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Greensboro Aquatic Center Undergoing HVAC Overhaul Ahead of Winter Juniors

The Greensboro Aquatic Center, which has moved into the USA Swimming major meet rotation since opening in August of 2011, is already undergoing much-needed renovations, with the primary function of improving air quality.

The pool will host the 2013 Winter Junior National Championships in two weeks, and the 2014 Winter National Championships at the end of next year, and specifically a lot of the deck-level, poor-quality air will be evacuated from the pool, rather than recirculated as the HVAC system was originally designed.

“To better be able to manage the challenge of reducing the airborne chloramines and improving the overall air quality on the pool deck, Greensboro is renovating their HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system,” the pool’s management said in a written statement.

“The change includes the installation of two Paddock Evacuators to collect bad air at deck level and pull it out on top of the roof to exhaust it. This air will not be re-circulated into the pool deck as it is today. Fresh air is then brought in to displace the exhausted chloramine-laden air. With these changes the air flow can be better managed and the quality is improved for swimmers, coaches and officials.”

Chloramines are becoming better-and-better known as the true cause for the telltale smell in natatoriums, and is the result of the interaction of the chloramines in the water and the organic matter in the pools that the chlorine is designed to clean up. In laymans terms, the smell means that the chlorine is doing its job in the water, but can be a huge health issue for those who inhale them if they’re not properly ventilated.

This HVAC upgrade is expected to be completed in time for Winter Juniors this season, which should assuage concerns over one of the biggest complaints of the otherwise huge and spectacular facility that seats 2,500 (1,848 elevated, 652 on deck).

Other improvements include a widening of the spectator corridor with a new concessions area and box office, and the establishment of a meet timing room that is off-deck.

Comments

  1. BaldingEagle says:

    The Evacuator is revolutionary. Jenks Aquatic Center has one, and swimmers, coaches and officials at two Spring Sectionals were impressed enough to keep wanting to come back. Officials who could previously work only one session per day due to burning eyes found themselves on deck all weekend, prelims and finals. No “pool flu.” The technology is a game-changer, and this is not hyperbole. 400+ people in the water during warm-up kick up a little bit of chlorinamine odor, but the 15 minutes of clear water after warm-up and before events start really clears the air, and it keeps getting better throughout the session with only 16 swimmers in the water at once (two-pool meet). Good choice, Greensboro!

    • coacherik says:

      I can attest to the air quality at Jenks comp pool and will agree with warm-up and race time. Not so much for the warm-down pool though… Massive fans in there, but awful none the less.

      I have never been in a pool so dry and clear before in all my life.

  2. Wahoo Strong says:

    This is the best piece of news I could imagine before the ACC championships!

  3. ACHILLES says:

    It was a smart move. Poor engineering design from the get go needed retrofit and now will be a world class facility.

    • BaldingEagle says:

      There seems to be lots of that. Great pools with lots of promise, and poor attention to the essential role HVAC plays. I think everyone can point to dozens of pools that look great through the window and have all the right amenities (deep water, wide lanes, great blocks, thick ropes, wide decks, deep gutters, solid bulkheads, great lighting, cool water, etc). Then they get a whiff of the air. Then they warm up, swim a few races, hang out on deck for a few days, and then start hacking their lungs out.

  4. Big Splasher says:

    Googled this system. Looks like they’ve got a bunch of
    these evacuators around the country. They put one in mountain view
    in Marietta! That place used to be horrible. Dangerous even. Can’t
    wait to see the difference it’s made there! The website with the
    map of pools is here http://paddockevacuator.com/facilities/ way to
    go Greensboro!!

    • anonymous mom says:

      My children swim out of Mountain View in Marietta, Georgia. It was awful before they got the Evacuator system there…even kids who didn’t have asthma were struggling. Honeywell did a great job managing the system for the first year and did a great job. Now Johnson Controls is back on the job, and it isn’t quite as great. The equipment is revolutionary, but you have to have a good HVAC company that knows what they are doing too. We had a really bad experience at GAC a couple of years ago with the air quality, so I am very glad to hear that they are making a change to make this facility acceptable to host meets, especially big, important meets.

  5. Swim mom says:

    Awesome news-now if they could only get one at Federal
    Way!!!

    • Braden Keith Braden Keith says:

      Swim mom – there’s rumblings that Federal Way has a similar plan underway, but when we spoke to the facilities manager in October, he said funding had not been secured yet.

    • Sophie says:

      Really? I thought the air quality was fine at Federal Way for the past 2 SC Spring Sectionals. And when I went for the Husky Invite last year, the air was fine! I love that pool and always swim fast in it, I’ve always thought the air is fine, coming from a swimmer who has had asthma in the past.

  6. Swim mom says:

    Bummer-no money from Pac 12?

  7. David Berkoff says:

    Federal Way has bad air. Husky last season was bad and I coached AG and SR Sectionals back to back in March and had a nasty cough and lost my voice for two weeks. They NEED a new air system. Great pool though.

  8. swimmer says:

    Unfortunately it didn’t work. The air quality during the 2013 Winter Juniors was bad. Tons of swimmers coughing and one swimmer was taken to the hospital. So I was wondering if the new system was done in time. Hopefully Greensboro Aquatic Center learned from this unfortunate event and gets if fix before the Winter National Championships. These swimmers spend so much time training they deserve the best air quality they can get.

    • Braden Keith Braden Keith says:

      swimmer – there was an update during Junior Nationals where Eric Knight from the company that made the system, explaining what went wrong. There were some areas of the pool that were fine, and there were some that were bad because of unforeseen complications.

      Read more here:
      http://swimswam.com/eric-knight-evacuator-system-responds-greensboro-air-quality-issue/

      Also, there were multiple swimmers taken to the hospital, just one that got the headlines (albeit, this is not unique to Greensboro – at any indoor meet of this size, people are taken to the hospital due to breathing issues. Same thing happened in Indy last year. It’s largely a money/engineering issue – the technology needed to evacuate all of the chloramines from a pool during a meet of this size hasn’t been created at a level where it’s affordable to put into pools. But at every meet, it seems like they learn a bit more. Greensboro hosted a meet with about 900 swimmers the week before Junior Nationals, and the air was great.)

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