Pool Swim for Distance Rules

WipperWipper Fort Collins, COMember

I'm not sure if I will end up doing so, but if I were to go for a 12 or 24 hour distance swim in a pool, what are the rules for: 1) measurement of the course 2) stepping or standing on the bottom of the pool for feeds or stretching 3) getting out if needed (toilet or massage)

Answers to these and any other suggestions would be welcome.



  • lakespraylakespray Senior Member

    So what's the "why" on the swim? For example are you trying set some kind of FINA or USMS record. Is it for personal edification, training etc.?

  • WipperWipper Fort Collins, COMember
    edited March 8

    2 1/2 years ago, I read about a duo of German masters swimmers who swam 80k in a 25m pool in 24h. I started some training for that, with the idea of doing a fundraiser for Leukemia and Lymphoma. I am a Hodgkin Lymphoma survivor. I was in the early stages of training when my wife and I adopted an infant on very short notice. So, my training was derailed. Then, my access to a pool was limited. Now that our child is a toddler, and I have much more access to a pool, I thought Why Not try again? I can get some pretty serious long swims in before I have to decide if I can really make 24 hours, and if I am on track, I can set up a swim with a few months notice and still do the fundraiser. I don't have access to a 25m pool, but have access to a 50m pool and a 25y pool (87500y = 80km).

    Truly, I'm just curious.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin

    Not sure if any rules exist for this sort of swim, but I don't see the problem with touching bottom during feeds or getting out for a toilet break or even a massage -- the clock is still running, and it would seem ridiculous to expect the swimmer to pee in the pool for 24 hours.

  • lakespraylakespray Senior Member
    edited March 8

    If it's for a fundraiser that you personally are setting up, the rules are whatever you want them to be. You could certainly model them along the lines of Marathon Swimming Federations (MSF) rules but since it is in a pool you will have to build in bathroom breaks etc. I think the key here is setting realistic rules for yourself, be very transparent about them and than go do your swim. There is a swimmer (whose name we will not mention) who set-up a 48 hour swim fundraiser for Hurricane Sandy in Herald Square, New York City. The swimmer was observed and duly noted in these pages on having extended conversations with friends, family and on lookers at pools edge. The swimmer self admitted to "to breaking otherwise strict athletic rules by hugging some of the humans joining in the two-lane pool" But it was this swimmers show, so they could really do what they wanted to do.

  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member

    evmo said: ...and it would seem ridiculous to expect the swimmer to pee in the pool for 24 hours.

    It would? :-)

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited March 8

    Anyone trying to set a record for a 24/48 hour pool swim would be incentivized to pee in the pool at least a few times. But effectively requiring swimmers to pee in the pool by prohibiting toilet breaks seems a bit harsh.

    I wonder if Maarten peed in the pool: https://swimswam.com/olympic-champion-maarten-van-der-weijden-breaks-24-hour-swim-wr/

    Also, pooping. Poor lap counters!

    Gotta have toilet breaks, I think, for pool swims.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    Yeah...nooo...don't pee in the pool!


    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member

    evmo said: Also, pooping. Poor lap counters!

    I didn't even think about pooping. Never needed to within 30 hours or so. There's this wonder drug called Immodium. It'll stop you up for at least 24 hours. I would take it on my shorter swims, starting with MIMS, though decided on the really long ones where my body is already super stressed that it's probably best to let your body do what it needs to do, when it wants to do it. Haven't used it in a few years. Ryan takes them though, when he knows there isn't a bathroom on a boat.

    Sorry, that's probably TMI.

    And I'm 100% joking. Nothing wrong with using a toilet, IMO, so long as the clock doesn't stop running during the break.

    I still don't know why someone would want to do this in a pool, though, when there are perfectly good oceans and lakes and rivers to spend 12-24 hours in.

  • andissandiss Senior Member
    edited March 9

    "For those wondering, swimming 102.8km in 24 hours is the same as holding an average pace of 1:24.05 (with rounding)."


  • WipperWipper Fort Collins, COMember

    I still don't know why someone would want to do this in a pool, though, when there are perfectly good oceans and lakes and rivers to spend 12-24 hours in.

    I've moved to Colorado, and outdoor swim season is pretty short.

    I moved from Oklahoma, where I had a Skiatook Lake to swim in, which I used to swim in from May to late September. I didn't have a chance to convince anyone to crew for me on a kayak for a long effort. We mostly stuck to areas in the lake with limited boat traffic on Sunday mornings. Skiatook is a Great Lake for long swims, with lots of shoreline and sheltered areas, and a great potential for ten, fifteen, twenty kilometer or more out and back swims.

    I have friends in Arkansas who swam long efforts in Beaver Lake near Springdale and Bentonville. They invited me several times to join, including several times when they swam overnight. I never made it out there. One of the guys was training for the English Channel swim.

  • WipperWipper Fort Collins, COMember

    Peeing in the pool... I only do it in special circumstances, namely, every time I get in to swim.

  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member

    @wippper- I live in Colorado. Happy to help you find a lake you can swim in for 24 hours this summer. It'll be a lot of laps, but not as many as a pool. :-) You should check out the post here called The Cliff Backyard Ultra.

  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member

    I'm interested in this topic too, although my goal is more modest. Curious what, if any rules exist about marathon pool swims. My longest distance in a pool so far is 7 miles, but very unofficial, just me and the occasional lap swimmers who came and went. I've done 100×100 group swims, again honor system, workout oriented w some pull and kick laps. Wasn't so much interested in the MSF aspect, just for training.

  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member

    I always get out of the pool to pee during 100 x 100s. Nobody else seemed to need to at the December one, so I was left on 99 when everybody else had finished. Just did the last one as Billy-no-mates.

  • SwimSydneySwimSydney SydneyMember

    I did 24 hours in a pool a few years ago (50m indoor). It was part of a fundraising event for MS, with people entering in teams of 15. I decided to do it solo mostly as training for longer open water swims. I wanted to see how I'd fare doing 24 hours in a safe environment, where I could get out if I needed to, before trying it as part of a proper marathon swim.

    For me then, there weren't any rules. I got out for bathroom breaks when I needed to, and also for the odd tantrum when I didn't need to.

    Personally, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Sure, it's a challenge but gee there are nicer ways to challenge yourself.

    It was really tough. My head fell apart about 17 hours in as I just couldn't cope with the boredom of going up and down anymore. I realised that I'm definitely cut out for A to B events - if you're having a bad spot, you can console yourself that the quicker you keep your head down and swim, the quicker you finish. With the 24 hour swim, it didn't matter how fast or how slow I swam, the time wasn't going to pass any quicker. The last 7 hours were just awful.

    I swam just under 65km, less than I'd hoped for (tantrums will do that for you). I've since swum longer open water a couple of times and it is soooo much easier with changing scenery.

  • Kate_AlexanderKate_Alexander Cayman IslandsMember

    SwimSydney said:

    I realised that I'm definitely cut out for A to B events -

    The nice thing about laps, whether pool or OW, is that I can 'fall asleep' in the 'zone' - I get into a 'long gone' state where I'm not conscious of anything around me. On a point to point swim I have to pay attention at all times. Still I prefer point to point as it feels so much more like an accomplishment.

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