WASHINGTON — The final cost is likely to run to almost $200,000, but the Washington Nationals may have found the secret to staying healthy on land this year: by training in the water.
A state-of-the-art four-lane pool, capable of pumping 90 gallons per minute, will provide resistance as Nationals players rehab and prevent injuries by running and swimming against the current. The pool is a supersized version of the products that advertise with swimming legends Michael Phelps and Rowdy Gaines.
This is believed to be the first of its kind at a spring training facility. If it works, look for more teams to consider this in the future.
“It’s a neat pool,” John Sammet, owner of Davie-based Sammet Pools, told the Palm Beach Post. “It’s like running on a treadmill. You can swim in place for a mile.
“It has turbines to move water and control the flow. It’s a lot easier on hips and joints and knees. It’s a pretty sophisticated training pool.”
The pool comes equipped with lighting and heaters to ensure that no matter the weather or time of day, the pool is open for training. Since the Nationals use the facility for injury rehabilitation, workouts and training throughout the season, this will have at least a six-month use for Nationals major and minor league players.
The team has also been careful to caution that the cost is not being paid for with local taxpayer dollars. This one is by the team and for the team only. No running on deck, no lounging in the pool, and absolutely no Houston Astros players allowed. The two teams are sharing much of the rest of the facility, but this one is just for players wearing curly W’s.
“It’s hard to speculate on what other teams think,” ballpark architect Mo Stein told the Post, “but as it becomes successful and these guys are using it and the word gets out, other teams might start to think about adding something like this.”