Saturday, August 11, 2012

To Pee or Not to Pee

I must confess that Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte makes my pulse quicken.  Yes, I’m a Marylander who should think all things aquatic begin and end with our own Michael Phelps.  Phelps is a genuine sports legend, but Lochte is medal-worthy in both swimming and looks IMHO.

If you watched his recent interview with Today show’s Matt Lauer, Lochte isn’t as adept at interviews as media-savy Phelps.  But he IS disarmingly honest.  When he admitted to Ryan Seacrest that he has, in fact, peed in the pool, stating that “sometimes you just gotta go,” it elicited a comment from none other than British Prime Minister David Cameron who was not amused. 

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 “I’m surprised to hear that,” Cameron said.  “It’s not OK to pee in the pool.”  Lochte’s laid-back approach to the art of cryptic interview answers must be inherited.  His mom recently stated that he didn’t really have time for developing relationships with girls due to his packed schedule, and had to make do with ‘one night stands’.  Ryan laughed when he heard what his mother said, knowing that she meant he didn’t have time for more than a date here and there.

So unphased was Lochte that when comedian Will Ferrell contacted him about doing a “Funny or Die” YouTube clip on pool-peeing, Ryan jumped right in.  Tongue firmly in cheek, he remarked that he plans on writing a book called “Fifty Shades of Yellow” and producing a series of podcasts redubbed “peecasts”.

Whether they will publicly admit it or not, most people have peed in the water during recreational swimming.  And until a safe, urine-activated marker is invented for chlorinated pools to embarrass swimmers into compliance, it will continue.  Note here that it is an urban legend that a substance has already been invented.  Despite their parents’ instructions, kids are prone to use the pool rather than disrupt their fun to seek out a restroom.  And, I suspect it isn’t restricted to the under-18 age group either.

If you’ve ever wondered about how safe it is to swim with the bladder-challenged group, just keep your mouth closed while you read the following.

Think chlorine kills everything?  It does kill many germs, but when it mixes with urine, it can cause irritants that produce a skin rash and red eyes.

Remember the once-ubiquitous signs that demanded everyone shower before entering the pool?  Few people shower with soap before entering a pool, but it does help prevent illness by removing germs from the skin.  And the nether regions of our bodies can pack a germ-filled wallop.  Also, cryptosporidium bacteria are chlorine resistant and are the main cause of gastroenteritis from swimming in pools.  While the proper amount of chlorine will kill most bacteria within a minute, it’s worth noting that during public pool inspections, one in eight pools are shut down temporarily for improper chlorine levels, according to the Center for Disease Control.   
So, although I doubt he'd be interested, I'd swim with Ryan Lochte anytime.  I'm just not going to do it with my mouth open.