SPORTS

Olympic hot tub more than just a chance to feel those jets, they keep body warm

07/31/2012 04:00 EDT | Updated 09/29/2012 05:12 EDT
LONDON - Olympic divers have one thing in common with the rest of us, it seems. After a dip in the pool, they enjoy a soak in an hot tub.

At the London Aquatics Center, the hot tub gets a visit from a hard body after every dive. But Mitch Geller, chief technical officer of Diving Canada, says it's more about preserving the body than hedonism.

Temperature control is important between dives, says Geller. So is drying off.

"No matter how hot it is, water evaporating is going to cool you down," he explained. "They need to stay warm. And so they just jump into the hot tub. It's just a quick relaxation but it also gets warm water on you. And once you dry that off, then you basically stay warm between dives."

The divers use a small shammy cloth to dry off, which is just as important as staying warm.

That's because as divers rotate in the air, centrifugal force pulls their legs away from their bodies. So they need to use their arms to reach in and pull them back.

"If you're wet, you run a pretty good risk of your legs slipping away," Geller said. "And then all hell breaks loose."

The hot tub also serves as "a bit of a kiss-and-cry area," he added. Divers may be in the tub when their scores flash up on the big video screen.

Geller says divers forgo the hot tub "quite often" in practice and just do one dive after another. But during competition, "It's a real good break between dives."

Geller says they used to go through piles of towels before the shammy.

"People would come in with this massive amount of towels that they hadn't washed in a few weeks and they stunk. But you needed a lot because you have to be dry."

Thanks to the shammy, you only need one. And you don't need a drying machine.

"You just wring them out .. the shammies are just a real boon to the whole operation," said Geller.

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