Swimmer awarded €35,000 for breaking teeth in pool dive
Judge says depth of water in Clontarf centre made it unsuitable for diving
The swimming pool and creche area at the West Wood Fitness Centre, Clontarf. File Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times
A woman who broke her two front teeth when she dived into a swimming pool and hit her face against the bottom, has been awarded €35,000 damages against a Dublin fitness club.
Judge Jacqueline Linnane told the Circuit Civil Court the depth of the pool at West Wood Club, Clontarf, Dublin, and the fact that it was unsuitable for diving into, had not been adequately marked.
She said that if a lifeguard had been present at the time, as it was claimed by the Club, he would have warned Timea Babos (30, that diving was not allowed in the swimming pool.
The judge said she accepted Ms Babos’s evidence that, when she came out of the swimming pool in severe pain and bleeding, she had not seen any member of staff to report the incident to until she had gone to reception.
There was clearly inadequate supervision at the time and she accepted that Ms Babos had not seen any sign prohibiting diving.
Barrister Gavin Mooney, counsel for Ms Babos, told the court she had dived into the pool on November 13th, 2011 after having used the club’s sauna and jacuzzi facilities.
He said Ms Babos had once previously visited the club on a free pass to play tennis but on the second occasion, again on a guest pass, had used the swimming pool which, she claimed, had no markings indicating the depth of the pool or that diving was not allowed.
Ms Babos, a Romanian national, said she had been living in Ireland for a number of years and currently worked as an accommodation supervisor in the Shelbourne Hote, Dublin.
She told Mr Mooney that after having used the steam room she had gone to the poolside and had dived in. She intended swimming a few lengths of the pool and had not seen any signs about the depth.
“I hit the bottom with my face and when I came up I was bleeding and had broken my two front teeth,” she said. “I completed an accident report form before leaving to attend an evening clinic where I received treatment to stop the bleeding and was given pain killers.”
Ms Babos, of Tentar Fields Apartments, South Brown Street, Dublin 8, told Kerry Jane Morgan, counsel for the West Wood Club, that she had been booked to travel to Canada for a holiday on December lst, a fortnight after the accident. She had flown to Hungary on the day after the accident to have crowns fitted.
“I could not have flown to Canada with broken teeth,” she told the court.
She told Ms Morgan she had learned to swim and dive while at school in Romania and denied that she had chosen a dangerous and unsafe method of diving into the pool at West Wood.
Barry Tennyson, a forensic engineer who examined the pool area shortly after the accident, said the swimming pool “unusually” did not have a deep end and measured l.35m (about 4’) throughout its length.
Judge Linnane, awarding her €35,000 damages, said Ms Babos was not guilty of contributory negligence as claimed by West Wood Club, which has its registered office at Leopardstown Racecourse, Foxrock, Dublin.