Former U.S. Team Member Answers Vital Question: Do Olympic Swimmers Pee In The Pool?
SALON, QUORA, KQ 103, CBS CLEVELAND (USA), HERALD SUN (Australia)
On Monday, writes Salon, Missy Franklin competed in two Olympic races in 15 minutes. She barely had time to get from one pool to the next, let alone make a pit stop along the way.
Which made the website wonder: Since toilet trips can be a hassle -- especially for those immersed in water and sheathed in nylon, might letting loose in the pool just be easier, particularly for elite swimmers in the thick of training? What's really going on underwater?
Someone who followed the same train of thought as Salon asked about it on question-and-answer website Quora:
"Do Olympic or competitive swimmers ever pee in the pool?
Is it even possible to relieve oneself when under such pressure? I think the underwater cameras these days might catch it."
The surprising –and slightly disturbing- answer came from former US Swimming National Team Member Carly Geehr:
"Nearly 100% of elite competitive swimmers pee in the pool. Regularly. Some deny it, some proudly embrace it, but everyone does.
The more interesting question is *when* does said peeing happen?
- Just about the only time you can get away with peeing during a race is during a breaststroke pullout. Before a race is an interesting time. It depends on the meet and to some extent the color of the pool deck. I kid you not. You always try to pee before you swim, but sometimes your body defies logic and finds a way to refill your bladder just to spite you. Adrenaline and nerves wreak havoc on your system, and I knew tons of other swimmers that always, regardless of prior planning, had to pee right before a race. What to do if you're desperate? Well, it's not uncommon to splash yourself before you climb up on the blocks, so that extra liquid on yourself and the pool deck affords you an interesting opportunity. (I'll let you finish the rest of that thought.)
- Warmup/practice - totally free reign. As a swimmer, you just have to accept that you're swimming in pee. I had a teammate that would sit on the wall and announce "I'm peeing!" which was... disgusting... but at least she warned us. I'm sure I've swum directly behind people who were just letting it all out.
As to the underwater cameras catching it - even if Olympic swimmers peed during their races, which they don't - there's just no way. The only way you can really tell if someone's peeing in the pool is if they announce it to you or they're really dehydrated/sitting in one spot while they go. It diffuses pretty quickly, and if you're moving, it diffuses even faster. (Never been in a pool where they use those chemicals that makes pee turn bright colors, but have always wondered...)"
You're surrounded by thousands of litres of water, writes the Herald Sun. It's too cold to get out and go to the bathroom. And, plus, who's going to notice?
KQ 103 radio station says a recent survey conducted by the Water Quality and Health Council showed that one in five adults admits to peeing in the pool. The study, says CBS Cleveland also found that nearly 70 percent of people do not shower before taking a dip in the pool, essentially using it as a type of bath.
"Swimming is not a substitute for bathing. Too many people unknowingly treat the pool as a communal bathtub," said Dr. Chris Wiant, chair of the Water Quality & Health Council in a press release. "It may seem counter-intuitive, but it's important to shower before you jump in the pool to help keep swimming healthy for everyone in the pool."
The Center For Disease Control (CDC) gives this useful, if elementary, hygiene tip: "Don't swallow the pool water. Avoid getting water in your mouth."