Lately I’ve been on a mission – a mission to listen, you might say. My belief has long been that far too many of us in the pool and spa design/water quality profession have not done a good job of listening to our customers. I believe that’s especially true when it comes to input from those who spend the most time in the water: competitive swimmers.

The insights are, in my opinion, a huge missing piece in our fundamental understanding of our own pool and pool water products. That’s why in a recent blog, we heard testimony from my nephew and collegiate water polo player Max Bass (The Voice of Experience – Water Quality Matters). In this post, I’d like to introduce you to another remarkable athlete and long-time friend of our family, Cecilia de Havenon. We met Cecilia more than ten years ago when she was a sparkling 10-year-old swimmer at the same YMCA my own kids attended. We’ve stayed in touch with Cecilia and her family ever since, and we’ve had the pleasure of following her remarkable aquatics career.

Cecilia is now a rising senior at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where she studies English and Earth & Oceanographic Science. She swims on the Bowdoin Varsity Women’s Swimming and Diving Team and is Co-Captain of the Bowdoin Club Women’s Water Polo Team. She is an All-Academic NESCAC honoree. Cecilia and her family are from our neck of the woods in East Hampton, Long Island, where she made YMCA Nationals for Club Swimming, New York State Championships for Varsity, and was named MVP in her junior and senior years of high school for Varsity Swimming. Her specialty is the backstroke.

In other words, she is a truly elite aquatic athlete and student – a true water woman. Cecilia is also extremely articulate. In a recent discussion we had about the importance of water quality, here is some of what she had to say:

“When you swim, you’re taking your breathing right at the water’s surface. So you’re inhaling anything that coming off the surface of the water, and you become very sensitive to it. Being from the northeast, I’ve swam almost exclusively in indoor pools my entire life and you learn how important air quality is. And that’s really true for swimmers who spend hours and hours exposed to the air and water quality doing all this strenuous exercise. If you’re having issues breathing because the air is so bad, it’s a huge problem that can really impact how you feel about just getting in the water, and it can definitely have a negative impact on your performance.

“As a swimmer you want to feel smooth in the water, you want to feel like there’s less resistance. I’m not sure about the composition of water exactly, but I do know that when I’m in a pool with great water, everything seems easier, whereas in pools that obviously have water-quality issues, sometimes it feels like you’re swimming in mud. Sometimes it’s disgusting and you can’t wait to get out, and when you do, you feel dirty. I’m sure a lot of that is psychological, but I do believe there’s more to it than that. I know that when I’m in a pool that’s well maintained, I do perform better and feel better about being in the water. I always know the difference.”

I asked Cecilia how she felt swimming in the pool at the Kenny household, which is based entirely on the HydroZone 3® concept of pool design and water quality treatment, and she said:

“You can tell the difference just by looking at it. Underwater it’s like you’re seeing everything in high definition. When I got out, I felt cleaner than when I got in. It’s the best water I’ve ever experienced.”

To hear more of Cecilia’s insightful comments, watch the video below.

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Meet Steve Kenny

Steve Kenny is an aquatic designer, builder, and service technician with more than 25 years of experience. Based in Long Island, New York, he specializes in designing, building, and maintaining commercial and residential pools and spas that feature the highest possible water quality.

He is a passionate advocate of creating a new class of aquatic professionals devoted to the science, methods, and art of ensuring pristine water conditions. Steve was formally trained in the culinary arts and has a passion for fine dining. He is an accomplished photographer and sailing enthusiast. He is also a passionate advocate of the benefits of hydrotherapy.

A devoted family man, Steve lives in East Hampton with his bride of 20 years and their three children.