Archive for the ‘Swimming’ Category

Sports With Less Energy

powering-pool

When you’re caught up in the adrenaline of a sporting competition, that’s all there is. Whether you’re a participator or a spectator, during the event your focus is on the finish line, the goal posts, or the podium.

What we tend to forget – at least in the midst of a sporting triumph – are the logistics behind sport. Putting on almost any event – from a game of ice-hockey, to swimming races – requires energy expenditure. As concern about climate change and energy efficiency continues to grow, elite sports teams and relevant bodies are working to minimise the negative impact they’re having on the environment.

Lighting

For indoor sports, the efficiency of lighting arenas and stadiums is a key concern. Each event requires numerous hours – and innumerable kilowatts – of energy expenditure for stands, scoreboards, and playing zones, which can prove to be both financially costly and detrimental in terms of emissions.

In response to this, some sporting facilities are beginning to adopt LED lights, as explained in the New York Times. However, it’s not quite as easy as recognising the benefits of LED lighting and installing them immediately. Although they offer long-term savings, LED lights cost much more to install than the incandescent models which have traditionally been used. They are also much more complicated to initially install, despite lasting longer. The considerable upfront expense associated with LED lights has reduced the enthusiasm of some potential adopters.

Sports audiences have to be considered. While LED’s can be dimmed, thereby saving resources when floods of light are not required, they must also be vetted to ensure they do no negatively effect the vision of fans – in the playing facility, or watching at home on TV. Despite these potential difficulties, it is thought that LED lights will become more commonly used over time. In fact, they can be used to buoy players moods, due to their superior simulation of natural sunlight when compared to incandescent options.

Motorsenergy-arena

For competitive sports requiring motors, improvements are being made in leaps and bounds when it comes to marine energy power systems. Compared to the motoring resources used in the past, contemporary options such as Capterpiller power generators are improving energy efficiency for competitive sports including sea fishing, deep-sea diving, and yachting. As with all means of energy provision, there is no doubt that improvements can still be made to increase the effectiveness of energy power systems further, but present trends indicate that this will surely occur.

Water-based facilities

There is little doubt that pools, with temperature-treated water, air conditioning, and extensive lighting, are big consumers of energy. By upgrading equipment – and perhaps, as previously discussed, transitioning to the use of LED lighting – these facilities are beginning to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. In part, these improvements are being aided by government-funded efficiency programs, such as that of the Geelong Council, demonstrating the effectiveness of collaboration between the public and private sectors when it comes to this issue.

Collective efforts

In order to encourage ongoing, meaningful change, sports stakeholders are banding together to encourage reductions in the energy expenditure in training and playing facilities. For example, the US-based Green Sports Alliance aims to “help sports teams, venues and leagues enhance their environmental performance”. The Alliance has been in operation for almost four years, with impressive results. Alliances such as Green Sports also work to educate fans, attempting to generate a sense of social responsibility among the fans of participating teams, and ultimately achieve genuine, effective change.

The Resurgence of Australian Sport

resurgence-mitchell

Over the last few years, Australian sport has taken a real battering. We pride ourselves on our ability to better much larger, more established nations in a great variety of sports. The swimming pool, the running track, the grainy sand of the beach, and the soft green of the cricket pitch are all established settings to so many Australians. But, after a glorious run following the Sydney Olympics, Australian sporting professionals have experienced diminishing returns for their efforts. A few major events spring to mind: our rugby team’s Bledisloe cup results since 2002; James Magnussen’s disappointment at the London games; the departure of many of Australia’s greatest cricketers.

But, mercifully, things finally seem to be turning around. The media’s fixation on the doping scandals that have plagued various sports on an international level have allowed Australian professionals to refresh, resurge, and refocus away from the spotlight. And now, we’re starting to see the seedlings of positivity emerge once again.

Swimming

Pride comes before a fall. This mantra proved to be all-too-true following the disappointing performance displayed by Australia’s swimming team at London’s 2012 Olympic Games. Some of the old guard have since departed from professional sport in favour of Celebrity Apprentice, with exciting new talent beginning to shine through.

At November’s World Cup in Beijing, the Australian team – comprised, to an impressive extent, of new up-and-comers – put in an impressive performance. Even those who failed to meet their own self-imposed expectations in London have begun to pique curiosity once again, with James Magnussen recently professing that his confidence is starting to rebuild.

Cricket

Over the last decade, Australia’s favourite game has been overshadowed by egos and wags. We haven’t won the Ashes since the 2006-07 series, and in recent months tensions within the team have grabbed headlines. In an open letter to fans of the game, Darren Lehmann – the coach of the Australian cricket team – expressed a desire to return Australia to its golden era of cricketing achievements. Let’s hope he puts this desire into action in time to effect the outcome of the current Ashes series, which began in November.

Tennis

Our tennis achievements have been less dramatically changed than in some other sports. Although our status on the circuit is not as impressive as it was ten years ago, players like Sam Stosur have helped to keep us well-represented. Now, younger players like Bernard Tomic and Casey Dellacqua are beginning to deliver on the promise they have shown, with Tomic recently taking on a new coach in time for our summer tournaments.resurgence-stosur

Tennis Australia has also acknowledged the importance of recognising its highest-achieving players, with the Newcome Medal predicted to be awarded to Stosur for the fourth consecutive year. Just like any workplace rewarding its best and brightest, Tennis Australia clearly recognises the benefits of encouraging and motivating its key players.

It’s time that we regained our reputation as a truly great sporting nation. The thirst for accolades exhibited by our sporting stars reveal the way we, as Australians, thrive off of positive reinforcement. Whether it’s a globally coveted trophy, or an employee recognition plague or trophy, we love being recognised for our efforts. And we certainly love resurgence. Let’s hope the trophies – and the results – keep rolling in over the summer months.