We Don’t Swim In Your Toilet – Please Don’t Pee In Our Pool

A recent email from USA Swimming’s Coaching Connection, Volume 28, dated and emailed 07/12/2013.


We Don’t Swim In Your Toilet – Please Don’t Pee In Our Pool

This was a popular sign displayed at many pools in the 1970’s and 80’s. What happened to that message? It needs to come back, stronger than ever. To make a very long explanation short, it is not chlorine that makes the pool air smell bad, it is chloramines. Two main sources for chloramine formation are peeing in the pool and not taking showers.

One in five people in the general public admit they fail to get out of the pool before having to urinate. Even some of our top-notch Olympic swimmers have publicly admitted that they pee in the pool. Think about this: some kids actually drink from the pool.

Why is the issue of peeing in the pool so important? What has come to the forefront recently is that peeing in the pool is one of the primary contributors to “bad air quality” in indoor natatoriums. Bad air has caused swimmers, coaches, officials and spectators to have breathing issues.

One of the misconceptions amongst swimmers is that one person peeing will not affect a large pool. They do not realize the problems they are creating. One person peeing in the pool can negatively affect 10,000 gallons of water for up to 12 days. Most Olympic size pools hold over 900,000 gallons of water so it only takes 90 swimmers to cause a noticeable problem in our largest of pools.

Here is what you can do:
•Coaches: Sit your swimmers down (more than once) and impress upon them the importance of not peeing in the pool. Not a passing comment or casual mention of the fact or a joke, but real a statement that gets the swimmers’ attention and gets the point across.

•Make sure there is signage in more than one prominent location (including locker rooms and lobbies) stressing the importance of not peeing in the pool. BIG BOLD LETTERS.  Not cutesy signs.  WARNING SIGNS.

•Help make every coach, athlete, parent, official and volunteer aware of the seriousness of this problem.

Please take appropriate action immediately. Our pools thank you and your swimmers will thank you!


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