The District of Columbia (DC) Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) recently instituted a ban on the use of water bottles at all DC public swimming pools. They cited the use of water bottles while swimming as a health violation. This new ban on water bottles at swimming pools in DC is particularly hazardous for swimmers - whether competitive or recreational. This restricts, and potentially eliminates, the ability for swimmers to stay adequately hydrated while swimming. This can be particularly dangerous during the summer season, when temperatures increase dramatically and outdoor pools open. While the DPR argues that water fountains are available at swimming pools, these are not an adequate substitute for water bottles: (a) water fountains are not conducive to consuming substantial amounts of water/liquid (which is often necessary during long workouts or high-heat situations); (b) during large team practices (e.g., club teams, high school teams), it is not feasible to allow the entire team to line up to hydrate when pool time and space is already so limited; and (c) water fountains are often out of order. Ultimately, this ban forces swimmers, both recreational and competitive, adult and child, to either give up swimming at DC public pools or to flirt with the dangers of dehydration, hyperthermia, etc.
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