In the Swim


In England, the Dagenham Council has banned swimmers from swimming the length of a council pool. Swimmers must now swim the width of the pool. Officials say the switch makes it easier for lifeguards to protect everyone using the pool.

NEXT: Peter Schiff Has the Best Rant You'll Hear All Week

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The rationale for the switch seems to be eminently sensible. Are we supposed to be against it just because it’s state action?

  2. And this doesn’t strike you as being just a little like micromanaging?
    Everyone is so stupid and irresponsible that we must now be told how far to swim?

  3. Wouldn’t it be much safer to drain the pool completely and have the swimmers just walk the width of the pool? They could install handrails so no one falls.

    1. Don’t forget to pad those handrails, lest anyone get a bruise on their hands by grasping them too suddenly.


    2. Swimming pools used to be privately owned and operated. Get the govt out of the pool business, sell the pools, and let the private sector deal with such weighty issues.

  4. First – it is Britain. Who cares.

    Second – I would REALLY like to hear the explanation of why it is easier for the lifeguards to “protect everyone” when swimmers swim north/south than it is to “protect everyone” when swimmers swim east/west. I might have had to shout out “Liar” in that council meeting.


  5. I agree with parse. Another rationale is that this creates more lanes for swimming. Also, since most swim events are multiples of 50 meters, 25 meter lanes are better than 33.3 meter lanes, no?

  6. First – it is Britain. Who cares.

    It’s the mother country, I do.

    Also, since most swim events are multiples of 50 meters, 25 meter lanes are better than 33.3 meter lanes, no?

    Let me know when competitive swimming events are held swinning the width of a pool.
    THIMK before you opine.

  7. I’d wonder what the chances are that someone into swimming laps will need rescuing, as opposed to the folks who splash around wearing little floaty things on their arms.

    Of course they could always line up the lap folks by height, with the tall ones using the deep end. That would solve absolutely nothing as well.

  8. Make the pools square, then the pool can be gridded, should be fun watching swimmers trying to figure out which is the long side.

    1. Make the pools square


  9. Is it wrong of me to hope that the entire population of Great Britain drowns?

    I’m serious build a fence around it and study it. Everything the Brits do…..just do the opposite!

    1. You are blaming the victim here. Most ordinary Brits think these rules are just as daft as you think they are. It is the idiots who run local councils that make most of these idiotic rules, plus the current Labour government, which is now firmly in the hands of it’s most nannyist members and is using the last few months* of it’s political power to do all the nannyist things it ever wanted to do.

      *There is an election due next year. Barring the Conservative leader getting caught in bed with a small child and/or a pony, Labour is going to lose.

      1. wouldn’t that depend on the sex of the child/pony in question?

        1. fish

          you do realise that we get plenty of aren’t americans stupid articles in the british press?

          1. I certainly hope so! We Yanks like to think of ourselves as trendsetters for the world. We just HATE it when the Brits exceed our own stupidity. A daunting challenge that surely we shall meet head-on.

  10. Next:

    Here’s your 5 gallon bucket. It’s easier to protect you.

    After that:
    Here’s your bucket. You can drown with water in it.

    1. I seem to recall that more kids drown in buckets than swimming pools.


  11. Next:

    Here’s your 5 gallon bucket. It’s easier to protect you.

    After that:
    Here’s your bucket. You can drown with water in it.

  12. Officials say the switch makes it easier for lifeguards to protect everyone using the pool.

    Even kinks have to be justified on grounds of safety nowadays, eh?

  13. The Council has changed the rules at a Council pool? I don’t see the problem here. If they mandated all other pools do the same, you may have a gripe, but this is just petty.

    Stop utilizing the Council pool, if you don’t like it! They may even have to shut it down and save the subjects some dough.

  14. FTA: The council spokesman said the changes affect morning and lunchtime swimming sessions and if feedback was not good the lanes could be changed back to lengths.

    From the ?Olympics tag on the end I can tell that this article was found via Fark (link goes to Fark thread) and it has already been dissected there months ago. When the hyperventilating journalism is removed, what’s left is a local council who have changed the swimming pool lanes from lengths to widths for part of the day so that weaker swimmers can use it during those sessions. One man who used to swim lengths during those sessions seems to think the world should revolve around his needs and is demanding the council change the system back.

    The only health and safety aspect to this is the insistence that the pool is used in only one direction at a time to minimise collisions between swimmers, that’s a sensible policy and hardly the Nanny State gone mad.

    This article is from the Daily Mail. I’ve e.mailed Reason staff in the past to warn them about the misleading nature of Daily Mail articles, but they don’t seem to realise how bad they really are. Nothing the Daily Mail prints in it’s opinion pieces can be taken as the truth.

    1. you make a very good point.

  15. One interesting problem is that on a narrow pool, a fair to good swimmer will literally get dizzy doing so many laps. Furthermore, more laps increases the chances of bumping one’s head on the wall or the bottom on the turn.

    I assume these British council critters don’t swim — or at least not well.

    1. Bump your head?? Get dizzy?? Hit bottom??

      Maybe you should stop swimming laps in the kiddy pool.

  16. Further good news! The Brits, who currently win Olympic swim gold metals about as often as Americans win the World Cup in soccer, will be even less competent in the aquatic events than before.

    If that’s possible.

  17. Does anyone actually pay attention to any of these rules? I am sure they do when the rules are new and shiny but I bet that there are so many regulations of every sort now that most are only brought to bear when someone has a grudge or an axe to grind.

    And how does it make it any easier for a lifeguard to rescue someone? Every point in the pool is just as far away from the lifeguard’s chair as it was before. Anyone swimming the length of the pool can be no more than half the width of the pool away from an edge… just the same if they swimming the length.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.