Girls swim team battles chlorine

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The girls swim team’s biggest struggle is not keeping their undefeated streak alive, but instead keeping their health in top condition despite the conditions of the pool they swim in each day. The team has to battle hair loss, yellowing teeth, hair turning green, skin becoming irritated and a terrible chlorine cough throughout the season each year.

The girls have tried to find new ways around these health issues by applying vaseline to their eyebrows so they will not fall out and showering before getting into the pool, but only some tricks work. Each year girls try different things to keep their bodies in satisfactory condition.

“Showering before getting in the pool has helped, but it is a ventilation issue more than anything,” senior Summer Jack said.

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The air around the pool has chlorine mixed in with it because of the poor ventilation system at Stillwater Middle School. The mix of sweat and a strong dose of chlorine that are not able to be pushed out of the pool space is the main reason for the chlorine cough. The shower does help for those with irritated skin, but the benefits stop there.

“Sometimes our coach will crack open the door to get some fresh air in which kind of helps,” junior Allison Kobilka said about what was being done to help the girls.

Many girls stand outside coughing, trying to get more fresh air to settle their lungs and stop the chlorine cough. Unfortunately, the cough can last anywhere between a couple of minutes to a couple of days, so even fresh air does not always help.

“I would say it affects our performance because we can’t take a deep breath without coughing, which can really be a difficult when you’re swimming because you need to take more breaths,”  Jack said.

I would say it affects our performance because we can’t take a deep breath without coughing, which can really be a difficult when you’re swimming because you need to take more breaths.”

— Summer Jack

Taking more breaths while swimming can slow them down, which would affect their performance. Though the cough is not the only side effect of the chlorine that affects the girls. There are many other things they have to deal with over the course of the season.

“Every practice lots of the girls put vaseline all over their eyebrows multiple times during the practice if they want to keep their eyebrows,” junior Claire Zdechlik said.

The girls figured out this trick and it has been a big help to many. Some swim girls whose teeth turn yellow have turned to whitening strips and treatments until the season is over.  Once the season is over their teeth no longer yellow and their eyebrows regrow.

“The chemicals in the pool are just really harsh and the air in the pool area is really bad,” Zdechlik said. The girls work hard to keep their bodies healthy despite the troubles they face as they continue to keep their undefeated streak going.

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