Traveling to the east coast this week for company strategy meetings had me involved in a lot of discussions around what our Minimally Viable Product (MVP) offering would be across our various lines of business. Swimming in three different pools ...
... got me thinking about what is the Minimally Viable Pool for a good workout?
As is clear from the wide variety of pools I have swum in, I'll try to get in a workout in just about any body of water. What I wanted to put down here is what are the bare minimum requirements for me to get in a good workout:
Length - At least 20 yards long. I can make stuff up and exert some effort in shorter pools and have certainly done so, but with a minimum length of 20 yards, I can structure a workout and get some actual swimming in.
Lane markings - When I came back to Masters swimming around the turn of the century (after having 'hung up my suit' when I graduated college in 1989), the thinking around head position in freestyle had completely changed. I grew up training in an era when we were taught to look forward, towards the end of the pool, with the water hitting your forehead just above the top of your goggles. These days, we look down to the bottom. Hence, particularly for freestyle, it is absolutely necessary to have a lane line on the bottom of the pool. I don't, however, need crosses on the walls (though, if a pool has a line on the bottom, it almost always has a cross on the wall).
Lane ropes - If I have the pool to myself and the above two requirements, I don't really need lane ropes, but that is almost never the case. Having swum a lot in Canada where they will often only put in a lane rope in every other lane, I'm fine with that approach.
Pace clock - I really, really, really need to have a pace clock. I could bring a waterproof watch, but I hate wearing a watch while I swim as it makes all of my strokes feel unbalanced. Plus, while I'm not super-blind, I have enough of an eyesight deficiency (both due to genetics and age!) that I cannot really read a watch.
Beyond that, there are certainly additional things I'd appreciate to create an optimal workout experience ... but I'll save those for another post.