By: Blonde Two

There was some talk in the press last week about the amount of urine in our public swimming pools. Apparently lots of us wee while we are swimming.

I happen to know that my bladder can only last for 30 lengths, but when I did pool swimming I promise you that I always got out to use the loo.

This got me to thinking about whether or not the sea would be a ‘cleaner’ swimming option than the pool. I looked the details up (because the sea has recently been choppy enough to induce a bit of sea water swallowing) and found that Torbay has a cleanliness rating of ‘Excellent’. You can check your sea water here. Our sewage (you do very occasionally get the odd whiff) is UV disinfected before it is piped out but nobody seems to have measured the amount of urine in the sea that comes from swimmers.

Besides the sea obviously being a lot bigger than the average swimming pool and the fact that at any one time during January and February there are probably only five people swimming in Torbay at a time, there is another very good reason for this… at least there is in the winter and my friend (who probably wishes to remain nameless) and I have done some detailed and personal research. We have discovered that it is almost impossible to wee in water that is below 8 degrees.

Things tend to go like this. You arrive at the beach from your normal life and, as happens in normal life, quite often need the loo. You get changed, all the time thinking, ‘I really need a wee!’ and acknowledge that this is probably going to have to happen in the sea. Then… you get into the water and your body concentrates on one thing only… avoiding hypothermia. This means that you don’t even think about your bodily urges and completely forget about them until you are back out of the water and, by now, pretty desperate (the desperation is added to by the urine producing results of vasoconstriction).

The answer to this leg-crossing conundrum appears to be obvious. Just concentrate and remember to wee! You could write a reminder on your hand for example… maybe just a letter ‘P’ or you could ask a (very good) friend to remind you. However, deciding to wee and actually being able to when the water is that cold are two entirely different things. We experimented with this too, it requires stillness, some singing and a complete lack of giggling!