Myrtha Pools Says Tests Showed “Zero Hint” Of Current Problem In Rio

After SwimSwam contributor Barry Revzin published a statistical analysis suggesting there may have been a current in the Rio Olympic pool, the president of Myrtha pools passed along video footage of tests that show “zero hint” of a problem.

Revzin’s analysis is here; he compares splits heading each direction in the pool for all 8 lanes, finding a greater disparity in the 2016 Olympic numbers than those from the 2015 World Championships, 2015 U.S. Nationals and 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.

We reached out to Myrtha, and president Trevor Tiffany provided video footage of tests done before and during the meet.

“All I can say is we tested the pool both before the event and after day 3 of the swimming with zero hint of a problem,” he said.

You can view the two tests here and here. Neither appears to show any movement of the test float.

Tiffany also said the analysis showing faster times for certain lanes could have an alternate explanation:

“The fact that certain swimmers swam faster one way than the other and that this differed depending on which side of the pool they swam can perhaps be explained simply by which side they breathe,” he said. “Normally they would be faster when facing their competitors and if this were the case, then their times would clearly be faster in different directions when comparing their swims in lanes 1 & 8.

“We welcome further serious research as we all want the same result. Fast swimming and fair competition.”

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DrSwimPhil
5 years ago

Ah, the Rowdy Gaines explanation….nice

Steve Nolan
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
5 years ago

Someone (not me because I’m too lazy) check the swimmers that had big differences in their splits and which sides they breathed to. Shouldn’t really be a crazy thing to investigate.

PVSFree
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
5 years ago

I mean they’re not wrong. I’m a sprinter, but on the rare occasion I swim distance, I’ll swim faster when I can see someone to race on the side I breathe

Barry Revzin
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
5 years ago

The breathing argument doesn’t really work for at least three reasons. In no particular order:

First, it simply doesn’t explain the 50s. Everyone is going all out, people breathe sparingly if ever, there’s really not going to be an effect there. If the breathing explains the distance events, something else would have to explain the 50s.

Secondly, the effect I see directionally, if it was caused by swimmers seeing their competitors and reacting to them, could only happen if everybody breathed to their left exclusively. Just briefly looking through videos, it seems like most people breathe either to their right or bilaterally.

Thirdly, if swimmers reacted this way, the effect wouldn’t be localized to Rio – it would… Read more »

AnonCoach
Reply to  Barry Revzin
5 years ago

What brand were the pools in the other meets?

Joe
5 years ago

Would be nice to see a comparison of the float’s locations in the videos overlayed with the suspected current/drift location. It’s possible that some lanes experienced a current, other did not. Isn’t that the point? Seems like showing a float in one lane is not substantial QC.

Yabo Squandrant
5 years ago

What about ledecky then? Was she faster when she was breathing to side where she could see zero of her competition?

mcgillrocks
Reply to  Yabo Squandrant
5 years ago

No, she could definitely see them going the other way.

xenon
5 years ago

Look at this myrtha pool. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSE1xfAEt-s

There is definitely a current in that pool. It looks like a lake with all the ripples in it. There was plenty of time after the last heat for the pool to settle but the jets create waves nonstop.

BaldingEagle
Reply to  xenon
5 years ago

It was a semi-outdoor pool, with the stands built as temporary stands, with the backs open to the outside. It was made to look indoors by the murals hanging outside.

JAB
5 years ago

It is my understanding that Myrtha uses a high velocity, high flow supply inlet in their temporary pool designs. They tout this as a “feature” to help save money in the piping system during construction. The videos of the float not moving is hardly evidence that currents are not present below water level or near the inlets. I have also heard that the flow rates and turnover rates of the Myrtha pools must be “dialed down” during competition.

Coachdaggi
5 years ago

Statistics do not lie here. Having been on pool deck in Rio I can confirm more cases that are easily explained by a current in the pool, and it always fits the same pattern. Always. Lane 8 slow from the start side, quick from the turn side, lane 1 the other way around.
The tests performed by myrtha are obviously not suitable to show this. Which is a bit strange…
But the current was / is there. This is way too obvious and absolutely cannot be explained by changing breathing patterns…
There should be a flow measurement at different depths in every lane every 5m to create a 3d flow chart… this is much more sophisticated and… Read more »

marklewis
Reply to  Coachdaggi
5 years ago

“Results were definitely influenced”

You can’t have that when races are being decided by hundredths of a second.

The women’s 100 free and men’s 100 fly are examples were there were even ties it was so close.

Uberfan
5 years ago

#riogate

Aaryn Olsson
5 years ago

Thanks for posting the videos of the test. They do show that there was minimal surface current in lane 2 on a calm pool. However, it shows nothing about the conditions during a competition, when swimmers are in the water. The statistical evidence suggests large scale clockwise circulation developed during the competition. This isn’t that surprising, really. With all the swimmers making waves, you would expect (and want) the waves to reflect symmetrically, or randomly off the walls and neuralize each other. But that’s clearly not what happened. Whether there is a geometric forcing within the pool or the internal circulation, asymmetry in lane usage, or something else, a gyre developed. Since this is an outdoor pool, wind could also… Read more »

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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