The Lido di Merano
The Lido di Merano dates back to 1930, is owned by the municipality of Merano and managed by Meranarena Srl. The antiquity of the pools and pipes had reached the point of causing a loss of 860,000 litres of water per day, so in 2014 renovation work began, for which Cool Swim Meeting technical director Marco Giongo was the designer. "Speaking of the new Olympic pool, I have always called it a fast pool, leaving my interlocutors incredulous. The question I was asked most frequently was: "Aren't all the pools 50 metres long? So they are not all fast in the same way?" No way, they are not all equally fast. Let's go and analyse the characteristics that make a pool particularly fast."
LENGTH The regulations define that, when set up for competition, the length of the pool must be no less than 50 metres. The Lido pool is therefore 50.025 metres long, in order to accommodate the automatic timing plates on both sides (the plates are 1 cm thick) and thus make it easier for the athletes to turn.
OVERFLYING EDGE The Lido pool is equipped with an overflow edge on all four sides: this allows for better pool water quality due to a more homogeneous exchange of water. The profile of the overflow edge is of the "Finnish" type, with the sloping area (beach) measuring 25 cm in section on the line of maximum slope. This arrangement allows for greater dissipation of the energy contained in the wave motion caused by the swimmer, preventing waves returning towards the lane from slowing down the swimmer's propulsive action.
TURNING HEADS The regulations define that the turning heads must rise 30 cm above the surface of the water. The supporting structure of the turning heads is made of steel and the outer finish is plastic. The vertical surface on the side of the pool is made of non-slip plastic slats to allow swimmers to make turns in the best possible way. The openings between the slats allow the water to flow towards the overflow edge, preventing waves from returning towards the swimmer.
STARTING BLOCKS The regulations do not impose the latest generation of starting blocks, but if the track start (one foot in front and one behind) is already more effective on traditional starting blocks, it is easy to see that blocks equipped with a mobile support allow the swimmer to place his or her back foot on the platform, guaranteeing a much faster start than on traditional blocks.
COLOUR There is no specific regulation indicating what colour the surface of the pool should be. However, it is a fact that all the most important events (Olympics, World Championships, European Championships) take place in blue pools. This colour ensures better underwater visibility for the swimmer, allowing the execution of turns and finishes at maximum speed and efficiency.
LANE SEPARATORS The lane separators used in competitions at the Lido have plastic elements with a diameter of 150 mm. The conformation of these elements minimises the passage of wave motion generated by the swimmer in the neighbouring lanes, thus avoiding slowing down opponents.
DEPTH The depth of the pools used at the Olympic Games is a constant 2.00 m. The minimum depth imposed by the regulations is 1.20 m. In the case of the Lido pool, a depth of 2.00 m was maintained for a length of approximately 35 m to allow for the construction of an international water polo court. On the opposite side, the water depth is 1.40 m, which is sufficient to guarantee excellent starts and turns for the athletes and, in non-competition conditions, can be used by Lido users by allowing them to touch the bottom with their feet.