Atlanta, GA

Georgia Tech shares the reason behind their fast Olympic pool

Andrew Alvarez
Yaroslav Melnychuk/Unsplash

ATLANTA, GA—After hosting the Atlanta Olympics 25 years ago, Georgia Tech's facility pool, McAuley Aquatic, continued the University's legacy of being one of the fastest pools in the world. The pool was chosen as the designated place for NCAA Division I men’s and women’s national championships in March 2022.

Every aspect of the pool, including airflow and depth, are working together to create a dynamic system.

“There are three primary reasons why the Georgia Tech pool is still among the fastest, even after a quarter-century, two are at the bottom of the pool and the other is at the sides,” said Jud Ready, an adjunct professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering.

The first reason why the pool is up to par with Tokyo Olympics standard is the depth, which is 3 meters deep or 9.8 feet.

The second is the pool return jets system, where jets are built underneath the lanes, while the ordinary pool installs the jets on the side of the walls. This method prevents water from creating currents that will disturb the swimmer.

Another thing at the pool that is not as apparent is the air systems—Georgia Tech builds the air to stream down underneath the laminar flow from the rafters to the opposite of the pool, crossing the surface into the large fans.

This system removes odor, chloramines and keeps the air fresh during competition.

Judd Ready, one of the athletes that use the pool, said that the water at the pool is cold, at around 77 degrees. This helps the athlete to prevent fatigue.

“Olympians are working hard and generating heat during competition. Warm water would quickly fatigue muscles so the temperature is kept lower than what is comfortable for a typical family day at the pool,” said Ready.

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