Pool over-chlorination delays Feb. practice for CHS swim teams

Carmel High School’s swim and dive season was scheduled to officially begin water training on Jan. 30, but due to over-chlorination, the swim and dive teams were unable to start practicing in the water until Feb. 1. Despite being cleared by athletic director Golden Anderson, the swim team then got into the water and noticed the damaging effects of over-chlorination. As a result, the CHS teams were once again unable to swim because of the high chlorine levels.

Out of the first 10 practices that should have been in the water, only three of those found their way to the pool.

Anderson says that the problem lies in a broken part in the pool that regulates the chlorine, and it is just a matter of time until the part comes.

“In its absence we have had to [deal with the chlorine] the old fashion way, by hand,” Anderson explained. “With the pool being uncovered during the rainy season, it made it much more temperamental than usual.”

Anderson adds, “We are hoping that we have gotten control of it at this point.”

Junior swim team member Gianluca Douros took a test to see for himself what the chlorine level was after one particularly painful practice and found that the level of chlorine was significantly over the acceptable average.

“I knew something has been up with the pool because you could smell the pool from the pool deck,” Douros says. “If you can smell it, you know the chlorine is way up, and when I went in the pool two things happened: first, my skin dried up really badly. Secondly, my mouth dried up, and that is just a result from the pH and chlorine levels being up.”

Short term effects of over-chlorination include dry skin, dry mouth and a burning sensation in the eyes, but Douros also goes into detail explaining what some long term effects of over-chlorination can cause.

“Chlorine can actually replace iodine in the chemical reaction that happens in your thyroid, and that can lead to thyroid problems.”

Douros hopes that a few custodians are trained to deal with the pool and regularly check the chlorine levels or have the school hire a pool company to come and deal with the pool on a regular basis. The junior plans to go to the school board if the problem isn’t solved soon.

“It’s not a matter of smelly chlorine,” Douros adds. “It’s a matter of people’s health, people’s safety and the school is putting itself at a huge liability if it does not fix this.”

Junior swimmer Grace Heidtke says, “When the chlorine levels are off you can definitely feel it, not as drastically as it was but you get that latex feeling in your mouth and your skin feels like it’s on fire. It really kind of ruins the swimming experience.”

Junior dive team member Maisy Bockus became ill from the chlorine.

“I took multiple showers in attempt to get the chlorine off of my skin,” Bockus says, “but nothing worked, and for the next 24 hours I was sickened by the chemicals coming off of my skin throughout the day.”

As of now, it seems that the levels have gone back to normal while waiting for the arrival of the chlorine regulator, and swimmers and divers have gone back to their normal day-to-day swimming schedule. CHS dive coach Lynn Kurteff explains that her team has been working on dry land when unable to get into the pool, mainly focusing on strength and balance.

-Asha Johnston