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SwimergyTM Swim Systems
ANDY'S COLUMN ON WATERSPACE DESIGN
Blog on the intersection of pools, swim machines, fountains, aquaculture, hot tubs and what not.
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Energy-efficient swimming machine swims two without machinery or power
Forest Hills, NY January 14, 2010 -- An energy-efficient exercise pool which needs no machinery or electricity for swimming, can fit two swimmers at a time, and offers a better and more natural swim than mechanical swimming machines at a fraction of their cost has been developed by Andy Foldes, a New York pool professional concerned about the endless ways in which swimming machines and pools waste energy, space and money. Called the Swimergy Swim SystemTM, the pool is only 7' x 14', and makes use of resistance swimming technology used by college swim teams and the military. Not least, since the Swimergy pool is free of mechanical clutter, it can replace the family pool, as the enjoyment of a pool is not proportional to its size.
"As both a swimmer and a pool professional," says Foldes, "I was frustrated by the complexity and cost of swimming machines, until I realized that the preoccupation with moving the water is unnecessary." Old fashioned swimming machines require 6.5 to 11kW of electricity and a lot of complicated machinery. But swimming professionals do not use these systems when they want to swim in place - they use tether systems. Neil McKinlay, swimming coach and author of Learning to Swim: Reflections on Living agrees. "Regarding resistance vs. machine, I come down on the side of the former. Cost and simplicity are the main reasons - and I think most age group teams would say the same."
Thethered swimming has many benefits over swimming against mechanical currents. There is nothing to adjust when you want to change stroke or speed, you simply swim freely, faster or slower, as you like. Strong swimmers can swim flat out, impossible in a mechanical swimming machine. Gone are the mechanical noises, the need to stay within a narrow current, or the fear of striking your fingers and toes against machinery. You just swim, naturally and comfortably. Until now, however, this was hard to implement in very small pools because the waves were reflected right back, making swimming difficult. The Swimergy, however, is shaped to break up large waves into smaller ones, which are then trapped by the racing lanes, keeping the water surface about as calm as in a large pool.
The Swimergy has many uses. It is perfect for triathlon or decathlon training, as well as speed and endurance training in Masters swimming or collegiate competition when coupled with open water practice. It is equally good as a cardio-vascular exercise machine, a means of maintaining muscle tone and flexibility, burning off excess calories, doing aqua aerobics, for therapy, or teaching purposes. Foldes sees it as improving over both regular pools and swimming machines: "I see it as the water space of the future, simple, economical, and very practical in that you can swim better than in a regular pool or a swim machine, but you do so at a fraction of the cost and energy use, while conserving valuable space in your house or yard, and still providing most of the fun factor of a standard-size pool."
Being energy and space efficient, it is a natural companion to any house making use of green building technology. In keeping with the ecological philosophy of "less is more" the Swimergy further reduces energy demand by using solar energy to heat the water, by using a monolayer evaporation barrier system to keep the heat in, and needs no chemicals. With total energy use only one tenth that of a swimming machine and one fifteenth that of a swimming pool, the Swimergy can be entirely solar-powered. Finally, not only does the Swimergy improve the swim and save on space and energy costs, it is also much less expensive to buy than old-fashioned swimming machines, costing only about one third as much, both to purchase and to install.
Andy Foldes has been working in the pool industry since 1973, and now specializes in the design of custom swimming pools. He has US patents pending for the wave quelling and the tension adjustment aspects of the Swimergy pool.
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