LIHUE — Attention, no diving!
And no swimming for that matter, it’s a health concern at this point.
Mokihana Aquatics canceled swim practice at the Kauai High School pool Tuesday because the water was too warm.
Keison Haraguchi, entering the program just a couple of months ago, looked at his mother, quizzically.
How can swimming be canceled when it was so hot?
Because the water was too hot, too, and it could be risky to exert oneself.
Just earlier, Mokihana Aquatics coach Orlando “O” Anaya had just completed a Learn to Swim class with young swimmers who relished the aquatic experience, a respite from the unrelenting afternoon sun and stagnant wind.
“I know you want to swim,” the swimmer’s mom, Natalie, said. “But there’s nothing we can do until the water gets down in temperature. We gotta do what we gotta do.”
Anaya said the cut-off temperature for Learn to Swim is 92 degrees. The safety cut-off temperature for practice is 87 degrees, and for a meet, 82.5 degrees.
Tuesday’s pool reading came in at 88 degrees, a degree higher than the safety cut-off, Anaya said.
“Monday’s temperature was 87 degrees and swimmers were complaining about cramping,” Anaya said. “The temperature went up one degree overnight and after yesterday, there is no practice today. It started Friday when the temperature was 82 degrees. By Monday, it had gone up five degrees.”
Anaya said swimming in water that’s too warm can be dangerous — even fatal when Fran Crippen, one of America’s top ocean swimmers, died in 2010 in the United Arab Emirates during a 10K race where he expressed concern about the 100-degree outside temperature and 87-degree water temperature.
“We used to say that our maximum pool temperature would be 89 degrees,” Anaya said. “But our directors have told me to set our maximum temperature level at 87 degrees. I am glad I followed our directors’ decision. It’s about safety first.”
The coach explained that swimming in warm water literally “sucks the heat out of the body.”
Heat cramps are followed by heat exhaustion, followed by heat stroke.
To alleviate the too-warm water, Anaya called on swim parents for ice.
And parents obliged, dumping ice by the cooler into the pool.
“Yes, ice, as in igloos, as in Eskimos, as in ice,” Anaya said. “We risk canceling practices this week, and the timed trials this weekend if the temperature cannot be lowered. I am the USA Swimming Safety coordinator for Kauai and cannot bend the rules. In fact, it is my job to enforce the rules.”
Anaya explained to some of the parents that Mokihana Aquatics goes through this too-warm water experience each year.
“This year, it came so early,” Anaya said. “Normally, we go through this toward the end of July and August. This is just the first week of May and already the water is too warm. I’m wondering what lies ahead for summer.”