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FAQ

What is the temperature of the pool at the SERF?

We keep our water temperature at the SERF at 81° F. In general, lap swimmers and our swim team prefer a cooler water temperature (78° - 81°) while classes and programs like water aerobics and swimming lessons like it warmer (81°+). Since the pool is used for a variety of activities and the water temperature takes too long to adjust to meet the daily variety of uses of the pool, we try to maintain a temperature that is most comfortable for the majority of our users.

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What is the temperature of the pools at the Natatorium?

The water temperature in the racing pool at the Natatorium is kept between 79° and 81° F. This temperature is ideal for training and competition, and is maintained at this level in order to comply with NCAA, USA Swimming, and National High School Federation competition rules and regulations. The water temperature in the diving well is maintained between 88° and 90° F.

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What Aquatic programs are offered other than lap swimming?

UW Rec Sports offers instructional swim programs, Masters Swimming , SCUBA Diving and Red Cross certification Courses in Lifeguarding, Lifeguarding Instructor and Water Safety Instructor. Adult Group Swimming Lessons are available almost year-round. Two 8-week sessions are held during both Fall and Spring Semesters and an 8-week session is held during the Summer Term. In addition, private swimming lessons for adults are available year round. Private lessons offer one-on-one instruction with a certified Red Cross Water Safety Instructor. Please check our web site or contact Bonnie Griswold at 608-262-6222 or bgriswold@recsports.wisc.edu for more information. Rec Sports members may also find aquatic exercise programs through our Fitness Department. Group Fitness offers both deep and shallow water Aqua Fitness classes. For more information, check out our web site or contact Fitness Director Lori Devine at 608-262-4268.

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How deep are the swimming pools?

The SERF pool ranges from 4' in the shallow end to 17' in the deep end. The Natatorium racing pool ranges in depth from 4.5' on the ends to 7.5' in the middle. The Natatorium diving well is 12.5' deep.

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What is the etiquette for lap swim?

For your safety all lanes have a designated speed. Signs are posted at the end of each lane on the bulkheads. Please choose a lane based on your swimming ability and speed.

Lanes 1 and 8 - Slow
Lanes 2, 3, 6, 7 - Moderate
Lanes 4 and 5 - Fast

When entering a lane, make contact with all swimmers to let them know you are joining the lane. If faster swimmers are passing you, move to a slower lane. If you are passing slower swimmers, move to a faster lane. If more than two people are swimming in a lane, swimmers in that lane must swim counter-clockwise.

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What are the sizes and lengths of each pool?

The SERF pool is 63 meters in length by 60 feet in width. Moveable bulkheads allow for the pool to be configured with a
shallow-end and two 8-lane 25-yard pools or a shallow-end and one 8-lane 50-meter pool.

The Natatorium racing pool is an 8-lane 25-yard pool. The Natatorium diving well is a 40' by 50' deep-water pool.

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When does the SERF pool change from Long Course (50-meters in length) to Short Course (two 25-yard pools)?

The configuration of the pool changes depending on the needs of both UW’s varsity swimming program and the schedule of academic classes. Although there are not specific dates when they occur and the dates are subject to change, the pool is generally set to Long Course in mid-Spring Semester through the Summer and back to Short Course in mid-September.

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What activities are allowed in the pool during lap swim hours?

During times when the pool is open for lap swim, pool use is reserved for lap swimmers. All other activities such as snorkeling, scuba, kayaking, diving (except in the diving well at the Natatorium), water polo, or synchronized swimming are prohibited. Patrons may water-walk or practice swimming skills in shallow areas or they may aqua jog in the diving well or in designated slow lap lanes.

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Is equipment such as kickboards and pull-buoys available at the pools for my use?

Yes. Both the SERF and the Natatorium offer the use of kickboards, pull-buoys and fins for patrons’ use free of charge. A basket of equipment is located on both pool decks. The equipment is shared by lap swimmers who desire to use it, so the availability of equipment is dependent on the number of lap swimmers. Patrons may also feel free to bring and use their own swim training equipment (kickboards, pull-buoys, hand paddles, training fins). However, the use of scuba and snorkeling equipment is not allowed during lap swim.

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Do you sell swim caps and goggles?

Yes. Swim caps and goggles are available for sale in the Program Office at the SERF (Room 284) and the NAT (Room 1180). The Leader Swim Goggles are available for $5, Speed Swim Speedo for $14, and also Men and Women's Vanquisher Goggles for $15. Swim Caps are sold for $4.

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