your pool cover.  It is important to make sure that the winter cover is in place and protecting your swimming pool.

  • Above ground pools: Check to make sure that your heavy-duty air pillow is inflated and holding up your cover, cover cable is tightened, cover clips or winter seal wrap is secure, or the winter cover wall bags are holding your pool cover in place on your above ground pool.
  • In-ground pools: Check to see if your winter pool cover is being held in place by water blocks or water bags.  If you have a pool safety cover, then make sure that all safety cover components are securing the cover to your patio/deck area.  If you are missing parts, then you can find replacement parts here.

Remove leaves and debris from the top of your winter pool cover.

Eliminating sources of debris will prevent your pool cover from being ripped, torn or otherwise damaged during the winter months.  Wet leaves can be very heavy and weigh your pool cover down.  For those using leaf nets, then be sure to dispose of leaves that have collected on top of the net.  Keeping the pool area free of leaves will also help prevent water contamination if your pool is not covered for the winter.

Check pool water to make sure algae formation has not occurred. 

Algae typically do not grow in water temperature that is less than 60 degrees; however, it is possible.  If you notice algae formation, then add shock treatment or algaecide to your pool water.  Preventing extended periods of algae growth will help save your pool’s liner, concrete, etc.  Plus, managing algae growth can be a pain when you open your pool for the summer!

Tips for swimming pools in non-freezing climates

You may live in a climate where your swimming pool can be left uncovered during the winter since the temperature does not drop below freezing.  If this is the case, then you should maintain your pool even though it is not in use.  Dirty pool water can cause many issues to your swimming pool and pose health risks for you and your neighbors.

You may want to perform a monthly or bimonthly service on your pool.

If you are lucky enough to live in a climate where you can swim in your pool year round, then you will want to perform regular maintenance on your pool.  Adjust pool maintenance based on pool usage.

Clean your pool and surrounding pool area regularly.

Algae forms when debris remains in your swimming pool.  Removing leaves, dirt, branches and other contaminants from your pool will keep your pool water clean during the winter months.  Regularly run your automatic pool cleaner if you have one.  If not, then use a handheld leaf rake to remove heavy leaf-fall.  Scrub the walls and bottom of your pool periodically to prevent algae forming on pool surfaces.

Test your pool water chemistry bimonthly.

Maintaining your pool water’s chemistry is important to keep your pool water clean and sanitary.  Abnormal pH due to low chlorine levels can facilitate the growth of algae and bacteria.

Run your pool pump for a few hours daily during periods of nonuse. 

Keeping pool water circulating is still important even though your pool is not being used for the winter.  Water circulation helps keep pool water free of algae, bacteria, mosquito breeding and other harmful occurrences when pool water is left stagnant. Run your pool pump at least 4 hours a day during periods of nonuse.  Doheny’s suggests running the pump between 6-8 hours to circulate pool water.

Maintain your swimming pool’s filtration system.

Pool filters can still need maintenance during the winter. Start by periodically checking the skimmer basket and removing leaves and debris as needed.  Also, make sure to check and clean your pool pump basket to keep it free of leaves and debris as well.

Consider purchasing a leaf net.

Leaf nets are ideal in locations where temperatures do not dip below freezing.  Leaf nets collect leaves on top of your pool to prevent them from sinking to the bottom or staining your pool walls.

When is the best time to build a pool?

By: Matthew Ray

Spring’s the best time to build a pool right? WRONG. I’m not sure how the idea became so common, but for some reason most people think the spring is the time to build pools, fences, houses, landscapes and other outdoor project. The truth is there is absolutely not a harder time to build a pool, or anything else outside, than spring. The reasons, though simple, may not be so obvious.

Weather- In the Midwest spring comes with much anticipation of summer just around the corner. It also comes with volatile atmospheric conditions and pop up storms. It’s not uncommon for a popup shower to drop a 1/2 ” of rain in an area and completely STOP construction. Depending on the sun exposure it could take as long as 2 days to dry out the site leaving the builders calendar, patience, and sanity in question. This leaves other jobs off schedule before they even start and you and your builder uncertain as to when your project will be completed. It’s no fun to wonder if your project is going to be done for the Memorial Day party you have already planned.

Materials and Equipment- When Spring is finally sprung and pools are ready to be built, so is everything else. Pool installers are not the only folks who need dump trucks, gravel, water trucks, backhoes, excavators and the service and repair personal needed to keep them running. In 2011 most of the Midwest and Northeast experienced 100 year rains that started February 2 and continued though the Thursday before Memorial day. The rain totaled some 20” plus or so here in Columbus Ohio and 28” in Cincinnati. By the time the rain was over home builders, concrete guys, road crews, landscaper, and anyone else who works outside had lost one third of their season and were all fighting for the same resources. On one project I was forced to transport an excavator from Indianapolis- some 400 miles round trip delivery fee just to work. Needless to say that was not a very profitable project.

Labor- Let’s face it, when it’s hot out and your crews are working 65hr plus weeks working around weather, anxious clients, and the headaches that come with the spring rush…sometimes things get missed. The fall is a much more relaxed and pleasant time to work. There isn’t enough daylight for a 65hr week, the stress level is significantly lessened as there is no rush to get done for the next hot weekend, and materials and equipment are there for the picking.

Transportation and Inventory- The spring may be when inventory levels are at their highest but it is also the time when demand and transportation is at its messiest. When the orange barrels go up on the highways, it’s expected that DOT will require we take MUCH longer routes to avoid construction zones. Remember when you have a 15’ -16’ wide load you can’t just go anywhere. In 2009 all loads that went to northern Indiana from Columbus had to do so via Cincinnati -not exactly quick or cheap.  It is also common for certain pools to be delayed due to stacking compatibility. If the market demands styles and units not compatible with your model your load may wait – pushing your project latter in the spring or even summer. In the fall and winter getting the pool we need is much more predictable.

Permits may be last but not least. No different than equipment and materials, the building department is under their greatest load in the spring which can mean your project will likely take a lot longer to be review. It is also a busy time for homeowners associations and  zoning committees. If you are in a situation that may require a variance…watch out. Proving extenuating circumstances and hardship to a review board is a lot easier in the fall or winter then when they are not clogged and annoyed with the spring rush.

The reasons TO install in the fall and winter are the invert of the spring hassles. The weather is stable, equipment is readily available, material costs are down, fuel costs are down, and if you’re wondering about the cold…remember –Frozen isn’t muddy! We are happy to work in overalls! If avoiding all the potential headaches that spring can offer isn’t enough for YOU to go fall install, how’s this….? IT’s CHEAPER TO INSTALL IN THE FALL. When demand for materials go down so does our cost. When overtime is off the table we have a decrease in production payroll. When the DOT does not require to go from Columbus to Cincinnati via DAYTON, our transportation costs go down. Add it all up and typically we expect a $1000 to $2500 decrease in the cost to install a pool. You will also avoid the 5% increase we usually experience from fall to the fallowing spring in vender cost increases. Depending on the price of precious metal and petroleum that can mean another $1000 saved. For most people it just makes more sense for them to build in the off season…what about you?

World Class Workouts 4: Try the Grand Prix with Olympian Cristina Teuscher

By: Alex Kostich

Cristina Teuscher has certainly swum her share of challenging workouts, and they have paid off for her.

A gold medalist in the 800-meter free relay at the 1996 Olympic Games (and a bronze medalist in the 2000 Games in the 200-meter individual medley), she is one of the world's most versatile and well-rounded swimmers.

With a reputation as not only a fiercely tough competitor but also as a well-spoken and good-natured "class act," Cristina welcomed the opportunity to contribute a World Class Workout to this column.

She supplied several workouts that she considers her favorite or most challenging, but surely the one that stands out is a set she calls the Grand Prix.


The Grand Prix is 8,900 meters (or yards, depending on your pool)?of madness, combining endurance with all four strokes while balancing pace work with sprinting--all with minimal recovery time.

It is certainly not for the faint of heart or the uninitiated, but the following column will offer suggestions and ideas for adapting this super-set to your own needs and abilities.

Unabridged, here is Cristina Teuschers World Class Workout:

The Grand Prix

3,000 swim (timed)
1,500 pull
800 individual medley
400 stroke (no freestyle)
200?fast freestyle
100 easy
200?fast freestyle
400 stroke (no freestyle)
800 individual medley
1,500 swim (timed)


Total: 8,900 meters/yards

As with all great sets, the Grand Prix offers unpredictability with a certain level of repetition; a tough mix to achieve but one that makes the time pass quickly while challenging the swimmer in various, unpredictable ways.

The first block, the 3,000-meter swim, is both a warmup and a pacesetter for what is to follow. Try to negative-split the distance so that your second 1,500 is faster than the first half of the set. Remember these two split times.

The 1,500-meter pull is an extension of the warmup set, designed to put in some upper-body work while stressing endurance. By the end of this second block, you will have completed over half the entire distance of the workout, with only one break between the 3,000 and the pull set.

Mixing it Up

With the warmup, endurance, and upper-body portions of your workout behind you, it is now time to get down to business with some faster swimming and some cross-training with different strokes.

The 800 individual medley (200 butterfly, 200 backstroke, 200 breaststroke, 200 freestyle) and 400 stroke is the first opportunity to swim a stroke other than freestyle, and this is an essential part of a well-rounded swimmer's daily routine.

Regardless of their preferred competitive stroke, Olympians and world-class swimmers always incorporate additional strokes into their training sessions. Triathletes and open-water freestylers should follow their lead; there are definite advantages to swimming strokes other than the crawl, even if you only compete in that stroke.

First, stroke training breaks up the monotony of swimming the same stroke each and every day, each and every workout. Second, it stretches and conditions muscles that are more or less dormant during your preferred stroke (this is necessary to maintain flexibility and increase endurance in the favored stroke). Third, swimming different strokes provides better cardiovascular conditioning (as anyone who has ever attempted a few laps of butterfly can tell you).

Regardless of your ability, I highly recommend peppering your swim workouts with butterfly, backstroke and breaststroke. It will certainly not hinder your performance and can only improve your overall ability.

Speeding Things Up a Bit

The 200?fast freestyle repeats, separated by a 100 easy, are designed to test your speed and get those slow-twitch muscles to respond to a pair of medium-distance sprints. While a 200 is hardly considered a sprint in sprinter's terms, its the shortest and fastest repeat in this endurance-intensive set.

Really push yourself in these two segments to get down to race pace, and try to get your heart rate above (at least) 150 or so.

The 400 stroke and 800 IM may look familiar; they are repeats from earlier in the workout. This time, attempt to beat your finish times (not easy given the fatigue you should be feeling).

Eventually, doing this entire workout should teach you to pace yourself so that you have enough energy left toward the end to complete the last few repeats without fading. In mastering this type of endurance, you will find yourself relying on back-half race strategy to overcome your competitor's--always a good thing.

Endurance Check

The icing on the cake (or the last straw, depending on your frame of mind) is a 1,500-meter swim for time. The all-important goal is to beat both of your 2x1,500 splits from the opening 3,000-meter freestyle. If you can do this, you should have all the confidence in the world that your endurance is a force to be reckoned with.

The first few times you attempt this workout, you may not even make it this far. If you do, but find that your muscles are screaming out in pain, forget trying to beat your earlier times and instead really focus on keeping your stroke technique together.

Take care not to drop your elbows, slap the water, or shorten your stroke (all things that result from fatigue or bonking towards the end of a tough swim). The more capable you are of keeping good form, the closer you will get to beating your initial splits and eventually, in a race, overtaking your competitors. Always try to maintain proper technique, especially when fatigue and soreness take over.

Of course, this set (unabridged) may only appeal to a small percentage of endurance swimmers and hard-core triathletes. There are ways to modify it to your abilities while still taking advantage of its drills and benefits. For instance:

Mini-Prix Workout

1,000 freestyle
500 pull
200 IM
200 stroke
100 sprint
100 easy
100 sprint
200 stroke
200 IM
500 freestyle


Total: 3,100 meters/yards

Substantially shortened, the above example of a Mini-Prix can be tried by athletes who may only swim a few times a week, 3,000 yards per workout. The gist of the Grand Prix is still maintained, however, in that the swimmer should negative-split the opening swim, focus on race pace during the 2x100 sprint, and then attempt to beat the split 500 time in the last 500 meters.

Stroke work is still included with 2x200 IM and 2x200 stroke, but these shorter distances allow novices to experience new strokes without being exhausting.

For swimmers that only swim freestyle:

Free-Prix Workout

1,000 freestyle
500 pull
300 freestyle?-- 20 seconds rest
200 freestyle?-- 10 seconds rest
100 sprint
100 easy
100 sprint
200 freestyle?-- 20 seconds rest
300 freestyle?-- 10 seconds rest
500 freestyle


Total: 3,300 meters

This workout is for freestylers who just refuse to (or can't) swim any other stroke. Slightly different in its make-up, it tests a swimmer's endurance and forces one to pay attention to finish times more closely in the workout.

The consecutive 300 and 200 freestyles (essentially a broken 500) should be swum fast enough to beat either 500 of the first 1,000. After the 2x100 sprint, the goal is to swim even faster on the next 200 and 300, beating your previous broken 500. Finally, the last 500 should be the fastest 500 of all.

The Free Prix version challenges you to swim a total of 5x500 throughout the workout: two in the warmup, two broken ones in the middle of the set, and one last one at the end of the workout (all descending and increasing in effort and speed).

Cristina helpfully offered some insight into how she gets through such daunting workouts every day.

"I just think about [the workout's] purpose, where it's going to get me, and how few people do this stuff," she said. "I also try to just view it as a challenge and nothing else. If you don't have it that day, relax and motivate for the next day. Hard workouts always get me excited and make me look forward to tomorrow."

She is quick to add that even on an off day, there are ways to get better and make the most of the set.

"I think of keeping my rhythm and relaxing when I do a hard set. I do it piece by piece. Sometimes all you need is one great 1x100 in a workout to think the session was a success."

Judging from her track record, Cristina has clocked enough great 100s in her career to ensure her a solid place in swimming history. By partaking in some of her world-class workouts, you too may end up at the front of the pack.

World Class Workouts 3: Hone Your Speed and Pacing

By Alex Kostitch

Baywatch's David Hasselhoff may be the world's most famous fictitious lifeguard, but if you're looking for the real thing, then look no further than California's Craig Hummer.

Having attained legendary status on the fiercely competitive worldwide lifeguard competition circuit (no small feat, considering the world's best lifeguards hail from Down Under), Hummer has parlayed his past athletic achievements into a lucrative TV commentating and sports announcing career.

Still eager to stay in shape, he trains with a masters swim team in his spare time and ventures back into open waters to show some of the newer lifeguards how to win like a pro.

This third in a series of World Class Workouts is one of Hummer's favorites, and he claims to swim it at least once a week. While the main set is only 3,000 yards, a lengthier workout can be built around it with warmup drills and kicking/pulling sets.


Depending on how much time you have for your whole workout, you can warm up accordingly, Hummer explains. "If possible, get at least 500 to 1,000 yards of warmup completed before you hit this main set.

If time and capability permits, I would suggest warming up with:

500 easy freestyle

10x50 @ 10 seconds rest, descend one through five (Meaning each interval is faster than the one before it. Then repeat for intervals six through 10.)

By this time, you should be ready to attack the following:

1. 3x400 @ 5:00, descend

Hummer says that if a 400 on a 5-minute interval is too hard, you should pick an interval where you get about 10 to 15 seconds rest on the first 400, which is supposed to be fairly easy and descend down to a very fast swim.

The point of this first segment of the set is to get your heart rate up and determine the pace for the remaining repeats. After taking 100 yards to recover and loosen up, its time to complete two more 400s.

2. 100 easy @ 2:00

3. 2x400 @ 5:00, one easy, one fast

Again, the first 400 should not be too easy, otherwise you will miss your interval, Hummer cautions. Instead, try to comfortably make the interval on the first swim and then really blast the second one, giving it your all.

Be sure to keep in mind that the goal is to do all of the hard swims as close to the same time as possible. This helps to perfect three skills, Hummer explains:

First, it works on your pacing ability. You develop an understanding of what it feels like to go a certain speed for a certain length of time.

Second, it helps develop explosive speed by forcing you to go all-out early in the set, on the third 400 of the first grouping of three.

World Class Workout 2: Climb the Ladder With a Distance Diva

By: Alex Kostich

The second World Class Workout comes courtesy of Lisa Hazen, an open-water legend who has competed in distances up to 88 kilometers!

A four-year All-American swimmer from Stanford University, Lisa briefly retired to pursue a career in high-tech in Silicon Valley. When a skiing accident forced her back to the pool for recovery, some friends convinced her to try open-water racing, and she took to it naturally. By 1994 she was competing in U.S. competitions up to 25K as well as internationally-sanctioned events over triple that distance.

Raking up victories and international acclaim as one of the more enduring (and endurance-prone) athletes of the sport, Lisa continues to build her reputation as a Distance Diva even though she is nearly two decades older than some of her competitors. Although she is mostly swimming for the fun of it these days, Lisa still trains like a pro, and some of her workouts are indeed jaw-dropping.


Here, she has agreed to share one of her favorite endurance-building workouts. Beware: It's not for the faint of heart! But regardless of your fitness level, there will be ways you can participate in Lisa's challenging set, so read on.

Climbing the Ladder

When I asked Lisa what her favorite workout was, she couldn't decide. But after some pause, she concluded as follows:

"If I didn't have a coach one day and someone asked me to come up with a workout and no one was going to complain, I would suggest this set:

1 x 800
2 x 400
4 x 200
8 x 100

"For me," Lisa explains, "it's a way to get a lot of yards in in a relatively short amount of time. Plus, by the 100's I'm nice and warmed up so I can try to do some good repeated intervals."

The ladder set above equals 3,200 meters—or a little over two miles. For swimmers who only train half that distance, the best way to modify the set would be to divide the distance in half by swimming a 400, 2 x 200, 4 x 100, and 8 x 50. This way, by the time you reach the 50's you will be warmed up (as Lisa says) to practice your pace on the short 50-meter repeats. Avoid reducing the workout by swimming an 800, a 400, a 200, and a 100, because you will not be doing any repeats by the end and will thus miss an opportunity to train for pacing.

Developing Endurance

Swimmers hoping to develop endurance couldn't ask for a better set: by starting with an 800, they're forced to swim a half-mile nonstop and then take a short break before completing a broken 800 (2 x 400 = 800). At this point, they've already done a mile and yet are only halfway done. Rather than quitting from fatigue or boredom, swimmers have the opportunity to complete another mile with more breaks and rest (with the 4 x 200 and 8 x 100).

The key is to complete the entire distance (regardless of how much rest you take) so that your endurance is tested and improved over time. Although you are covering long distances, as you proceed down the ladder the repeats get shorter, facilitating the set.

For novices looking for a way to start formal training, the ladder set above can be reduced to laps. For instance, in a 25-yard pool, you may want to try:

8 laps
4 laps
2 laps
1 lap

This equals 750 yards, or a little less than a half-mile.


Lisa suggests doing the ladder backward if you're feeling really conditioned.

"When I'm in really good shape, I think I would actually prefer to do it the other way, starting at the 100's and going up. In that case I would put a lot more thought into how to do each segment:

"8 x 100: Keep a steady pace to get warmed up. None of them fast or with tons of effort.

"4 x 200: Picking up the pace, remember the times for each 200 and then figure out the average at the end.

"2 x 400: Your time must be a little better than twice the average for the 200's. Make the second 400 slightly faster than the first one—just by a second or two.

"1 x 800: Give it all you've got. Faster than the sum of the two 400's. Try to negative split. Basically, this is what the set works up to for a good end-of-the-set time."

Lisa explains that for this method, "I would only want to do it when I am in good shape, so that even though I had done 2,400 already, I could still crank on that last 800."

She adds that this set is not something she gets to do very often, as most Masters swimmers don't want to do that much. But for the distance folks, this is a really good one.

When training for two-mile or longer ocean swims, people attempting this workout may want to do it once down the ladder and then repeat it back up—swimming for a total of 6,400 meters, or about 4.5 miles.

Although this is way more yardage than one needs to cover to complete a two-mile ocean swim, it is a nice confidence booster and challenging set to try if you have the time and motivation. By completing it, a two-mile race will seem like a piece of cake.

Determining Your Interval

As far as intervals are concerned, I've tried this set and I prefer completing the entire distance on a 1:15 (one minute, 15 second) base per 100 meters. This forces me to maintain the same speed throughout the set, and I am challenged to get more rest by swimming faster on the longer distances.

Pick an interval per 100 that you are comfortable repeating and try it for the 800 (for instance, if you can swim a 100 at 2:00 comfortably, try the 800 on 16 minutes).

Another approach is to take a specific amount of rest between each set—perhaps 15 seconds. Although that may not seem like a lot after an 800, by the time you reach the 8 x 100 you will have 15 seconds between each one; enough rest to compose yourself and really try to maintain the same pace on each repeat.

For the ultimate endurance workout, your intervals can decrease as your distance decreases. Start with a 30-second break after the 800, then allow yourself 20 seconds between the 400's, 10 seconds between the 200's and only five seconds between the 100's.

If you can complete this set, then you are probably ready to hold the pace you maintained on your 100's for any ocean race!

10 Swimming Pool Ideas

As winter approaches, this is the time to start thinking of some swimming pool designs for your home for the upcoming summer. Here are 10 swimming pool designs to get you going.

1. Poseidon Pools - Folsom, CA

2. TLC Landscaping Inc. - Solon, OH

3. Borden Landscape Architecture - Sarasota, FL

4. Artistic Landscapes - Woodstock, GA

5. Oasis Landscape Design - Houston, TX

6.  Artistic Group Inc. - St. Louis, MO

7. GreenScapes Landscaping and Pools - Austin, TX

8. GreenScapes Landscaping and Pools - Austin, TX

9. Lisa Cox Landscape Design - Solvang, CA

10. Lisa Cox Landscape Design - Solvang, CA

How to Clear Cloudy Pool Water

By: Chris Deziel

When your swimming pool is properly maintained, you should be able to see features on the bottom clearly, even at the deep end. There is a whole list of reasons why pool water can turn cloudy, but they basically boil down to improper maintenance, heavy usage and environmental conditions, such as intense sun, debris from trees and birds and pool algae. Clearing a cloudy pool usually takes time, although there is a faster -- if somewhat troublesome -- way of doing it.

Pool Maintenance Issues

  • Insufficient operation of the pool filter -- Your pool water may have turned cloudy simply because you don't run the filtration system often enough. It should be working for at least eight to 10 hours a day -- check the manufacturer's specifications for your particular system. 
  • Failure to backwash -- If you run the filtration system often enough, the filter itself may be clogged with debris. It's important to backwash the filter regularly by reversing water flow through the system -- check your manual for the proper way to do this.
  • The pH is too high or too low -- It's important to check the pH of the water regularly with test strips; it should be between 7.2 and 7.6, and the total alkalinity should be between 80 and 125 parts per million. Add a product to raise pH or another to lower it, as needed. Add a separate product to increase alkalinity. 
  • Not enough sanitizer -- Most pools require regular addition of chlorine, bromine or other minerals to control algae and other microorganisms that can cloud the water. Saltwater pools have a generator that converts salt in the water to chlorine. Even if you add chemicals regularly, you must periodically shock the water to oxidize them and render them potent.

Clearing Cloudiness Quickly

If you've been maintaining your pool improperly, correcting your maintenance habits will probably clear up the water, but it may take several days to a week. There are three ways to get faster results:

Stir Up the Water and Skim and Drain

Small particles tend to stay suspended in the water, and some may even sink to the bottom, only to be recirculated when someone jumps in the pool. You can remove many of these particles simply by agitating the water with a stick or brush, or simply by swimming, then allowing the pool's skimmer to remove the particles from the top of the water. Also turn on the bottom drains to pull out particles near the bottom of the pool. This can be time-consuming, but it doesn't involve adding more chemicals to your pool water.

Use a Water Clarifier

Water clarifiers are coagulants -- they surround small particles with a membrane that allows the particles to stick together and form larger ones, and eventually these particles are removed by the pool filter. If cloudiness is a problem, add a clarifier every week, but do not exceed the recommended dosage -- overdoing it may actually make the cloudiness worse.

Floc the Pool

A pool flocculant works in the same way as a clarifier, but it's a stronger chemical that actually causes the particles to sink to the bottom, and you have to remove them physically with a pool vacuum. Flocking the pool is the fastest way to get rid of severe cloudiness, but a specific procedure is required:

Step 1

Turn off your pool's filtration system by setting the pump to "Recirculate." This prevents the particles from clogging the filter.

Step 2

Prepare the floc by adding it to a bucket of water according to the instructions on the container. Disperse it in the pool and allow the water to recirculate for five to six hours.

Step 3

Turn off the pool pump and allow the sediment to sink to the bottom. This may take two or three days.

Step 4

Set the pump to "Waste," attach a pool vacuum and vacuum the sediment from the bottom of the pool. You'll lose a lot of water during this procedure, so you may want to keep a hose running in the pool while you're vacuuming.


World Class Workout 1: Core Conditioning in the Pool

The first World Class Workout comes to us courtesy of USA Triathlon team-member Peter Hursty, currently residing in Honolulu, Hawaii. A former pool swimmer, Peter has been successfully pursuing a career as a triathlete for the last several years, with four overall first-place finishes in the reputable Tinman Triathlon, and victories in the Lavaman Triathlon in 2000 and 2001.

Peter is also a masters swimmer and age-group coach, making him an ideal and well-rounded choice for the inaugural World-Class Workout series.

Peter's favorite workout totals 4,500 meters, or three miles. It is an overall swim conditioning workout, balancing intricate pace work (that comes in handy during a long-distance open-water swim) with explosive speedwork (that helps keep fast-twitch muscles in racing form). The nice thing about this workout is that it includes a well-rounded set of drills that can be used every day. Indeed, Peter relies on it a few times a week--with modifications--as his core-conditioning workout.

(Workout and intervals are based in a 50-meter pool)

500 swim
200 kick
300 pull (breathe once every five strokes)

Set 1
10x100 @ 1:30, freestyle/backstroke by 50

Set 2
4x400 @ 15 seconds rest, descending:
No. 1 @ 70 percent effort
No. 2 @ 80 percent effort
No. 3 @ 90 percent effort
No. 4 @ 95 percent effort

Set 3
300 easy pull

Set 4
4x50 @ :40, sprint

400 easy swim

"Usually," admits Peter, "I'm not one for much stroke work."

The above workout clearly favors freestyle; which is fine considering that Peter's primary purpose for swimming is to stay in shape for the first leg of his triathlons. Even so, he wisely includes backstroke in his first warmup set. The purpose of this is to stretch out his shoulders, both backward (backstroke) and forward (freestyle).

"I usually do that first set just to get the blood flowing and get my heart rate up slightly," he says.

Swimmers who would consider 10x100 the major part of their workout can pare down the set to 3x100. Swimmers who find the 1:30 interval too difficult can try the set at 1:45 per 100, or simply take between five to 10 seconds rest between each repeat.

The main set of 400s is the heart of Peters workout. By increasing his effort with each 400, he is also forcing himself to descend his time on each 400, negative splitting not only every repeat but also the entire set. Negative splitting is when the last half of the distance completed is faster than the first half. It is an ideal, though very difficult, way to compete in longer events.

"Along with the descending, I try and negative-split each swim to work on my pacing," Peter explains.

By conditioning himself to swim harder and faster as the set progresses, even as fatigue sets in, Peter is slowly teaching his body to negative-split automatically (this helps during his triathlons, as he is usually the first one out of the water).

Swimmers who find the mile-long set of 4x400 too daunting can either do 2x400, or 4x200, with the same amount of rest. The point is to descend and negative-split the set at all costs.

If you have trouble descending your times on the repeats, you may be going out too fast in your first half. Experiment by taking it easy on the first repeat (maybe only exert yourself 50 percent instead of what you perceive to be a 70 percent effort). In time, you will learn your body's capabilities and become familiar with your own sense of pacing and endurance, which will help you in long events where you will be required to save some energy for the back half.

"On the 4x50, I try and go pretty much all-out for each one," Peter says. "I like to do this set to work my anaerobic capacities. It hurts, but I feel so good after its done!"

Granted, it is the end of his workout and he may be exhausted from the endurance set he just completed, but there is no better time to test his sprint mettle. This short burst of four consecutive sprints is exactly the kind of anaerobic burst he may have to rely on at the end of an event to out-sprint a competitor. As tired as he is at the end of his workout, he will be even more fatigued at the end of a race, yet called upon to dig down for that last bit of explosive energy. This set conditions Peter to be competitive even when he is feeling weak and spent.

Remember to always cool down at least five minutes after your last set before exiting the pool. Especially after a sprint set like 4x50, your muscles will be brimming with lactic acid that needs to be flushed out (otherwise the following day will be a painful reminder of your last workout).

A 400-meter easy swim, mixing backstroke and freestyle, can help get your heart rate down while flushing out that excess lactic acid. Hyperextending your arms with every stroke will also help prevent lactic-acid buildup by stretching sprint-fatigued lateral muscles.

When your heart rate lowers and you're feeling comfortable and loose, exit the water and consider your first World Class Workout complete.

By: Alex Kostich

Top Ten Tips for Extending Your Pool Season

By Kevin Jenkins

All pool owners want to get the most out of their swimming pools, but in many areas of the country, the swimming season might be limited to a few short months during the summer. With the help of Leslie’s, you can now extend your season by weeks or even months into the early spring and late fall. Our line of Gas and Solar Heaters, Heat Pumps, and Solar Covers will help pool owners in any climate save money while extending their swimming season!

1. You can easily extend your swimming season from a few weeks to several months
Cooler weather outside doesn’t mean you have to shut down your swimming pool. With the help of Leslie’s heating products, your swimming season can be extended by weeks and even months. Solar Covers, Gas Heaters, Heat Pumps, and Solar Heaters all help to increase the amount of time you and your family can enjoy the pool.

2. Simply adding a Solar Cover can increase your pool season by a few weeks
Solar Covers are an easy and cost-efficient way to add time to your swimming season. Designed to heat up during the day and retain warmth during the night, Solar Covers are great for both in-ground and above-ground pools.

3. Solar Reels help make installing and removing Solar Covers a simple, one-person task
Solar Covers are designed to fit over the entire pool. This means that for large pools or areas with a lot of rain, pool covers can be fairly heavy and tedious to move, especially for one person. Solar Reels make the task of rolling up your Solar Cover a breeze, and provide a safe, out of the way place to store your cover when not in use.

4. Solar Sun Rings can be an easy-to-use alternative to Solar Covers
Solar Sun Rings are designed to take the place of large Solar Covers. Built from heavy-duty UV-resistant vinyl, Solar Sun Rings are large rings, about 60 in diameter, that rest gently on the pool’s surface, heating the water and retaining the warmth throughout the night.

5. Solar Covers save you money by reducing water evaporation and chemical loss
Buying and installing a Solar Cover does more than heat your pool, it saves you money. The main cause of heat loss in a pool is evaporation, with up to 70% of your pools heat loss coming from evaporating water. Solar Covers can reduce evaporation by up to 50%, saving you time refilling your pool and money that would be spent on replacement chemicals.

6. Solar Covers should be used with all heaters to help retain heat in the pool
When using a pool heater, it is always important to make sure you supplement its heating power with a Solar Cover. Running a pool heater without a Solar Cover is like running your furnace with the windows open; the heat and your money escape quickly. Installing a Solar Cover along with any type of pool heater retains the heat inside your pool for long periods of time, helping you enjoy your pool even more.

7. Using a Gas Heater can raise your water temperature by 30 degrees or more
In areas with a cold climate, pool seasons can often be very short. Gas Heaters are the most powerful way to quickly and effectively heat your pool and extend your swimming season. Using either propane or natural gas, Gas Heaters can heat the water by 30 degrees Fahrenheit or more, giving you months of extended enjoyment.

8. Heat Pumps are cost-effective options for pools in a mild and sunny climate
Different than Gas HeatersHeat Pumps work by gathering in warm air surrounding the pool, compressing it, and using it to heat a constant cycle of pool water. Designed for use in sunny climates that rarely see temperatures drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the spring and fall, Heat Pumps are easy to use and very cost-efficient.

9. In sunny areas, Solar Heaters can increase pool temperatures by 20 degrees
Solar Heaters are the most cost-efficient method of electric pool heating, but are best suited to work in areas with large amounts of sunshine. Capable of being installed on the roof, against the side of the pool, and even on the ground, Solar Heaters absorb the sun’s rays and turn them into powerful heating energy, great for increasing pool temperatures by up to 20 degrees.

10. Above-ground pools can easily be heated using a Solar Heater
Solar Heaters for above-ground pools can achieve the same kind of heating power as other heater types, but without causing harm to the pool. Above-ground pools can be easily and safely heated using a combination of a Solar Heater and a Solar Cover, keeping your costs down and your family in the pool.