As we enter the dog days of summer more students are inclined to come to campus not to study or go to class but to swim in the Rec Center pool. Since we were old enough to avoid it, our parents warned us not to swim in the kiddy pool due to the excessive amounts of urine in it. Yet despite being more than two feet deep, people swimming at the Rec Center may be swimming in Cal Poly’s own ‘kiddy pool.’
“As far as I know (peeing in the pool) has been happening since I’ve been at Cal Poly, it’s something that everybody does,” aerospace engineering sophomore Brian Peotter said.
The pool is most commonly used by both the swimming and water polo teams. Peotter said each team has members that are guilty of urinating in the pool rather than excusing themselves to use the restroom during practice. “Everyone that’s on the Cal Poly swim team that I personally know does urinate in the Rec Center pool,” Peotter said.
When discussing this practice, many swimmers talk about how the mindset was bred into them since beginning their swimming careers. “It’s been going on since all of us were 10 years old,” business sophomore Justin Skaggs said. “Ever since I learned how to swim I’ve been doing it.”
Rather than face the ire from their coach for leaving the pool and missing practice reps, the swimmers decide to answer nature’s calling the quickest way they know how, by peeing right where they tread.
“You pretty much just go whenever you have to go,” Skaggs said. “It saves time and the coach doesn’t get mad at you for getting out of the pool.”
Overseeing the pool and its maintenance is the job of Rec Center assistant director Greg Avakian.
“The reason that every pool facility has chlorine or some kind of sanitation system is (to remove) any type of organic matter whether it’s sweat, urine, saliva…. that’s what in the water to compensate and balance the pH (level),” he said.
The pool sanitation is maintained by an automated system that checks all the chemical levels in the pool every hour. The system itself checks the levels and adds the necessary chemicals to keep the pool in line with California health codes.
“There is nearly 600,000 gallons of water in the pool and California health codes have a standard rate of what the chlorine level should be as well as the Ph level,” Avakian said. “As long as you’re in that range any kind of organic matter, whatever it happens to be, should be broken down.”
Urinating in the pool might seem disgusting to those who have never been on a swim team but it hardly seems to bother the members of the team.
“I haven’t heard anyone complain unless they’re getting peed on,” Skaggs said, “They have so much chlorine (in the pool) it’s cleared up pretty much right away.”
Although the practice isn’t talked about much, there is one positive that swimmers enjoy when urinating in the pool.
“It’s good on a really, really, cold day because it keeps you warm.” Peotter said.