Roland Grimm defends his goggles in wake of pool ban

Your story (Swimmer banned from pool for his weird eyewear H&H September 18) is not just a storm in a teacup, but also a good example of how easily fact and fiction can get muddled. The disputed product is manufactured by Scubapro using totally shatter

Your story (Swimmer banned from pool for his 'weird eyewear' H&H September 18) is not just a storm in a teacup, but also a good example of how easily fact and fiction can get muddled.

The disputed product is manufactured by Scubapro using totally shatterproof plastic lenses in a strong rubber frame which seals perfectly and feels extremely soft on my face, unlike uncomfortable Speedo goggles.

All Scubapro masks are designed to the highest possible standard. The rubber nose vent allows a swimmer to exhale, if required, which temporarily breaks the seal without letting any water into the mask.

Your story only mentioned briefly that the lenses are plastic. By the time the story was tarted up by other newspapers into a 'Grimm Goggle Story' the untruths had crept in that I had been swimming with unsafe glass goggles because water was getting up my nose. If that was the case I would simply wear a nose clip.


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I do not relish getting drawn into disputes with authority, which resemble highlights of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. After having wasted years on futile campaigns against decay and closures of municipal swimming pools, I went to my local newspaper as a last resort, in despair over the unreasonable treatment by lifeguards and their managers at my local pool.

I had already pointed out the high safety standard of my goggles to a lifeguard several days before being ordered to stop swimming. The lifeguard and his manager saw me remove the goggles, attempting to swim without them.

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After two laps I informed them that the pool chemicals were stinging my eyes and I could not see where I was going. I also explained the medical reasons for being unable to wear Speedo goggles.

Before resorting to my local newspaper, I had given a further safety demonstration to the main leisure centre manager by dropping my goggles several times on the stone floor.

She simply did not like their appearance and instead of reasoning about the facts, she treated me like an idiot. I hope nobody else insists that my goggles need to be strong enough to resist being run over by a truck, before giving me permission to swim.

The issue should have been resolved in a few minutes, as I thought it had been, once I had demonstrated to a lifeguard that my goggles are 100 per cent shatterproof. As a result of the stupidity I have now missed a whole week of swimming, have had to attend meetings with pool managers and wasted time debating with Camden Council.

Since the story has appeared in the Press, Greenwich Leisure, who have the contract to run the pool for Camden Council, continues putting forward the argument that my goggles are a potential hazard because they might shatter glass in the pool.

This behaviour is hurtful and disingenuous because the true facts have clearly been demonstrated, both to the council and Greenwich Leisure.

Camden Council's head of leisure, Rachel Stoppard, is refusing to speak to me directly. Other council staff have promised a speedy resolution, but in the meantime my regular swimming exercise is on hold.

To make matters worse I am now being forced to pay for a letter from my GP to document the medical reason why I have chosen to stop using 'normal' goggles. Swimming literally hundreds of miles with the more common suction-type goggles has been causing tissue damage and severe bruising around my eyes.

I have no intention of sueing the manufacturers, but the damage and stress caused by the disproportionate action of the pool's owners, Camden Council, and their management, is beginning to hurt.

Camden Council and Greenwich Leisure have spent an entire week arguing about the non-existent risk posed by my 100 per cent shatterproof goggles.

Instead they should be concerned with real hazards in their badly-designed new pool. Badly-fitted glass partitioning doors have recently smashed on the floor of the shower area.

For months badly-fitted shower doors in the changing room had been hanging ready to collapse with dangerous screws protruding.

Some changing room areas are badly designed, making them awkward to use by any two customers simultaneously.

These and similar defects are the type of issues pool managers are paid to resolve with a professional attitude, not to create needless and barmy disputes with innocent members of the public.

ROLAND GRIMM

Hilltop Road, NW6

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