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multi-tiered swimming pool

An olympic sized pool in a quarter the space
  (+17, -3)(+17, -3)
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OK so you want a swimming pool but you don't have enough space. Since everyone wants to swim laps at the same time, it either needs to be super wide or people are gonna have to wait; and if I know Americans, they ain't gonna wait! Maybe you have a big family or you are trying to fit a public pool in the alley between two buildings in new york, but you need a pool that can accomodate a lot of swimmers at the same time. Well here's the solution. Its a multi-tiered swimming pool. Its as long as you want, the width of a lap lane, and DEEP. Beneath the water are a series of levels that are like floors, but don't extend all the way to the extremes of the pool. Instead there are gaps at each end of the lap lane and lips that extend downward such that each floor is like an upside-down box that traps air. This pocket of air constitutes a whole new lap lane in 3-Dimensional space!! Crazy! Fresh air is pumped under pressure to fill the lowest tier first, then the air travels across the tier and through an escape to the next tier and so forth so there is a continuous supply of fresh air. Swimmers start on the surface and swim a lap, then they dive 10 feet or so to the 2nd tier down (skipping the first) and enter the air pocket. They can then swim a lap in the opposite direction. At the end, they go deeper (again by 2 levels) by a level and keep repeating it until they get to the bottom. Then they swim UP 1 level, complete the lap and then swim UP 2 levels for each successive lap. This allows swimmers to be effectively swimming a vertical loop such that they never swim in the same tier twice per loop. Wow! Now thats awesome. Here's the catch. Swimmers are safe on the descent, but when they come up they have to slowly blow bubbles so the air doesn't expand in their lands and force them to embolize which can lead to sudden and very painful death. But hey, the risk is a small price to pay for a 20 story vertical swimming pool!!
jayrad, Mar 06 2004

[link]






       Given that they have pools in penthouses, wouldn't it be simpler to have pools in a building with multiple floors representing multiple pools?   

       In your scenario, the air pockets would have to be at progressively higher pressure and you'd need to decompress before surfacing.
theircompetitor, Mar 06 2004
  

       Scope Creep:
1) The sides of the pool should be glass.
2) Each layer should have underwater lighting.
3) The top layer should have bubble bath solution.
4) The other layers should be dyed different colors (Red, Green, Orange).
  

       When the swimmers churn the water and bubble bath on the top layer, you should get about three feet of foam after an hour. Then, you will have created the world's tallest faux gelatin parfait! Should look realy cool at night.[+]
1st2know, Mar 06 2004
  

       I want to like this idea but, (and I could very well be wrong about this), if I am getting this right, air will be pumped down to the lowest *ceiling* where it will bubble up to each upper tier but the waterways will all be connected, so to swim down 20 stories you aren't going to have to worry about the bends, but the pressures of water at that depth.   

       Couldn't you do the opposite? Have 20 stories of swimming pool, each with a water slide down to the next level. I'm not sure about the swimming back up part - you'd either need a ladder or learn salmon swimming techniques.
Worldgineer, Mar 07 2004
  

       Simpler solution: a stack of lanes, as before, but the lanes are in pairs for each way (let's say the pool is aligned east-west, so the south lane is the downward set), and there is a large paired water-mill contraption going up and down both ends. All you have to do is replace the 10-foot dive with a rectangular mill-wheel bucket, so you go to the end conventionally and turn around, and by the time you get back to the other end of the mill-wheel, you've descended to the next lane. Same on the way up, but all the 'up' lanes are on the north - they are fully split off from each other (perhaps by a mesh wall - for water circulation). Could have timing difficulties but this would replace the 'bends' problem with a simply mechanical design issue (which more corporate insurers would be happy with, let's face it). Outer edges of the watermill would have to have a water-replenishment system, because there will no doubt be some water loss in the period of the bucket/lane meeting.
badgers, Mar 07 2004
  

       two words: pulmonary embolism three more words: water is heavy
whatastrangeperson, Apr 07 2004
  

       I thought you only got those breathing helium underwater... I don't think it's deep enough to cause embolisms, either...
spacecadet, Apr 07 2004
  

       I don't really see the problem. If you have four lanes of water, and each swimming lane is 6 feet deep, you have 24 feet of water. Sure, the pressure is higher in the lower levels, but remember that Tahitian pearl divers regularly go more than 100 feet down to kill oysters. Just put the more experienced swimmers in the lower lanes. They'll be fine, and the bends won't be an issue because to get out, you have to go from the bottom to the top. If each lane is 100 meters, that should be plenty of time swimming from one end to the other to equalize the pressure between your blood vessels and your lungs.
shapu, Jun 15 2004
  

       //But hey, the risk is a small price to pay for a 20 story vertical swimming pool!!//
[jayrad], your callous and frankly irresponsible attitude towards health and safety earns you my bun. I only wish I had two to give. +
spacemoggy, Jun 16 2004
  

       I love this idea, the thought of swimming down to the lower levels seems fun and i can imagine it perfectly. here's looking forward to it being made!
fridge duck, Jan 11 2005
  

       [shapu] The pearl divers (and free divers) are OK because they're not breathing. The lower levels would have to be filled with a Helium mixture.
hippo, Nov 01 2006
  

       What hippo said- there is a calculation taking into account both depth and time spent at that depth. Too much too long and too much gas will dissolve in your blood.   

       Rise too far, too fast, and it will bubble out, blocking blood flow (possibly fatally).   

       However, while very dangerous, this is not a deal breaker. Lots of things are dangerous. You just need to be careful and responsible and you will be fine, as with many potentially dangerous (fun) situations. Perhaps wristbands that will warn you when you have been down too long, and instruct you how fast to proceed towards the surface. (+)
GutPunchLullabies, Mar 15 2007
  

       And one other thing: If you go down too far without breathing, the air pressure pushing on your epiglottis will be too strong for you to open it. You will not be able to move it out of the way to inhale due to the (relative) vaccuum in your lungs.   

       Now that would suck.
GutPunchLullabies, Mar 15 2007
  

       (on more reflection) Don't you need a lower percentage of O2 at higher pressures? To get the same partial pressure? And isn't too much bad?
GutPunchLullabies, Mar 15 2007
  

       I am surprised that we don't seem to have any actual divers here.   

       A quick internet search seems to imply that a 200ft deep dive is quite deep, and would require substantial decompression time on the way up.
Galbinus_Caeli, Mar 15 2007
  

       //I am surprised that we don't seem to have any actual divers here//
Yes, 200 feet is very deep - PADI recreational diving (no decompression) on air is limited to around 130 feet/40 metres, though despite the "no decompression" tag, PADI recommend a "safety stop" at 5 metres.
Ascent times should not exceed 18 metres per minute.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Mar 15 2007
  

       The edit button is a wonderful thing [GutPunch].   

       This is probably one of my favourite ideas. Ascent would be a bit slow, but if each swimming level had it's own theme (pictures/music etc) this would be a perfect addition to any millionaire's house.
hidden truths, Mar 16 2007
  

       One solution would be to just have a floor/ceiling that goes the entire way through the pool every 2 levels deep or so. On alternating schedules, the odd versus even doors in these dividers open to let swimmers through.   

       That way, you can swim up and down 20 different stories of pool without ever getting out, but the pressure would never be greater than at 40 feet for you, since the dividers would hold up the water above. And if you want to get out, you can just swim to the outer wall of any section, and go into a little airlock-type thing that closes behind you, and then drains so that you end up standing on the stairwell that runs up the side of the pool.
Smurfsahoy, Mar 16 2007
  

       //but the pressure would never be greater than at 40 feet for you// You can easily get the bends coming up from half this depth [-]
coprocephalous, Mar 16 2007
  

       I like the idea, however as a swimmer, it's a bit of a pain to have to change direction let alone hight while swimming. Sticking to a classic up the right back on the right would be best. As for the bends, most people have problems adjusting to the pressure at the bottom of a 15 foot pool let alone 100 foot. Dealing with all the pressure differences would be a fun aspect of the pool, jumping from one level to the next would be fine but you'd be limited to jumping 1 level every 10 min or so to allow time to decompress or adjust to increased pressure.   

       If you were interested in starting at a deeper depth airlocks for change rooms that would open up to the lower cavities might do the trick. That way you can take the time to pressurize while your changing and then decompress while your changing out.   

       Having all the water connected together has a downside though. An aspect of lane swimming is people pushing themselves too hard and they can throw up. This basically means you'd have to close all the levels if you end up with vomit or fecal contamination. Not exactly practical especially if your dealing with little kids who tend to poop in the water.   

       I still like the idea though. It would be alot of fun to swim in, definitely not practical but fun as hell.
thekid4000, Mar 16 2007
  
      
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