Coverage is provided by a series of six overlapping,
underwater globes, with two cameras per globe, covering the deep
section of the pool.
Poseidon at this Site:
Long known for its tradition of winning athletic
teams, Penn State University's men's and women's intercollegiate
swimmers and divers recently swept the Big Ten Conference "Swimmers
and Divers of the Week" honors. At the same time, also acknowledged
as a leader in its other offerings - academics, student life, facilities
- Penn State became the first college or university in North America
to install the Poseidon computer-aided drowning detection system
at its McCoy Natatorium.
In addition to being the home for its competitive
swimming program, Penn State's McCoy Natatorium is the aquatic venue
for educational, intramural, recreational, and club sport activities
serving the university's more than 40,000 students. The facility
also serves the surrounding community, offering a variety of programs,
including aquatics activities for the elderly and disabled, scuba
diving lessons, water polo, aquacise classes, and age-group swimming
and diving instruction. The natatorium is host to the annual PIAA
Swimming and Diving Championships, the YMCA State Swimming Championships,
and the Pennsylvania Special Olympics.
This combination of sheer volume along with
the wide-ranging ages, abilities, and interests of people participating
in activities at McCoy Natatorium makes ensuring the safety of all
participants a significant challenge - and a significant priority.
Under the direction of Dr. Tom Griffiths,
Director of Aquatics and Safety Officer for Penn State University,
and himself a world-renowned aquatics safety researcher and expert,
the safety program at McCoy Natatorium has been designed to include
the world's leading theory, applied techniques, and now state-of-the-art
technology. Of particular focus is the discipline of lifeguarding.
"When it comes to the human factors of lifeguarding, many facilities
are too warm, humid, and boring for lifeguards to stay alert. We've
incorporated a number of best practices to give lifeguards the best
tools available to assist them in doing their jobs," said Griffiths.
Among some of those best practices are :
- The 5/30 Model of Aquatic Accountability, which helps to increase
lifeguard vigilance. In this model, the 5 refers to the Five Minute
Scanning Strategy,® developed at Penn State University, while
the 30 Minute Check refers to a simple supervisory "walkabout"
every half hour around the pool to monitor lifeguards and the
- Use of a revolutionary lifeguard station, also developed at
Penn State, which promotes and facilitates a sit, stand, stroll
pattern for lifeguarding. This sit, stand, stroll pattern, as
opposed to just sitting, helps to maintain lifeguard vigilance.
- The Poseidon system, which is the computer-aided drowning detection
system that monitors the movements of swimmers and can alert lifeguards
when a swimmer is in difficulty.
In addition to providing drowning protection
for swimmers in the pool, images from the underwater camera globes
will be used during television broadcasts of swim meets and for
training purposes. Griffiths acknowledged the recent trend among
colleges and universities to attract students and remain or become
more competitive by offering state-of-the-art recreation centers.
Adding state-of-the-art safety devices to recreation facilities
even further enhances the value of recreational services at Penn
State. According to Dr. Griffiths, "the addition of computer-aided
drowning detection adds another layer of protection to the world-class
programs already in place and distinguishes our facility in a very
Penn State University
University Park, PA 16802-3804
Main #: 814-863-4000
Fax #: 814-865-3728