The public swimming pool is Australia’s main summer attraction, a popular sanctuary and a cheap way to exercise.
Whether you are a serious cycling sprinter or a parent who plays in the splash pool, swimmers of all ages and abilities can enjoy the venue.
However, should the public swimming pool have a loading requirement?
The problem was raised after a woman said she was refused entry into a public swimming pool in northern Queensland because she intended to wear single shorts instead of swimwear.
The pool’s board of directors defended the decision, saying customers who might wear dirty clothes would affect the water quality of the pool.
Bringing her grandson to the Bowen public swimming pool in North Queensland is a special treat for Brenda Hines.
Retired retail workers suffer from chronic emphysema, and she can enjoy very little activity.
Ms. Hynes said: “I tried to take them to fishing, it was too hot, I could not breathe.”
“I can’t go too far so I took my kids to the pool. I was sitting in the pool, they just went to have fun. Besides taking them to take pictures, this is the only basic thing I can do.
“I just watched them by the edge of the pool and they had a good time.”
Ms. Hynes usually enters the pool wearing a single line and shorts because she feels more comfortable and less conscious than wearing a swimsuit.
“When my lungs failed, they gave me the needle to breathe properly, so I took a lot of weight, so I only wear these shorts and a single line,” she said.
But recently, Ms. Hines was denied access to the Bowen pool because she often wore “street clothing”.
“I wear a pair of normal black cotton shorts and a one-piece shirt,” she said.
“We went to the counter and I started signing the book. The lady said, ‘Where is the swimmer?’ I said, ‘This is what we swim.’
“She said, ‘Unless you have a swimmer, you won’t pass the gate.’
“My grandchildren were badly damaged because they couldn’t swim. It’s ridiculous.
Dress code applies to the parliament
The local council is responsible for setting the dress code for public swimming pools.
Many committees do stipulate that appropriate swimwear is worn at all times, but most operators have extensive discretion.
Adam Hagy, director of customer experience at the Whitsunday Regional Council, said swimming pool operators are generally loose in implementing the rules.
“There is a swimming pool rule, the swimming pool does not wear street clothing, and obviously we allow our operators to use a little discretion,” he said.
“The reason for reigning in the swimming pool is that we do have several situations. People wearing dirty clothes may be contaminated with oil and that nature, which will affect the balance of the pool water.
“We can make sure we can maintain water quality instead of introducing other things into our pool.
“Obviously, if someone wants to wear a T-shirt, it’s clean, and they are wearing T-shirts, we are a little cautious about it.”
‘Enter and learn’
Those who don’t want to wear traditional swimwear for religious reasons?
Sana Ansari swims with her two children every week at a swimming school in Mackay.
Her family is a Muslim, and Ms. Ansari likes to wear longer pants and longer shirts while swimming.
“I used to go through a needle set, but now I wear a swimsuit with a sports tights, a long-sleeve rashie vest and a swimming cap,” she said.
“Some girls also wear suitable headscarves. Swimming schools are very diverse and they accept people of all nationalities and religions.
“The dress code in the pool is not a concern for them.”
Ms. Ansari said she never felt uncomfortable while swimming.