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back to article Portsmouth redefines the Olympic-sized swimming pool

Portsmouth has delivered a serious blow to attempts to have the Olympic-sized swimming pool recognised as an official unit of measurement, by shaving two inches off the standard length. Despite efforts by we here at El Reg and, notably, the BBC, to promote the handy volume, Portsmouth Council has blown it big time by punting the …

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FAIL

Why isn't this headline news ?

After all, at a time of unprecedented tension in the Middle East, the economy gradually falling to pieces, our being involved in a "conflict" that has gone on longer than WW2, I can see that a 50m pool that is "short" by the critical amount of 2 inches which will doubtless cause severe grief to a multitude of people should in fact be our top priority.

Sheesh. Some people need to put things into a sense of perspective.

I wonder how many jobs will be cut at this council due to lack of funds. Frankly luxuries such as Olympic swimming pools or Olympic anything are irrelevancies.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Why isn't this headline news ?

Who suggested it's a matter of life and death? It's an embarrassing costly issue and silly mistake. It's not being presented as anything else.

God I hate meaningless relativism.

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Spot-on Sarah

Didn't Einstein say that?

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Grenade

Re: Why isn't this headline news ?

You're missing the point - two inches is important as your post has demonstrated.

If you had two extra inches of humour, you may have been able to see the global problem that redefining the Olympic swimming pool as a unit of measure has.

If your head was two inches less up your own ass, you may even be able to see daylight....

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Paris Hilton

Hands up...

... any man who wouldn't complain if someone tried taking two inches away from him.

Don't all rush, now.

(Paris, because watching any of her attempts to be sexy is apt to induce the above effect.)

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Er, don't know but he did say ..

"The problem with chemistry is that it's too difficult for chemists " or similar

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FAIL

It's like you Ben

Short two inches of being something.

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Boffin

El Reg measures

As much as an 'Olympic-sized Swimming Pool' only makes sense if you have a defined depth, too. AFAIK that's not part of the Olympic Pool spec, so it's a shoddy unit at best.

Using Linguini as a measure of length is of course perfectly acceptable.

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Bronze badge

Err . .

I think you will find that FINA have in fact specified the minimum depth, and the lane width, and a host of other parameters if you want an Olympic pool. Length is critical of course, but depth is even more important when comparing volumes (Sheffield varies in depth up to 3m in the centre). You would think that the architect could have looked it up first, before revving up the digger.

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Boffin

Defined depth?

http://www.prstubbs.btinternet.co.uk/olist.htm:

"An Olympic Pool must be 25m wide with a depth of 2.0m (min) at all parts of the course and must be 50m in length - between touch panels if they are used. The 25m width is to allow for 8 lanes to be 2.5m wide minimum with 2 spaces of 2.5m wide outside lane 1 and 8.

So this is 2.5 x 8 lanes = 20m + (2.5m x 2) = 25m in total."

Works for me.

(And raises the suggestion they don't use touch panels at this one, surely...?)

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There's a minimum depth

"At least two metres deep" I think, so there is a minimum volume for an allowable Olympic pool, but no maximum volume.

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Headmaster

Having separate units for length and volume isn't really necessary.

The real SI units just take the unit for length and cube it to get volume, that being the way that spacetime works. So I think it should be noted that one cubic linguine is equal to 5.2406 grapefruit, or approximately one micro-olympic swimming pool.

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Boffin

@El Reg measures

Personally, I would have thought that the lack of two extra lanes, as mentioned in the article, would have a rather greater effect on volume?

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Coat

I'm trying to write about swimming pools and you want a title?

Given that there are only 2 measurements defined and the 3rd is ambiguous really destroys this as a unit of volume.

Unless of course you make it at least as deep as 2 elephants, half fill it, then submerge aforesaid elephant in it and measure the water displacement to find the volume of an elephant!

Thus we can use the same descriptor as a measure of either volume or weight depending on the context :-)

OK, I'll get my coat.......

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Coat

He must have been cheap

Hard to find architects prepared to dig their own swimming pool( is that the architect equivalent of eating your own dog food?)

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Shocked

Hang your head in shame, Portsmouth Council! As if your town didn't have a bad enough reputation already...

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Easy peasy

Just redesign the time boards to be millimetres thick.

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Thumb Up

Exactly what I was thinking

Maybe 20 years ago, the time boards were quite thick, but one would think that today, these things could be made waffer thin, no?

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Coat

Waffer Thin?

Surely a wafer thin board wouldn't make any difference?

Just one.

Wafer thin.

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Anonymous Coward

They are

They are only millimetres thick.

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Boffin

wafer-thin time boards

Just remove the tiling, and put the time boards in the indentation so they're flush with the pool edge. Sure, it's extra work and cost, but if th elack is really costing the council that much, why not?

Otherwise, it's all a storm in a tea-pool

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Go

or

smash bits out of each end to accommodate FLUSH FITTING timing boards.

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FAIL

Been done before

The old "Olympic pool" in Leeds (which has just been demolished) was about the same size too small, apparently becuase they forgot to add in the width of the tiles.

Good to see we're getting better at building these things. Lucky that it's too cold and wet in the UK for a month-long outdoor based event, so we'll never have to actually host the games.

Oh

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And Cambridge's old pool, too

I've heard the same story about Cambridge's old Parkside pool.

But what it lacked in length, it more than made up for in extreme ugliness. I presume it got some architectural awards when it was built.

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What about Jesus Green?

Well the outdoor pool at Jesus Green is 100yds long. Not international standard, but makes swimming a "last couple of lengths" a bit more interesting and requiring more forward planning....

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Happy

The new parkside pool was a clusterf**k dimwit design too

It's all glass and there's no railings or other things to stop old men coming right up to the window and fiddling with themselves - which they do from time to time. It's known locally as the "Paedo pool."

Also, a few months after it opened they had a nudist group did some sessions there - so they had to block the windows off with cardboard. But forgot that the wrinkly old buggers were still visible when they jumped off the high diving board, which actually caused at least one car crash if I remember rightly.

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And Cambridge's old pool, too

Cambridge's old Parkside pool was 33 1/3 m long, nowhere near the Olympic 50m, with or without timing boards or tiles.

See also http://www.iankitching.me.uk/history/cam/parkside-pool.html

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Flame

Strip the tiles and build a custom board as a replacement

With a sufficient budget a decent engineering shop can build boards that are less than 2in thick.

It will be cheaper than redoing the whole pool anyway.

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Stop

If only it was that simple

Alas, Olympic timing boards must be an inch thick and must sit an inch proud of the Olympic grade tiles and grout.

There's no point crying and screaming about it now, you should have carefully read the small print before you built the thing, it's not that hard, just a correctly sized hole in the ground really.

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FAIL

Not again

You know - this happened more than 30 years ago in my home town.

That indoor, heated pool was Olympic size, too - until they put the tiles in. Goodbye to hosting serious competitions when times swum cannot be officially registered.

Oh well - left more time for the local schools' swimming classes. The pool still stands - it's the roof that came down a few years ago and dunked a couple of swimmers in the deep end (4+ m)

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Heart

I'm confused

"shaving two inches off the standard length"

"the pool is the required 50 metres long"

I'm confused, what's an inch? What's a metre? I know only of linuine and double-decker buses. This article means nothing to me (aaaaaaaaaaah, Vienna)

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FAIL

Fixable

You would need 500mtr of 2"x4" and 20kg of 6" nails, then cut the .........

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Vulcanistic Pachydermic Calculations

1000m3 = 217 Elephants * 180 = 180,000 m3 or 39060 Elephants

That's the easy stuff out of the way, now comes the crunch:

2 inches = 5.08 cm or 0.058m

50 - 0.058 = 49.942m x 25m x 2.88m = 3595.824 m3

Now, drawing on info from the first pachyderm conversion article = 100 m3 = 21 elephants, meaning each elephant has a volume of 4.76 m3.

This shocking info reveals that by shaving a mere 2 inches off an Olympic swimming pool, Portsmouth are depriving their swimmers of almost an entire elephant. Disgusting.

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Anonymous Coward

pedantry

5.08cm is not 0.058m...

However .0508*25*2.88 = 36.576m3, surely we are missing 9 elephants?

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Silver badge

Conversions

Yes, but what's that in brontosauri*? (the standard unit of comparison for small boys)

* yes, yes, I know it's an apatosaurus.

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IT Angle

How do you get nine elephants in a swimming pool?

If you answered "smear them in a two-inch thick layer across the end walls", the RSPCA would like a word with you...

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Coffee/keyboard

Coffee

I coughed up an olympic swimming pool of coffee over my keyboard after reading this.

I never get bored of reading about council muppetry, weasel-wording and blatant spinning.

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WTF?

council idiots, again

recess the pads into the pool tiles. not difficult. even a local authority should be able to cock that one up!

(however, maybe not. my experience contracting for LA's doesnt fill me with confidence)

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Ditch the touch boards

Ditch the 2-inch thick touch boards, and replace with zero-thickness infra-red beam sensors, or resistivity-sensitive mesh painted on the ends. This looks like a trivial problem with a trivial solution.

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FAIL

Restivity sensitive mesh

That would work wonderfully so long as you make sure it doesn't get wet... ah.

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Paris Hilton

What's an inch.

Apparently an inch is about 8cm.

Paris, obviously, because she'd always spot if a couple of inches were missing.

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WTF?

Wishful thinking...

How on earth did you get 8cm for an inch? Some pop culture reference I am not familiar with? (One inch is 2,54 cm exactly).

At any rate, let's be proper Europeans here and just stay metric now, shall we? As you have just seen, it's a lot easier than having to worry about doing conversions....

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Paris Hilton

Dude...it's all about perception

Of course, Paris...why do you think?

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flush

Just cut out a touch board thickness deep piece out of each wall, and then the touch board surface will be flush with the wall.

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FAIL

Setting them in the walls

Would work assuming they havent gone cheapskate on the construction behind the tiles.

Its the heady mix of private operator not knowing what its doing (we dont exactly have many 50m olympic pool experts in the UK) and a council leisure department that would struggle to blow itself up in a well layed minefield,

Anon as I have to work with these kind of muppets.

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muppets

so do i, but im out of here in 4 weeks and three days!

am i and my fellow contractors counting the hours? YES :)

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FAIL

Insult to injury

Portsmouth City Council closed the Victoria swimming pool, which was up to the job, which had tiried seating down both sides of the pool for spectators at competions. (at a guess 200+)

The victoria pool was in the centre of town, had a bus stop outside of it, could be walked to by most people in under 30 minutes, and was around the corner from the main bus station and railway station.

Mountbatten centre, not only being the wrong length, can only be got to via motor car by most people, has seating 1 floor up from the pool for about 12 spectators, the walkway around the pool is slippy when wet (wet at swiming pool who could have thought that would happen!). And a lot of tax payers money was spent on it/

Of course the victoria pool, which needed some minor maint work, also happens to be on an ideal site for property developers, surely a coincidence!.

PS

PCC also flattened the listed building outside the dock yard that had been the regional gymnastics centre, which will no doubt help our olympic hopefuls for 2012!

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Ermmmm

Victoria pool was 25 m long

At least it was when we were forced to go there and swim by the school

did have one advantage.. the deep end was 13' deep so we could play "see who can hide on the bottom the longest"

My mate Barry is still there.........

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Happy

Length Victoria Swiming Pool

The 25m bit of the pool was when they moved the boom down from the shallow end, creating the learner/paddling pool at the top end.

They also had the advantage of life guards that actually whatched what the swimers where doing, rather than standing in groups chatting to their mates (as I have seen at mountbatten the couple of times I've been there. (I used to go swiming at victoria most week days, when not away from home)

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Coat

evolution in portsmouth

i realise portsmouth's a bit backward and has a low gene pool but have the locals really got respiratory systems that haven't evolved beyond gills yet?

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