College Aquatics Complex Features "Shamu Shelf"
As pools meant purely for leisure move into the collegiate mainstream, more attention is being paid to the social element of such spaces — to cite two examples, extra-large spas and underwater benches. A third possibility is the "Shamu shelf," so called because it approximates the large shallow area where Sea World's killer whale slides up to present himself to spectators. It's a detail that is fast becoming a staple of backyard pools, an area where homeowners can allow smaller children to splash in very shallow water, usually 6 to 18 inches deep.
On the Shamu shelf at the University of Texas at Austin's Gregory Gymnasium Aquatic Complex, students lying on vinyl chaise lounges — chairs with metal parts should definitely be avoided — read and talk, splashing themselves occasionally and enjoying the built-in air conditioning caused by breezes blowing across the cool water beneath them. It's a scene you might view at any resort — although not in California, much to the chagrin of Carlsbad, Calif.-based designer Aquatic Design Group. The state pool code there doesn't permit underwater ledges, so you'll need to check applicable regulations first.
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Ithaca College Athletics and Events Center