The Dagenham City Council is up to the same shenanigans that seem to plague most British city councils: they have banned swimmers at a council pool from swimming lengths.
Now they may only swim widths, in order to make it easier for lifeguards to keep an eye on them.
According to a story in the London Daily Mail, the Dagenham City Council believes that it's easier for lifeguards to watch over people swimming the width of the pool than it is to watch them swimming lengths. But the pool's regulars say it's just one more indication that Britain is caught up in the mad health and safety whirlpool.
"Health and safety" is the mating cry of the British bureaucrat, also known as bureaucraticus moronicus, which seems to have come up with this as an alternative to the "if we let you do it, then we have to let everyone else do it" excuse our teachers used when we were kids.
Dean Bradford, 33, has used the Dagenham pool since he was 13.
"A lot of elderly people swim lengths of the pool to maintain their stamina and health and young people swim lengths to become better swimmers," Bradford told the Daily Mail. "By banning lengths all these people are being marginalised and will have to go elsewhere."
And since the pool is running short on cash, that's the last thing they can afford.
An unnamed council spokesman told the Daily Mail,"This enables people who are less confident to swim lengths of the shallow end to help them get fit and also it makes it easier to see where people are swimming and what they are doing. It's about variety, giving a whole host of swimming options."
The spokesman did say that the policy only affected morning and lunchtime swimming sessions. However, if the feedback was not good, they would change things back to the way things were.
Given the royal bollocking the Dagenham city council has been getting in the British press, that should be any day now.
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