Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sharks in the Water

Two weeks ago, I was asked to get out of the swimming-pool at half past nine on Sunday morning because of a new rule that adults swimming alone had to leave when family swimming started.

I thought it was ridiculous, and wrote a blog post about it.

I thought it was just some stupid new rule that had been brought in by someone who thought that the adults swimming lengths might somehow crash into the children.

No. It's worse than that. It is, apparently, a Council Health and Safety directive that, from now on, lone adult swimmers can never be in the water at the same time as families with children.

And this, dear reader, is in case there is a plague of paedophiles targeting family swimming as a place to get their kicks on a Sunday morning.

Yes, it really is because of that.

My original problem was that adult swimmers have to get out at half-past nine and so only have an hour's swimming time on a Sunday morning, because the pool doesn't open until half-past eight. This morning I was there on the dot of half-past eight and was quite pleased that I still managed to do my mile before half-past nine, even allowing for a few moments to talk with my friends Jo and Deb about these ridiculous swimming-time changes.

As there have been LOTS of complaints, apparently, after the Christmas break all we dodgy lone adults are going to get an extra half-hour on a Sunday morning before the family swimming starts.

Okay, for me, that helps, though I'd rather have a couple of hours as I want to build up to swimming a mile and a half and that will be a push for me in an hour and a half.

But it's not the point.

Upon exactly WHAT evidence have they decided that Adult Swimmers and Family Swimming must be kept apart? Have they have loads of complaints from parents about lone adults eyeing up their children?

In my experience - and I have been in that pool a LOT - the lone adults just get on with doing what they dragged themselves out of bed to do - and that's swim up and down, looking neither to the left nor to the right. When the families with children arrive, those swimming lengths just keep out of their way.

However, the current opening times have had one effect. There were very few adults there this morning, because they know that unless they get there really early, they won't have much swimming time.

Also, the number of families swimming was exactly the same as last time. One man and his daughter.

So clearly the new times aren't working. Surely they should be encouraging people to swim, rather than putting them off?

The thing that makes me most angry, though, is the presumption that any lone adult - particularly a lone man - is a potential paedophile. I hate the current idea that everyone's a potential bad guy until proved otherwise.

All it takes is a bit of parental responsibility to keep their eyes open for the very, very rare occasions when there might be someone dodgy about. I just don't believe that there's a child-molester behind every corner. I don't want to live in a society that thinks that there is. I'm furious.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ridiculous - next they'll be stopping the man swimming with his daughter... I mean, how do THEY know that he is her father?
Also, as fewer adults turn up to swim in their appointed 1.5 hours, there is a risk that adult swimming will become marginalised, i.e. cancelled altogether, with the pool opening at 9:30 - all to help with local government cuts, of course.
When are you organising a march on Parliamenet Square, Daphne?

4:34 pm  
Blogger Jenny said...

Surely you and other lone adults could protest that your human rights are being challenged. What a ridiculous stance and what on earth do they think any paedophiles could get up to under the watchful eyes of parents and pool attendants anyway? Oh yes, hidden cameras attached to their swimming caps!

5:02 pm  
Blogger Ailbhe said...

What they could get up to would be grooming, I suppose, but presuming other parents won't do that is ridiculous. Paedophiles are at least as likely to be parents of young children as to be anything else.

9:45 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

I share your annoyance. I have always liked children - especially small children. Liking them does not mean that I want to molest them. And yet nowadays, as a man, you have to be very wary of even looking at small children when in public places.

In contrast, when I was a lad growing up in the East Riding, nobody had even heard of paedophilia. We trusted the adult members of our community and it's really still the same today - for every active child molester there are literally thousands of decent "normal" adults who wish children no harm whatsoever.

11:09 pm  
Blogger colin said...

The council are cunning, If they say they need to shut the pool to save money there will be outrage.

So they say no lone adult swimming for what ever reason they can think of.

Next lone adult swimmers, who are the dedicated ones stop attending

The pool gets used less

12-18 months later, the pool is closed due to lack of use, and nobody protests.

12:05 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home