We’ve already heard from Ryan Lochte’s mother that her Olympian swimmer son is all about the “one-night stands” — or maybe not. Either way, we’ve now got it from the gold medal winner himself on another very pressing issue: whether or not he pees in the pool.
The short answer? Yes.
“I sure did in warm-up.”
“I think there’s just something about getting into chlorine water that you just automatically go.”
Well, there you have it. Do with it what you will.
Former U.S. National Swimming Team member Carly Geehr actually took the do-they-or-don’t-they question a step further, claiming, “nearly 100 percent of elite competitive swimmers pee in the pool. Regularly.”
“Some deny it, some proudly embrace it, but everyone does,” she wrote in a post on Quora earlier this week.
So when exactly might the temperature of the water rise just a tad? Geehr broke it down — and it’s more varied than Lochte’s “in warm-up” response:
- Just about the only time you can get away with peeing during a race is during a breaststroke pullout. You spend enough time gliding that if you really gotta go, you probably could. Otherwise, you’re too tense and too, well, busy to even think about peeing.
- Before a race is an interesting time. It depends on the meet and to some extent the color of the pool deck. I kid you not. You always try to pee before you swim, but sometimes your body defies logic and finds a way to refill your bladder just to spite you. Adrenaline and nerves wreak havoc on your system, and I knew tons of other swimmers that always, regardless of prior planning, had to pee right before a race. What to do if you’re desperate? Well, it’s not uncommon to splash yourself before you climb up on the blocks, so that extra liquid on yourself and the pool deck affords you an interesting opportunity. (I’ll let you finish the rest of that thought.)
- Warmup/practice – totally free reign. As a swimmer, you just have to accept that you’re swimming in pee. I had a teammate that would sit on the wall and announce “I’m peeing!” which was… disgusting… but at least she warned us. I’m sure I’ve swum directly behind people who were just letting it all out.
For what it’s worth, it’s not just athletes: The Water Quality & Health Council conducted a survey in 2009 in which one in five American adults copped to relieving themselves during swim time.
By the way, the Centers for Disease Control strongly suggest pre-swim showers to remove “the sweat, cosmetics and urine that can mix with chlorine to create irritants in pool water.”
“These irritants, not the chlorine itself, cause red eyes when we swim and the strong chemical smell of some pools,” Michele Hlavsa, chief of the CDC’s Healthy Swimming Program, told CBS News earlier this year.