Heat waves make me think about diving into cool water. If your mind is swimming with fantasies of taking the plunge, I've got a few Web sites you should visit. Whether you are a parent concerned about your children's safety around the water, a regular swimmer looking to improve your backstroke, or you're contemplating taking your disposable income and sinking it into a pool, there's a site online for you.
If you're just splashing about on the Net looking for swimming information, I suggest diving in at the WebSwim site. Currently in transition between Net addresses, the site is a reasonably thorough collection of answers on everything from competitive training to water safety and advice. In the opening FAQ section you'll find help locating swimming clubs, recommendations for books about swimming, advice on buying prescription goggles, and answers to just about every water related query you might think of. Want to cut the water like Mark Spitz? There's a series of swimming articles by Terry Laughlin, director of Total Immersion Adult Swim Camps and fitness editor for Swim magazine. Terry will tell you how to make your strokes longer rather than faster to improve your form. Additional pages at WebSwim are devoted to diving, masters competitions, water polo, and synchronized swimming. In each area you'll find other sites to explore with a brief description of each site. Originally, the WebSwim site grew out of the rec.sport.swimming usenet group, and it is now maintained at this site by Donncha Redmond.
Swimming Research Inc.
When you think of water safety the apparent dangers to children immediately come to mind. That's the focus of the Infant Swimming Research company, which specializes in teaching children as young as 6 months how to survive in water. According to the company, drowning is the second most frequent cause of accidental death of children under the age of 4 years in the U.S. If you're a parent, you should check out the company's site. It contains pages of suggestions on water safety for kids, including tips like installing a phone jack near your pool so that you don't have to leave children unsupervised to answer the phone. Naturally, the main purpose of the site is to get you to sign up for an ISR class, but the site does try to address some criticisms and issues such as hyponatremia (or water intoxication), retention of skills, and the danger that parents might acquire a false sense of security after their child has had swimming lessons. These and other pertinent issues are well handled by this commercial site.
Billing itself as an online poolzine, Poolspa is a digital guide for pool buyers offering ancillary articles, links, and advice. On the front page of this month's issue you'll find a hotlink to pool safety tips and those considering upgrading or building a pool can skim through Dr. Poole's columns. The humor is a bit tepid, but the simple advice covers everything from worm attacks to pool heaters. For first-time pool customers there are several primers at the site covering the basics of water circulation, filtration, and chemical treatment. If you already have a pool there's advice on how to find and work with a regular pool service. Other articles explain how to calculate the number of gallons of water your pool holds and proper chlorine management. Once you've decided you want a pool, you'll find numerous links here to pool builders, accessory sales, and filtration system companies. Those in the business can also register at the site to discuss professional issues, while cybersurfers who just want to fantasize can click through images of luxurious pools in exotic locales.
If you're still afraid to take the plunge, visit the PoolCenter before deciding to dig up your backyard. At this site you'll find a wide range of articles covering everything from how to erect proper barriers to prevent children from entering a pool to how to handle various pool chemicals. I found an online glossary of terms was a big help, with separate sections covering chemical and water balance definitions and pool structure and equipment terms. And if you're more of a hedonist than a swimmer, you'll even find information on hot tubs here. All of this can be found in the site's library. If you have a pool and want some advice on maintenance, a pool care section will tell you how often to renew your reagents and what the proper pH and chlorine levels should be. PoolCenter is a commercial webstation, so you'll also find several products advertised here from pool covers to filtration systems. It's an excellent way to do a little screen shopping before you contact a professional in your area.