When “Should” Becomes “Must”

By David

Well, I paid the $50.00 fee and filed the protest. And I lost – that’s the fee and the protest. Swimming New Zealand decided that because FINA’s rules say that all pools should comply with their minimum standards there was no need for them to provide a pool meeting the 1.35 meter FINA minimum depth requirement. “Should,” they said does not mean “must”. Of course I took their decision to the Jury of Appeal. I lost there as well.

And so Swimming New Zealand happily ordered 650 young New Zealanders to dive into a swimming pool that the world governing body of swimming says is unsafe; says is dangerous. The minimum depth standard is there for a reason. Sure, there is an element of performance, but primarily the standard is to there to protect the safety of participants in the sport. Swimming New Zealand knows this full well, and still they are happy to put verbal semantics ahead of the safety of their members.

A day seldom goes by that I do not encourage my swimmers to dive deep in order to use and improve the underwater portion of their start. The start used by top swimmers today is unimaginably different from the start used ten years ago. Swimmers dive deeper and stay under the water longer than they ever did when FINA’s depth rule was written. If 1.25 meters was dangerous then, today it is an accident waiting to happen.

The title of this story is “When ‘Should’ Becomes ‘Must.'” Well, the cavalier attitude of Swimming New Zealand toward swimmer safety pretty well ensures that when some swimmer dives into their 1.25 meter deep pool and in that instant is transformed from star athlete to tetraplegic – that’s when “should” will finally mean “must”. And every administrator who had anything to do with the decision to overturn my protest will be directly responsible for the maimed life of that child. I do hope they sleep badly tonight.

There has already been one death at a Swimming New Zealand event this year. The disregard of Swimming New Zealand administrators for the safety and care of their members means that unfortunate tragedy is unlikely to be the last.

For their information, this is what will happen when a Swimming New Zealand athlete hits their head on the bottom of the 1.25 meter deep Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre pool. “The injury which is known as a lesion, causes victims to lose total function of all four limbs. Functioning is also impaired in the torso, meaning lost control of the bowel, bladder, sexual function, digestion, breathing and other automatic functions. Secondarily, quadripegics are often more vulnerable to pressure sores, osteoporosis, fractures, respiratory complications and cardiovascular disease. If the injury is high enough the swimmer will probably lose all function from the neck down meaning they will be ventilator-dependent for life. Certainly the swimmer will need constant care and assistance in the activities of daily living such as getting dressed and bowel and bladder care.”

And just to avoid making a safety announcement prior to each session and moving the 2012 winter short course championships to Auckland, the Swimming New Zealand officials at this meet and Mike Byrne and the Board of Swimming New Zealand and Peter Miskimmin from SPARC were prepared to play Russian roulette with the lives of 650 of their members. These administrators have much to answer for in the way this sport is managed. They have lied, hidden information from their members and promoted personal ambition ahead of the interests of the sport. No neglect or deception however compares with this most recent treachery. I seldom resort to asking for divine intervention. On this occasion some celestial assistance may be needed. The actions of those responsible for the sport here on earth guarantee that the physical trauma we sought to avoid is now just a matter of time.

There is one more possible action. Perhaps I can take this case to the Sport’s Tribunal. Certainly, a positive outcome would be worth the effort. During the next two weeks I will investigate what is involved and let you know whether a Tribunal action is possible. If Swimming New Zealand and SPARC have no interest in protecting the safety of their members then we should do it for them.

Strangely the action of the Age Group Championship administrators in the case of the pool depth contrasted starkly with their decisions regarding an Auckland swimmer’s broken toe. I must preface this story by saying it was told to me second and third hand. If I have made a mistake in any of the detail please forgive me. But as I understand it here is what happened.

The Auckland swimmer broke her big toe a week ago but was cleared by her doctor to swim in the Championships on the condition she strap her big toe to the next toe. She swam her first event well and qualified for the final. An official, called Jo Davidson, who has given me dishonesty problems before, summoned the swimmer and disqualified her for illegal strapping. The swimmer would only be allowed to swim the final if, in the three hours between the heats and the finals, she obtained the approval of the FINA Medical Committee in Switzerland. And so we had the spectacle of officials who were prepared to allow swimmers to dive into illegal shallow water but were also happily banishing, on the grounds of personal safety, a swimmer who had two toes taped together. You are right, of course – Monty Python could not write this stuff.

I am delighted to report that sanity prevailed. A New Zealand doctor, who knows more than most about swimming and is also on the FINA Medical Tribunal, was contacted by administrators from the Auckland Centre. The doctor wrote to the Meet Officials and confirmed he saw no problem with the swimmer taking part in the backstroke final. I’m not sure whether that’s what happened. I certainly hope so. Either way though – it’s hard to escape the feeling that a C1 spinal fracture is less important to Swimming New Zealand than a strapped big toe.

 

  • Okay, *really*? They’re going to play semantics with a rule about physical safety?

    I hate the “it’s not illegal” argument when it comes to blatantly doing the wrong thing. There are lots of things that aren’t illegal or against the rules or prohibited that you just don’t do because they’re plain wrong. After I wrote this: http://janecopland.co.uk/2011/12/women-as-entertainment-in-the-seo-industry/, a few people argued that doing what I objected to–using strippers are marketing ploys–wasn’t against the law and that it obviously worked in getting attention. People! Just because something “works” or “is allowed”, doesn’t make it right. You’re capable of doing the right thing, even if it’s within your power to do the wrong thing. Even when the wrong thing is harmful.

    The toe thing is just ridiculous when juxtaposed with this. More ironic would have been if someone had injured themselves due to the shallow pool, and then had been disqualified for whatever bandaging they required when they tried to keep on competing :)

  • Tom

    David

    Not sure where you are getting you information from.
    FR 2.3 Depth – A minimum depth of 1.35 metes, extending from 1.0 metre to at least 6.0 metres from the end wall is required for pools with starting blocks. A minimum depth of 1.0 metre is required elsewhere.
    This is the fina rule. It does not state that this is a low. This is recomendation. Inhave done extended reserch regarding that as there is not many pools in NZ and in fact around the world that do have 1.35m atbthe shalow end.
    The rule is recomendation as i have contacted fina regarding this some time ago. Pools for WCH or Olympics must be at that depth.

    Now to your coment that swimming new zealand leting swimmers dive in to the dangerous depth. Well so is Dave.
    Or did your swimmers starting from push off?
    The depth is not ideal but it is not dengerous. New zealand will be withnout competition if we take the RECOMENDATION as our own. There is a need of good competition pool we do know this.
    I believe that your pool at west auckland is also shalow. Did you ask for the pool to be shut down ar cancel all competition?
    You can come talk to me at the pool over the week. I will be happy to talk to you.
    T

  • Tom

    Wonderful. You couldn’t make this stuff up. Not at all concerned a pool is too shallow, but fretting because a toe might not be legally strapped. What if the toe had been broken because the pool wasn’t deep enough? Wouldn’t that create a quandary.

  • Beth Malyon

    Wow, I am reeling over this one. Words fail me when I think of all the times that our children have been sent to national meets in this pool and the danger they have been exposed to.

    You have raised many important issues in previous posts David. I do not always agree with you or the way you say it, but this is amongst the most important you have ever done and very well done it is. Thank you so much. There is nothing more important than the safety of our children.

    Jane, thank you for your post – I am sickened by the experience you have recounted – I am not sure which is worse – the sexual harassment you experience in your industry or the cavalier disregard for our children’s safety shown by Swimming New Zealand and exposed by David? Some things are just so sick that to try and compare sick and sicker is ultimately unproductive. If comparing SNZ’s sickness to the sickness of perverts is necessary to help others understand how serious the issue is and some good finally comes from it then that has been good.

    Thans to you both for being great watch dogs!

  • David Wright

    I must tell you about an incident that happened At the Age Group Nationals yesterday just after Jane had posted this story. I called into the men’s toilet to have a pee. The facility was quite busy but one stall was free. I lined up and began what nature demanded. And then I became aware that the guy next to me was staring only at me. Guys among you will know how uncomfortable that can be. I turned to acost this stranger violating my pee time. The face I saw was familiar and uncontolably angry. It was Mike Byrne; the big man of NZ Swimming. I resisted the temptation to shake hands or anything else and quietly left

  • NSS Parent

    The pool out in West Auckland I am told is 2m deep for competition, but I think it has a moveable floor (is that right David?) that can make one end shallower for the public? I’m not sure on that, but definitely, when we have competitions out there our swimmers are certainly not standing on the bottom (like in Wellington at NAGS where the water is only up to the hips of some of the boys). The pool at MISH is shallower one end mainly for the public, but the dive end with the starting blocks is the deep end. I’m not sure how deep it is but its deep enough for water polo. There is a great pool at Diocesan School that we have been to with a moveable floor that can make one end completely dry. So I think it depends on the age of some of these pools. There are plenty of 25m pools that are deep enough, and I am told that the 50m pool in Invercargill is deep enough.

    To Tom (is that the same as the other Tom, sounds like two different Toms?). I’m sorry, but having our kids diving into a 1.2m shallow pool is not safe. It might have been OK way back when, but the way our kids are taught to dive deep this makes it very dangerous. What are you waiting for? One of your swimmers messing up their dive, forgetting to dive shallow and hitting their face on the bottom instead? The issue of depth seems to be where starting blocks are being used.

    I was watching the live streaming for NAGS, and I can’t understand, why can’t they start from the dive end? They have the electronics down that end for the touch pads so it clearly can be done. But even if they do start that end, they are still swimming up to the shallow end which would be like swimming in treacle – it is noticeably slower.

    This is all about Swimming New Zealand not wanting to lose on anything, so rather than start NAGS from the dive end of the pool in Wellington, they will be bloody-minded and continue to have our kids competiting in a non-compliant pool. And as for having an Open meet there, I think that there is no way they could possibly justify having our senior swimmers trying to achieve world-class times in a pool that clearly is slower than the pool at Westwave.

  • Joe

    Tom and David,
    Please let us know how your discussion goes on deck. Wright has a concern about water depth. Jane tells us about her issues in the past. Sounds like a great night around the fire at the Wright rental home. If Jane or Wright were truly concerned, why did they not address the issue back in the day when their kid was starting out. If Jane had an issue she was free to switch sports. Ruigby would be a strong alternative. Just a thought. Will Wright ever be positive. His past carpetbagger style suggests New Zealand will grow tired of his “Negative Nancy” attitude, but unfortunately ther will be somebody around the corner buying his snake oil. C’mon print it…naked truth..in the nude…just like your mission.

  • I’m sorry, did I just hear the argument that if I didn’t like being treated badly, I should have left the sport? Rather than the notion that the people doing wrong should have stopped? Really?

    If I’d quit swimming for taken up rugby (?), I’d not have moved to the US for university. You’d have had me deny myself that? You’d have had me let those people who I’ve talked about in the past on here win, denying me the work I put into swimming, and the amazing life it earned me in ten years since I moved to Washington?

    We tried to address these problems back in the day, but we were also aware that the main goal for me personally was to keep getting faster and to get me to the US. I should not need to remind you either that this went on before the Internet was widely and freely available to everyone as a platform for expressing views in the way it is now. No WordPress. No Twitter. No Facebook. No Blogspot or any of the other free blogging platforms. Dad began Swimwatch on a rudimentary CMS in 2003, and managed to get free hosting through a friend. Neither of us would have known how to start a website beforehand.

    We addressed it to the best of our abilities. We went to the police when our car was falsely reported as abandoned by Basil Dynan at Aquahawks. We went to the Hawke’s Bay swimming authority when I was accused of sleeping with a local journalist at fifteen. I also kept on swimming races faster and faster until I got down to respectable enough breaststroke times to warrant interest from the NCAA.

    But all that aside, you honestly just made the argument that it’s the person being mistreated’s responsibility to quit the sport. Not that the people doing wrong are to blame should stop it. Eighteen year old me, landing in Seattle, is glad she didn’t listen to the likes of you, Joe.

  • Tom 2 (or should that be 1?)

    To NSS Parent: Oh dear. Yes, it seems there are two Toms now. I’m the one who posts here from time-to-time, and hasn’t asked to speak with David at the pool. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever met David (or the other Tom).

    Joe, while I don’t always agree with David, I also have issues with your ‘well if you don’t like it, just move on’ approach. Imagine if that attitude had been applied to the women’s suffrage movement or segregation (not in any way trying to compare SNZ with these issues, but you get the ideas). In fact, Jane wouldn’t be able to ‘switch sports’ to rugby if women hadn’t made an issue of their inability to compete in that sport.

    While I agree a constant negative tone can lead to a degree of fatigue, and perhaps some of David’s posts aren’t as civil as I would have liked, he has also written numerous posts with positive, practical solutions for the sport. In fact, as recently as last week he was speaking warmly of his meeting with Chris Moller.

  • Sharon

    “Willy … or won’t he?”
    David, at least it was only his hand you were thinking of shaking.

  • Sensible Swimming

    Now this discussion has really got me going, so I have gone off and done some research of my own on the subject of safe pool depths and what is considered acceptable around the world.

    Here are some key preliminary findings:

    1. Most countries (that is both the National Federations and the respective regulatory authorities) have a concern relating to the safety of entry to a pool through diving. The standards expected do vary from country to country.
    2. Independent academic research relating to safe diving from starting blocks, or off the side of the pool and the related depth and velocity of the dive produce some non-intuitive findings. Amongst trained athletes the dive depth and velocity off ether the wall or off a high starting block (0.75m) are similar. In shallow water a dive off a low height starting block (0.3m) may be safer than diving off the pool deck! Now that surprised me.
    3. Research confirms that striking an immovable object (floor, wall, other swimmer) at the velocity involved in a racing dive will almost certainly result in compound spinal fracture. That almost always results in either death, long term disability and greatly shortened life expectancy.
    3. Some countries (UK and Australia – NSW specifically) have prescribed training standards and certification levels required for shallow racing dives by competitors into shallow pools. In the case of the UK there is a mandatory safety announcement before competition in a facility which does not meet standard safe depth requirements. That safety announcement places responsibility for certification of athlete competence directly onto the coach/team manager. Coaches/Team managers who allow athletes to dive who have not been trained to that required standard would be deemed legally negligent in the case of ‘accident.’
    4. Most national bodies have easily locatable guidelines on the subject of safety surrounding competitive race starts off starting platforms. The national federations of most major swimming countries identify risk and have implemented forceful guidelines on that subject and the relationship between pool depth and the use of starting blocks. The USA (through USA Swimming) is prescriptive as to minimum depth standards (as is Canada) but some States are even more prescriptive than is USA Swimming!
    5. SNZ does not appear to have issued any such guidance, or if they have it is not immediately or readily locatable in any of their extensive on-line material. SNZ Regulations relating to facilities do incorporate the specific FINA measurements relating to starting platforms, their height and water depth already cited, that is maximum height of starting platforms and expected water depth below (1.35 meters.) There is no apparent SNZ publication that identifies an acceptable alternative minimum standard or a compensating risk reducing alternative. There is nothing in the SNZ material which carries any apparent caveat which says that this rule , uniquely amongst all the other myriad FINA prescriptions is the one that is infinitely more flexible than the others. Should we for example, consider that the flexibility which David has discovered exists amongst SNZ officials as it relates to pool depth under start platforms also extends to the height of starting blocks (same rule, same paragraph, same ‘should’) which would allow the starting platform to be placed at say 1 meter above the water? Maybe in this new world of ‘should’ we can shorten our pools by 15 centimeters (that you will recall is the distance vertically which these officials feel is quite flexible), because of course this is not a must either, it is only a ‘should’.
    6. There is a profound and growing awareness in most jurisdictions that what was once considered acceptable practise surrounding this area of pool depth by earlier generations is now simply no longer acceptable.
    7. The statistical probability of major neck injury from involvement in competitive racing starts is very very low. But it is real. That low statistical probability maybe considered acceptable and justification in itself for a view that ‘it will not happen in our backyard’ or ‘in our programmes’. This maybe feels like a risk that is worth taking for many. Unless that is you are one of the tiny, statistically insignificant minority of approximately 30 swimmers per year who find themselves consigned to a new life as a quadraplegic (or worse) through involvement in competitive swimming. For them, in their new life of what most who experience it call ‘the living death’, they might not think it was a risk worth taking. Of course in Joe’s big old world ‘they’ (thats right, they are not really people those ones over there in the wheel chair with drool coming out of their mouths) all had the choice to get out of the sport if they found it was just too tough! Tiddlywinks may have been a better option for them – now you see, it maybe their only option!

    In the spirit of constructive curiosity (constructive for Joe’s sake) may I ask the question as to why a meet in Wellington cannot be held with all starts from the deep end of the pool? Surely that would be easy? Why could that not have been done at any stage over the past 15 years? Or do we also have to go off to an obscure FINA committee somewhere in Europe to get permission to do that?

    For ‘the Tom who is going to meet up with David’ (sorry, that is just to avoid confusion), when you do meet up with him why don’t you get David to fill in the gaps of your comprehensive research? He (David that is) will be able to tell you what everyone who swims at David’s pool in West Auckland already knows – it is a ‘constant depth’ pool when set up for competition with a depth which is significantly deeper than FINA’s ‘…minimum depth of 1.35 metes, extending from 1.0 metre to at least 6.0 metres from the end wall [as] required for pools with starting blocks.’ I think you might just find that it is 2.0 meters deep, something that most of the thousands of competitive swimmers, water walkers, water polo players, and 32 other regular user groups all know without “…Inhave done extended reserch regarding that as there is not many pools in NZ and in fact around the world that do have 1.35m atbthe shalow end.” You see Tom, to run a National Championship in a complying pool you don’t need many pools, you only need at least one, and I can name at least three. There is Invercargill which starts from the deep end, WRAC would comply if someone was clever enough to have said at any stage over the past 15 years that they would start from the dive well end, until last year there was QE2 which tragically we no longer have and then as surprising as it may seem there is West Wave. I guess that as it (West Wave) is located north of the Bombay Hills which have now obviously grown higher than the Himlaya’s in the mysterious little world that you and Joe both occupy, it somehow does not count as being in New Zealand!

    To Sharon and David both, I thought you may enjoy this:

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_oV2wLd5EjD4/Ss98D1SgQ1I/AAAAAAAAHvQ/GiLTSOHYI1w/s1600-h/peefarter.jpg

    Finally Joe, just so you know that we can have great nights around the fire and be constructive too, I think the live streaming which SNZ does from NAGS is wonderful. Full marks there. Not enough to compensate for all the other rubbish, but full marks none-the-less. Best thing about it is I can watch NAGS and don’t have to meet up with strange people in the mens dunny’s!

  • Wow, thanks for the research. Nice work.

    No one else who’s swum at West Auckland has commented, so I will: the starting end nearest the diving boards is, to my memory, 2m deep. The other end has a movable floor. It is also 2m deep during competition. I’ve swum plenty of races there, including 50s, and remember the pool well.

    During regular training times, West Auckland Aquatics train at the unmovable deep end, unless something has changed since I last visited.

    I’m glad you brought up the issue of why races in Wellington aren’t just started from the deep end, under the diving boards. I mentioned this myself earlier this week. There can’t be any reason why this isn’t an option? The 50m races start up there, after all?

    As for Joe, his IP address and another comment he left on a different post clearly gave away his identity. He is quite a long-standing Swimwatch troll. I did not publish his other comment, as he wishes a heart attack on my father in it, and I draw the acceptability line at wishing death on other people, no matter what you think about their opinions on swimming.

  • Sensible Swimming

    But Jane, that is what all this is about. There are some people in Swimming in New Zealand who would not only wish “…a heart attack on [your] father…” but by their actions would wish spinal compression as an inevitable eventual outcome for some of our swimmers.

    I would say, “publish, and [let them] be damned!”

    We need to know the type of people with whom we associate.

  • It’s a good point, but the guy lives in Texas. He doesn’t care at all about New Zealand swimming or swimmers – he’s just derailing the conversation.

    I let through the comment about how I should have taken up rugby and quit swimming because it showed the terrible mentality of putting responsibility on the person experiencing the bad behaviour, rather than on the perpetrator.

    The rugby comment: this is the guy whose family member once loudly tried to insult me in a restaurant by referring to my “huge shoulders” as though it were a bad thing. I’m not sure if he was just naming a popular New Zealand sport, of if that was a dig at my body, given some family myth of his that I’m enormous? Anyhow, those arms paid for university. I’m not ashamed of my body, if that’s what was being implied. I kind of miss having “swimmer’s arms” too ;) You tend to shrink when you no longer train, and I can no longer do pull-ups like I could – those were my favourites!

    Anyway, absolute textbook troll: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=internet troll. Best to ignore.

  • Chris

    Sensible Swimming. Great research. It seems that SNZ don’t read all of the FINA rules, or clearly speed read, because if we were to read FR 2.7 Starting Platforms it says this:

    ” … The water depth from a distance of 1.0 metre to 6.0 metres from the end wall must be at least 1.35 metres where starting platforms are installed … “.

    So here they have used MUST. I’m sure David that you would have figured that as well, but as I read it, are SNZ trying to suggest that because FR 1.2 uses the word “should” as it relates to other FINA events, therefore, everything that follows FR 1.2 and FR 1.3 is governed by the term “should” and therefore “not mandatory” but optional? So therefore every FINA rule relating to facilities is “not mandatory” for other FINA events? If that is the case, then may I suggest a couple of “shoulds” because they are now, in SNZ’s eyes not mandatory, but optional:

    FR 2.1.1 Length: Since they start at the bulkhead in the Wellington pool, how about we decide to push the bulkhead out 0.5m in Wellington so that the pool is 49.5m since this is only a small adjustment and the 50m length is not mandatory.

    FR 2.7 Starting Platforms: Since all this is optional, why don’t we extend the blocks out 0.5m over the end of the pool because when it says ” … must not protrude beyond the end wall … ” we really now know that MUST really means SHOULD, and is not mandatory, but optional. And instead of making these firm, let’s make the end of the blocks springy, because the “no springing effect” is also not mandatory.

    Aarrgghhh! The sooner we get rid of this lot the better.

  • Abigail

    For the record, I train at West Wave. The pool is 1.8m (6ft) deep at the start end. The other end has a moveable floor. Sometimes it is 1.2m for the public, but it is always 1.8m for competitions.
    As a swimmer, just back from NAGS at WRAC, I have wondered why they couldn’t start from the dive well end, since that is from where all of the 50m races started, and the blocks at that end are in no way inferior. I was at WRAC for the first time in Sept, 2011, and I found the shallow end for starting quite intimidating, and this year I did numerous dives before the meet to make sure I was diving shallow enough.

  • Tom

    It seams that everyone like to see the outcome from the meeting Tom and David.
    I like thatbto happen.
    But reading privious posts Dave is not person that front up people.
    There are some interesting posts about the depth of the pool. Over all we need to jnderstand that this safety regulations are not in place at all regarding NZ Pools. Then we should look what can be done, this is not SNZ fault. They arebworking with what they got. If we change and start at the deep end in wellington Da ve will be writing about another Fina rulle that the control room is in the wrong place.
    We need new pool this is final.

  • Jane

    Tom, I’m sure that David would be happy to chat.

    But if you’re not prepared to start the conversation, why do you expect David to? Seek him out on deck and start talking.

    For god’s sake, lack of logic. I’m tired of this passive aggressive bullshit, written by people who won’t even leave a full name.

  • Tom 1

    Hi Jane, when I made my comments about Joe’s post, I didn’t realise you had already deleted a message from him hoping a heart attack on David. I really hope Joe recognizes the irony of criticizing Swimwatch for being a ‘Negativity Nancy’, while wishing death on it’s author.

    On a brighter note. Wonderful posts Sensible Swimming and Chris.

  • Chris

    So Tom (not Tom1), you are being quite tiresome. The safety regulations that you are referring to, in fact, are not only FINA regulations, BUT SURPRISE, SURPRISE are also in SNZ’s own Regulations http://www.swimmingnz.org.nz/uploads/files/SNZ_Regulations_26.08.11.pdf
    (as pointed out above by Sensible Swimming).
    Which means that SNZ in fact are not abiding by their OWN Regulations. All they have done here is uplift the FINA Regulations (with some minor edits), but they clearly don’t believe a word they say.

    Under the Facilities of SNZ Regulations:

    FR2.3 DEPTH – A minimum depth of 1.35 metres, extending from 1.0 metre to at least 6.0 metres from the end wall is required for pools with starting blocks. A minimum depth of 1.0 metre is required elsewhere.

    Under the same section of SNZ Facilities Regulations:

    FR 2.7 STARTING PLATFORMS – … The water depth from a distance of 1.0 metre to 6.0 metres from the end wall must be at least 1.35 metres where starting platforms are installed …

    You say that it is not SNZ’s fault. Yes it is! We all know that they don’t take a blind bit of notice of Rules, Regulations or the Constitution. They have clearly known this was an issue for some time and quite irresponsibly chosen to “selectively ignore” it because it might have resulted in some uncomfortable changes. Wouldn’t want to rock the boat in its home pool in Wellington now could we?

    You also say that these safety regulations are not in place in NZ pools. Well they damn well should be. So having been given notice that something needs to be done, and then choosing to ignore it is negligence.

    So how about some solutions:

    1. The Kilbirnie Pool. Switch the start end to the dive end. No brainer. They clearly have electronics that end, because they have touch pads which means that ARES runs that end as well. The Control Room does not have to be moved. There is a FINA Rule about Control Room position but that relates only to Olympics and World Champs. The 50s already run from that end, so what’s the problem?
    2. If you are running SC meets then again, it should run from the dive well end with the bulkhead moved down to the 25. Or across the middle section where they already have lane swimming, although the council would need to invest in two more sets of blocks.
    3. Don’t hold NAGS in Wellington every year. Its a rubbish pool, the variable depth, not to mention swimming up hill into 1.2m will always be an issue even if you start from the other end. And no proper warm-down facilities. Use the Invercargill pool and the Auckland pool more. As for Opens, no brainer as well. In the absence of QEII, Auckland is the only pool to have Opens (LC or SC).
    4. Swimmers should not dive off start blocks into pools less then 1.35m. HOWEVER, if there is no other facility in the local area, then a clause in the Meet Poster must be inserted stating that the pool does not comply with FINA Regulations. Then at the start of every session, there should be a safety announcement (like they do in other countries, i.e. UK) about the depth of the pool at the start end and the need to use a shallow dive and only those swimmers who have mastered the skill of a shallow dive are permitted to use the blocks etc. Again, precedents have been established in other countries for years around safety announcements, and the teaching of shallow dives.
    5. Make sure that every pool operator in the country is aware of these regulations, and if they are building a new facility, heaven forbid, they ensure that the pool is deep enough.

  • James T

    Congratulations David

    You’ve made the Sunday papers:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-star-times/latest-edition/6555780/Pool-a-new-low-for-Swimming-New-Zealand

    Classic. Butler really should learn to keep his gob shut and not comment about things he doesn’t understand. And FINA wading in, hilarious!

  • James T

    On a roll. Here’s another one, related I guess.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=10791199

    So tell me again why they are having the Short Course Opens in Wellington?

  • Alison

    At the risk of mixing metaphors, surely Swimming New Zealand should want the nation’s top swimmers to have a level playing field with the rest of the world’s top swimmers? When to solution to the problem is so simple, ie move the competition to a pool that begins to resemble top overseas venues and does comply with the FINA rule, why not do it? Oh yes, that would be seen as bowing the pressure from a “beat-up”. And, it should be noted that any coaching clinics held by David at the Kilbirnie pool were not long course, but short course, ie across the pool and where the depth was a lot more that 1.2m.