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Dear Sir!

We always like to hear from you. To make it easier to get in touch we’ve brought some of our popular letters to the editor feature online. Every month we’ll feature one of the letters that appears in Swimming Times magazine online to allow you to have your say and leave comments on issues that relate to you.

If you would like to submit a letter to appear online and in the magazine please email swimmingtimes@swimming.org or send your letter by post to Swimming Times, SportPark, 3 Oakwood Drive, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE11 3QF.


In reply to Zoe Cheale’s article about goggles, I’ve been teaching children to swim for many years and I have found that the majority of children prefer to wear goggles.

I don’t make a big fuss about it – some don’t want to and that’s fine with me as long as they are doing the same practices as those that do wear them. Sometimes they change their minds when they see others are using them.

Yes, they can sometimes be a distraction as there is nearly always the one child who continuously fiddles with their goggles, even if they were fitting correctly at the beginning of the lesson. But most are fine.

Unfortunately, some of the parents cannot swim themselves (which is sad) and therefore don’t know how to fit the goggles correctly on their child. The times I’ve had a child coming in to the lesson with the back of the goggles on their neck and the eye pieces on their eyes at weird angles, goggles too loose, too tight etc. Wearing goggles, correctly fitted, can make the difference between a child feeling happy and confident with their face in the water, even if they were unsure to begin with, to the child who point blank refuses to even try, and if they do try without goggles sometimes it will put them off completely!

I find that if they begin with goggles, once they are used to them, the children are much more willing to have a go at putting their face in, floating, or trying to pick up sinkers which, let’s face it, is much easier when you can see them!

Later on, when they are more confident, they are usually willing to try to go underwater/put faces in without wearing goggles for short periods of time. At that point, I tend to ask them at the beginning of the lesson (and this is in the teaching pool), if they are feeling brave today. Most, I have found, will say yes, even before they know what I’m going to ask them to do!

I ask them to take their goggles off and put them on the poolside, I then say I’m going to count to three and I would like you to pop underwater, starting with your eyes closed and, when you are underwater, to open your eyes for a quick peek and maybe wave to each other. Gradually, with repetitions, they get more accustomed to it.

I have on occasions come across a swimmer, from a lesson in the main pool, who would normally confidently swim 25m frontcrawl, face in, bi-lateral breathing, who has forgotten their goggles or they have broken on poolside. They then proceed to swim face out of the water, looking as if they can hardly swim. At the end of the day, they need to understand that they can swim with or without goggles, at least for a short time!

I wear goggles for a long swim, but can and do swim shorter distances without, and fully appreciate that for the non-swimmer, whether child or adult, goggles are the best thing since sliced bread!

Mandy Underwood

By email

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