'Fast pool' helps locals at state swim meet


CAMBRIDGE -- In general terms, pools are pools. They all have starting blocks, lane lines and water.

But oh, how Massachusetts Institute of Technology's facility is different. Berkshire County swimmers called it a "fast pool."

The differences are everywhere, and the swimmers know it.

"This pool is amazing," Monument Mountain's Caroline Bissaillon said. "It's pools like this and Harvard and BU where [when] you get in there, you feel fast."

Berkshire County swimmers combined to swim 41 events (individual and relays combined) throughout the four-meet weekend. In 32 of those, the swimmers bettered their seed time (78 percent).

The pools the swimmers routinely compete in during the league schedule are warm, chlorine-filled and not engineered to aid in fast times.

Taconic coach Marisa Plant pointed out the gutters at MIT and how deep they are. (She was referring to an area along the sides of the pool that allows the waves somewhere to go instead of bouncing off the walls and slowing swimmers down.)

The MIT pool's depth also aided in that aspect. The pool can be used as a 50-yard long course pool, but the movable bulkhead condensed it to 10 lanes of 25 yards. The area being used ranged from 712 feet to almost 10 feet deep. That's in stark contrast to area pools, which are no more than 5 feet deep for about half of the pool.

"Every pool we swam in has a shallow end, so the water currents, I'm guessing, when you flip, you just feel all the current underneath because it's so shallow," Monument swimmer Dominic Roy said. "But this, it's deep. You don't get that as much."

As for the temperature, a warm pool may be nice for lounging or conducting swim lessons, but it's not good for competition.

"It's a really cold pool, so your body will just shoot through it," Monument's Zach Richardson said. "You'll feel slow, but you're going fast."

The swimmers also commented on the decreased amount of chlorine in the pool, which aided in faster times.

The pool conditions alone wasn't the sole reason. Postseason isn't the time for building endurance, but rather getting into top form.

"I think also tapering even more for all of us, shaving more for all of us [also helped]," Bissaillon said. "Just really knowing your conditioning's going to pay off."


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