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Why Not Bombs or Flips?

Why Not Bombs Or Flips?

Lifeguards are always getting complaints from swim customers about them not being able to do bombs or flips from the edge of the pool.

Picture of swimmers doing flips into the pool. Why not bombs or flips?
Photo by Katherine Auguste on Unsplash

Some Pools have a diving board but even those pools usually don't allow Bombs and Flips. Many pools in Australia have eliminated them because of the huge insurance cost associated with due to the significant injury rate. Add to that the maintenance cost, as well as poor safety record associated with undertraining and the irresponsibility of users and you, have an undesirable piece of equipment.

Most people assume that the only reason that swim patrons are not allowed to do Bombs and Flips is because of the disruption that the splashing causes other swimmers. Or because the owners of the pool are killjoys. The last reason is often the reason given as to why swimmers ignore lifeguard instructions.

The fact is that there is a significant risk associated with Bombs and Flips. And although there is a disturbance factor it is just not true that it is the main reason.

Wait... Get Your Lesson Plans Here

Notoriously Oblivious

Firstly people doing bombs and Flips are notoriously oblivious to other swimmers. The result of this is that because they don't look they regularly land on other swimmers and injure, both themselves and the other swimmer, with the other swimmer nearly always coming off worse.

"I'll Look"; "I'll be careful," they say but they don't and they are not, and even if they were that is not the only reason.

With both Bombs and Flips, there is a spinning action both before and after the water has been entered. It's this spinning action that is the greatest threat. Even those trained in diving know that there is an inherent risk in any spinning action when entering the water. Disorientation will always result from a spin; after all that is some of the attraction isn't it. The edge of the pool will too often just insist on being where it was not expected and wham you have heads being hit on the edge of the pool.

If we were just concerned about a little bump on the head then perhaps banning would be an overreaction. But it's way more than a little bump on the head, it is potentially a major trauma to the brain and skull and spinal injury to boot.

Considers The Consequences

So the next time you think about defying the "no bombing or flips" rule considers the consequences. If not for yourself then for your family and the poor lifeguards who have to deal with it.



  1. Back on December 1 2016, I received the following comment on this post. The author has since gone dark creating a broken link for me. However I thought the comment and my response was worthwhile keeping so I have included it here.

    Anthony: "This is bullshit I don't know anyone who has landed on anyone else or hurt their head from bombing."

    Me: G'day, Anthony,
    Your reaction is a very common one from swimmers who have never had to deal with the trauma associated with injuries resulting for bombs or flips.
    One of the things that I learned when I was doing market research, was that no matter how much data I accumulated in my area, I was often surprised that the final result was different from what I perceived.
    Whilst I'm sure your social world is extensive, your perception is not reflected in the horrendous injury statistics associated with flips and bombs.
    At our pool, when the patronage is low, I will sometimes allow swimmers that I know to be responsible and who will therefore obey instructions, to jump into the pool with their legs tucked up in a bomb like fashion as long as they hold their arms open and do NOT grab their legs. This allows for a controlled entry into the water. However I never allow flips.
    Unfortunately for me Anthony I know the hurt and from bombing injuries. But thank you for taking the time to read and comment. It shows that you are a thinker and hopefully you will change you mind without having to experience any of the pain.

  2. While I agree with you that diving of the side of the pool, especially flips and bombs should never be allowed the statement about the safety of bombs and flips of the diving board is plain false. Here is a link to a site that states that less than 10% of diving accidents happen with a diving board involved and i would further argue if it involves a diving board the diver probably did either act "stupid" or was under the influence.

    1. Thanks for your comment.
      I am not making a criticism of responsible diving. Although every sport diving coach knows that the sport of diving is at least as inherently dangerous as most full contact sports. However, diving in a responsible way such as from the edge of the pool in an appropriate depth to enter a lap lane to do laps or train when there is no one else in the lane or only those who are also training and understand entry timing and safety, is generally very low risk. But this is not the case for any kind of stunt diving or free diving where other swimmers are playing or swimming in the immediate vicinity.

      Unfortunately your link did not come through so I cannot checkout the study you quote but I can point to many studies including this one that say, "On average that's an injury an hour in the U.S., every hour of every day that most pools are open." (https://bit.ly/45gGXXQ). And these are just the U.S. Studies. With these kind of numbers may I suggest that there are perhaps more "stupid or under the influence" people that you may think.

      Also, may I point out that even a number of 10% (and I would suggest that this percentage is very low) may be a very high injury rate. For example, if it is 10% 500 that is 50 people injured. The higher the number the higher the injury rate.
      Diving as a sport is very popular and diving in a responsible way with proper training or coaching is not what I am talking about in this article, despite the high risks associated with the activity.
      I am however making an impassioned plea to at the very lease be responsible and not reckless especially in a pool that has other people in it.
      If I were a pool owner I would be very aware of my responsibility to other using my pool and I would supervise and mange the pool at all times. Never allowing trick dives of any kind.

      As an aside most pool owners do not carry the kind of insurance that would cover drowning or injury due to poor supervision or management. The result could be not only permanent disfigurement of disability to one of your friends but financial ruin for the pool owner. Just something to think about.

  3. https://www.swoperodante.com/pools-and-diving-accidents-injury-statistics/

  4. I searched this up cause my kids ask me all the time now I know and I can tell them that it is not safe and to always listen to the lifeguards