When most of us think of swimming pools accidents, we think of children drowning or near drowning in pools. While this is a serious problem, fatal and serious injuries also occur from diving into shallow water. When a swimmer dives into water that is too shallow, the chances of striking the head and causing traumatic brain injury, paralysis and death are increased.
While at a recent Roanoke swim meet, my 7 year old daughter, an experienced swimmer, was instructed to dive from a diving block into a swimming pool with a 3ft depth. She dove too deep and grazed the side of her head on the bottom of the pool. Luckily, she suffered nothing more than a “goose egg” and a disqualification. The accident could have been much worse.
This swim meet was an event organized by experienced swimmers, swim coaches and fully staffed with life guards. I felt that my child was safe. Now, I’m not so sure.
The USASwimming 2013 facility standards require the “minimum water depth for racing starts during practice and competition shall be measured for a distance of 3 ft 3 1/2 inches to 16 ft 5 inches from the end wall.” It also requires, “in pools with water depth less than 4 ft at the starting end, the swimmer must start from within the water.”
Kudos to USASwimming for providing a safety standard and allowing a safer alternative for our swimmers.
More information on this topic can be found here: www.usaswimming.org.