Thousands of children participated in a triathlon this past weekend in Jacksonville, Fla., despite reports that the pool used had failed a health inspection earlier in the week. But that’s okay, event and city officials say.
As part of the two-day conversion of EverBank Field to host swimming, biking and running for the 7th Annual First Coast Kids Triathlon, a portable pool was constructed on the site. The event was a success, despite reports that swimmers had to be pulled from the pool by lifeguards due to the absence of pool ladders.
Because the pool was temporary, city officials say it was not considered a public pool under the state’s Department of Health, and thus was not subject to the same inspection criteria. In particular, the water used for such pools is pumped in and out and not recalculated.
“They actually don't have guidelines to monitor portable pools, so we actually work with them to set up a structure that allows us to circulate the water and make sure that it's safe,” event director Tom Gildersleeve told ActionNewsJax.com.
Furthermore, while the status of portable pools for city inspection purposes is still a little murky, the event still had to fulfill the guidelines set forth by USA Triathlon.
“Our events are all sanctioned by USA Triathlon, which is the governing board underneath the U.S. Olympic Committee so there's a safety protocol we follow,” Gildersleeve said.
Such pools have been used at other kids triathlon events. Lifeguards were also on hand both in and out of the pool to monitor participants’ safety.