Contributor Lauren Perdue is a 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist, and one of the most decorated swimmers in ACC History. In 2013 she graduated from UVA and moved to Charlotte, NC to train with SwimMAC Team Elite. Having struggled through multiple injuries and surgeries, Lauren continues toward her goal of making the US Olympic Team once again in 2016.
FROM LAUREN PERDUE
This sport has given me incredible opportunities to travel around the United States and the world. Like so many swimmers, I have raced in too many pools to count during my years of competitive swimming. Although I have numerous fond memories of swimming over the years, I recall many times when I swam poorly at a meet or in practice due to a very common problem that most of us swimmers have to deal with on a daily basis: Bad air quality.
As a young swimmer starting out in the sport, I developed exercise-induced asthma that only flared up while I was in the pool for a workout. At that age, I did not understand the cause behind my coughing and shortness of breath. It was not until college that I realized I was not alone. Many of my college teammates had emergency inhalers with them on pool deck during practices, just in case. It wasn’t until I saw an asthma specialist that I learned my wheezing was not stemming from just plain exertion—it was from the air I was breathing on a daily basis at the pool. Poor air circulation combined with intense pool workouts is a recipe for asthma in many swimmers, and it seems lately the problems have become worse. Perhaps it is from increased awareness that this issue is, in fact, a problem. Either way, I am here to say this problem can be very serious; not one to ignore.
Thankfully, a step in the right direction has been taken to help rid swimmers of these breathing issues. It’s called The Evacuator, and I first experienced it in Charlotte. Many older pools around the country have been outfitted with it, and some new pools are built with excellent air quality as the number-one priority. I believe that’s a huge stepping stone for our sport. One cannot truly appreciate the importance of air quality unless they spend time in the pool environment and have suffered through times when it’s bad.
Since my move to Charlotte, NC to train with SwimMAC Team Elite, I have been asthma free. The Queens University pool where we train is state-of-the-art with a the Paddock Evacuator system built directly into the pool gutter. Until moving to Charlotte, I did not realize how satisfying it is to be able to breathe normally during an intense workout. I recall too many bad experiences in the pool due to my inability to take a deep breath. I know that many swimmers can relate to this feeling and so it is my hope that pool facilities will invest in improving the quality of air circulation to help swimmers reach their dreams, as I did. If you swim at a pool where the air is bad, know that there is an answer, and it really works.
We are swimmers and swammers, just like you, who have suffered through bad air quality for countless years. We know how miserable an indoor pool can be during swim practice or a meet, because we’ve lived it. It is personal to us, and we have devoted our careers to not only educating the swimming community about air quality, but actually solving the problem. Our mission is to make the indoor pool a healthy, desirable place to be—not just a tolerated amenity. More at www.paddockevacuator.com.
Courtesy of Paddock Evacutor, a SwimSwam partner.