My daughter is on the cusp of teenage hood and not surprisingly a regular swimmer. Now swimming and girls over a certain age, do not always mix and I am personally dreading having to decide what we are going to do about it. My personal belief is that tampons are not suitable for a young teen due to the slight risk of toxic shock syndrome and if you can’t see it, you can forget it. Also, does my daughter really want to be having this conversation with me, even though I will discuss anything with her?
Luckily, for us, India is no longer a competitive swimmer, so isn’t required by club rules to reach the magic eighty per cent attendance that is required. The conflict lies with the young competitor and a head coach who is hungry for results and commitment.
PERSONAL HEALTH OF THE SWIMMING TEACHER
So what about female swimming teachers? How fair should employers be if there is a medical problem that means tampons are just not effective? Sometime a go, I was contacted by a swimming teacher via Facebook who wanted my advice. The conversation went as follows:
“I get bad periods due to fibroids so for two days out of a month I'm extremely heavy and can’t go out. The other day I started my period whilst in the pool and I was covering other teachers’ lessons, I finished the classes; but had to cancel the private lesson after. The swim coordinator has taken me off the cover list and stopped my own classes, which were going to be permanent every Tuesday as a result. I have covered at a few hours notice for them for six weeks doing two - five hours at one time, as one teacher was caught drunk driving and lost his license and the other two female teachers I covered for have had and are having operations.”
To which I replied: “I think that is really unfair. I think you need to arrange a meeting with the swimming coordinator and their boss and go with medical proof to back your case up.”
My friend had been honest and told her manager before the incident that it would be for only two days and that day surgery had been arranged for a fortnight’s time to fix the problem. As a lady herself, the manager should have been more understanding and there are always around such a problem. For example, how deep is the pool? If the children can stand up in the pool and are confident,
it isn’t always necessary to have the teacher in the pool with them. Even if the pool is deep, the children can be put onto woggles and work around the edge of the pool, so they are within easy reach. Unfortunately, my friend had only signed a contract regarding cover and casual employment and not for permanent work and so didn’t have a legal leg to stand on.
ADAPTING TO YOUR HEALTH'S NEEDS
I, myself, had my swimming career threatened by severe ongoing ear infections, shortly after I had qualified with STA level one and I was told by the ENT consultant that I might have to give up. The lady who I was helping at the time, just said that I didn’t necessarily have to go into the water and there were ways round it – I was lucky to have someone so understanding.
So the question is, is it really fair for swimming clubs and schools to put health pressures on female swimmers and teachers, when it should be down to individual choice?