The School of Sports Science in Australia recently completed a research study on Olympic athletes regarding aquatic sports and asthma.
They found the highest incidence of asthma in aquatic athletes as compared to all other Olympic athletes. Among aquatic athletes pool swimmers had the most asthma, and among categories of swimmers it was the endurance swimmers who again had more asthma than the sprint and intermediate swimmers.
After pool swimmers, the water sports associated with asthma in decreasing order of frequency were synchronized swimming, water polo, diving and then open-water swimming.
Also the researchers found that asthma was more common in all groups if they trained in indoor pools as opposed to outdoor pools. They posit that the pool chloramines are the cause of the airway irritation and that indoor pools trap higher levels of the chloramines.
The researchers were very careful to endorse the overall health benefits of swimming as an excellent form of exercise. They simply want people to be aware of the asthma issue so it can be properly addressed by the swimmers’ physicians.