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UB Swimmers Getting a Breather
Buffalo News February 28, 2001

Admit it: You thought swimming was just about diving into the water and swimming as fast as you can.

Well that's the basic premise.

But swimming is much more scientific than that. Heck, it can be a chemistry lesson if you want it to be.

Just ask Budd Termin, The University at Buffalo's men's swimming coach.

He'll tell you all about the new ultraviolet system that replaced chlorine at the UB pool.

Most pool operators use chlorine to disinfect the water, which makes the entire area smell like the chemical. Think it's annoying for spectators to breath in? Try having the stuff in the air when you're sucking wind after swimming a couple of miles.

"Swimmers consume oxygen when they swim." Termin said. "That oxygen consumption has a significant effect on their overall metabolic power, which correlates to improved swimming performances. This system gives the athlete a better, cleaner environment to perform in.

"The swimmers knew immediately something was different about the water. We've been in pools all over the country and they could tell something was different the first day they were in the water. Swimmers, because they're in the water so much, their bodies grow very sensitive to changes. Even a tenth of a degree change in temperature of the water they can detect."

Does this mean faster times at UB? Maybe, maybe not. Termin in his 14th year as men's head swimming coach, said no studies have been done to see the difference in times from swimming in a chlorinated pool to one treated with ultraviolet light.

But along with making the environment more pleasant, the system has economic bonuses too.

Both systems cost about the same to operate, but since chlorine is a corrosive, maintenance becomes expensive, as do the stainless steel parts that need to be around the pool. The UV system causes less harm to the facility, reducing long-term maintenance costs.

A similar ultraviolet system was used in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, and is common throughout Europ but is still relatively new to the United States. The UB pool is the first one in New York State to have the ultraviolet system installed. The $55,000 system was given to the university as a gift-in-kind by Final Filtration of Amherst, Environmental Resources Management of Pittsford, and Wedeco/Ideal Horizons, based in Vermont.


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