Courtesy of BioOx, a SwimSwam partner.
For the past few months, we at BioOx have been telling you all about our air-cleaning system and the work we’re doing to make indoor swimming more comfortable and enjoyable for all. You can read more about our system here, but the gist of it is that, through our patented biotechnology, we’re able to actually clean the air – rather than just circulate the bad air away from the pool. The free-standing BioOx units create a clean air zone that kills the chloramines, which means swimmers and coaches don’t have to experience so much of that terrible chlorine smell and unpleasant effects like coughing, teary eyes and scratchy throat. Rather than worry about their health, they can focus on the competition.
We’ve highlighted our presence at swim meets because, naturally, meets are where effects from the air are the worst. From swimmers who didn’t have to use their inhalers during competition, to parents who commented that watching their child compete didn’t feel like a health hazard for the first time, the BioOx system is having an immense positive impact on the world of competitive swimming – and meets in particular.
But meets are only a small portion of the time a swimmer spends in the pool. The endless hours spent training are critical, and it’s just as important that swimmers and coaches have a healthy, comfortable environment during practice. We caught up with some of the coaches and aquatics directors at facilities that use BioOx to talk about what the air-cleaning system is like day-to-day and what they think it could do for the sport of swimming.
Asphalt Green – New York, NY
When the BioOx system first came to Asphalt Green, a 5,000-member aquatics facility on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Aquatics Director Craig Charlson had some explaining to do.
“Our swimmers would just look at these things and go, ‘what the heck?’ because we had never done anything like this before,” he said with a laugh. “But we put some signs on them to explain what we were up to, and pretty much immediately we had members telling us they noticed this huge, dramatic difference in their breathing.”
“It’s just been a positive experience and an education to our swimmers and to our members,” he said. “But it also feeds down to our lifeguards and instructors – no one’s standing around anymore trying to keep in their sniffles or trying not to cough.”
Westerville Aquatic Club – Westerville, OH
For Jim Peterfish, president of Youthletics Inc. and head coach of a swim program serving more than 100 competitive swimmers each day, air quality was such a big problem before BioOx that just being able to hold standard practice could sometimes be up in the air.
“There were several days in a row last year where the coaches didn’t feel like they could continue to practice,” he said. “And then we brought in some deck fans because the parents were mad that the kids weren’t practicing, but that was really just a band-aid.”
Now, not only is practice held without question, but Peterfish said even the more physically sensitive kids–like those with asthma–have been showing significant improvement.
BioOx has even allowed alumni, who remember the prior air quality problems well, to return to Westerville.
“One of my former swimmers is home from college for the semester working as a student teacher, and he was telling me that he wants to get a Y membership because he just can’t breathe here,” Peterfish said. “But I told him to come give it a try because of BioOx and he’s actually been training here with no problems at all.”
John Witherspoon Middle School – Princeton, NJ
For Sue Welsh, who is both a manager and a swim coach at John Witherspoon Middle School, complaints of poor air quality by swim parents had become all too frequent.
“There were times where I would just want to hide under my desk,” she said. “And I understood it – I felt it too!”
With the introduction of the BioOx system, Welsh says her facility has done a 180 – especially when it comes to the classic chlorine smell.
“I love the units and I see the difference,” Welsh said. “But from the standpoint of being a manager, I love the fact that people are not complaining and they’re happy to see there is an effort being made.”
One of the most exciting parts for Welsh is hearing people who just passed through the facility for a meet continue to praise the air quality long after it’s over.
“I was at GCIT a few weekends ago and the coaches there were still talking about how great our air was,” she said. “There was one coach who told me she always has to use an inhaler, but that when she was at our pool that wasn’t an issue.”
Valley Central High School – Montgomery, NY
Ask Aquatics Director Frank Striano what he thinks of the BioOx system and you’ll hardly get a word in edgewise as he raves about the teary eyes and coughing–not to mention the odor–that have virtually disappeared from the swimmers and coaches who spend dozens of hours a week at his facility.
But then you’ll hear something new: Since the introduction of BioOx, Frank has been saving approximately 15 percent on his chlorine expenses – a rate he expects to land Valley Central close to $1,000 richer by the end of the year.
“BioOx is actually killing our chloramines, which other systems haven’t been able to do,” he said. “Those chloramines aren’t coming back into the water and causing buildup, so we’re able to use noticeably less chlorine than we used to.”
For Frank, the economics of BioOx make it a no-brainer. While so many facilities are struggling to come up with hundreds of thousands–if not millions–of dollars to fix their air quality problems, Frank has been able to do it for what he noted was “the price of a few new starting blocks.”
“The real question is whether facilities can afford not to spend the $15,000 or $30,000 to keep their swimmers and coaches healthy,” he said.
“Even if it’s something that the parents contribute to for an extra $50 or $100 dollars, it’s worth it,” Striano said. “I have parents come to me regularly just to comment on how great the BioOx machines are.”
Interested in learning more about bringing the BioOx system to your facility? There are rental and payment options, and we’ll let you prove to yourself that BioOx works for your pool before you have to shell out any major cash. Right now, we’re even offering a 10 percent discount to any facility that’s the first to buy the BioOx system within a 50-mile radius.
If you’d like to chat with a current customer, that’s cool too. We’re happy to put you in touch with a manager or aquatics director at a facility that’s already using BioOx. Check out our website or give us a shout here to get in touch.
About Air & Water Solutions: At Air & Water Solutions, we’re changing the way people think about the air they breathe. We’re leaving a positive impact on the health of the Earth, and making it a safer, more enjoyable place for the people who live here.