- A South Carolina woman, her daughter, and her sister, all triathletes training for an Ironman race in September, “panicked” when they heard their local pool and beach would be shut down due to the novel coronavirus.
- So they researched ways to make their own backyard pool, and worked together to build one that allows them to swim in place for about $US450.
- The trio talked to Insider about how they did it, how it works, and their advice for others who seriously miss swimming.
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When Stephanie Miller heard that her local pools and beaches would be shut down due to the novel coronavirus, she panicked.
Miller, a 50-year-old clinical nurse educator in Irmo, South Carolina, was used to swimming three to four times a week at her local lake, community pool, or the YMCA.
Like her daughter and sister, who both live nearby, she was also training for an Ironman triathlon September 27.
The race, still set to go on in Chattanooga, kicks off with a 2.4-mile swim, about the equivalent of 169 standard pool lengths.
Not swimming until then was not an option.
So Miller and her family members set out to make their own backyard pool.
Inspired by Facebook posts from other triathletes who were showcasing their creative solutions to not being able to swim, Miller checked Amazon to check out the cost of a small pool and talked to her family members about where they could put it.
They calculated it would cost about $US450 for the pool and related supplies, and decided on Miller’s daughter’s backyard since it had the most level ground.
At the time, Miller’s sister, Julienne Prohaska, a 48-year-old who works for a copier dealership, told Insider, “we are curious how this is going to work, but we are determined!”
The trio went in on a 12-foot-squared round pool that included a pump, as well as other supplies.
They also bought a water filter, sand to level the ground, a tarp for the ground, a cover for the top of the pool, a tether to connect the swimmer’s waist to a nearby tree, a vacuum to clean the bottom, and chemicals.
Miller said a Clorox app and chemical starter kit helped them “take the guesswork out of what the pool may need to maintain water/PH/chlorine balance.”
The biggest challenge, she said, was levelling the ground.
“We came together over a few days to level the ground and assemble our new pool,” Miller said. “It took teamwork, and we did get it completed.”
Before getting in, Stephanie straps on a belt attached to a tether, which is connected to a bungee by the tree.
Then, attach it high enough up on a pole or tree nearby so that it doesn’t pull you against the wall.
While it’s no beach, it’s so far “been a good workout,” Miller said, “and with the water being shallow of 30 inches, it forces you to use better swimming form.”
Prohaska agreed, but added that her longer arms make the depth a bit of a hindrance, and both recommend others opt for a pool that’s at least 35 or 40 inches deep.
“However,” Prohaska said, the current depth “will serve the purpose.”
Since the water is still cold, the women wear wetsuits when training.
The family staggers their use depending on work and family schedules, and have also used it sans wetsuit as an “ice bath” after running.
“The hope of Ironman Chattanooga still happening is what keeps us going,” Prohaska said. “We are triathletes, we keep going no matter what.”
Miller said she hopes that the pool will last a few years, even once their other options have reopened.
To other swimmers looking for substitutes, she said: “Do not get discouraged, and using a little creativity, money pooling, and shared labour, you can make a simple swim station.”