News / Winnipeg

Winnipeg hotel apologizes to pool patron over T-shirt incident, stands behind policy

Shania Pruden said a lifeguard at the Victoria Inn said she wasn't allowed wearing a t-shirt in the pool Wednesday.

Shania Pruden, 19, was swimming at the Victoria Inn with her nieces, ages five and two, on Wednesday night when a female lifeguard approached saying she needed to remove her t-shirt.

Shannon Van Raes / For Metro

Shania Pruden, 19, was swimming at the Victoria Inn with her nieces, ages five and two, on Wednesday night when a female lifeguard approached saying she needed to remove her t-shirt.

A standoff over "proper swimming attire" at a hotel pool has been resolved after a flurry of emails between hotel staff and a concerned patron.

Shania Pruden, 19, was swimming at the Victoria Inn with her nieces, ages five and two, on Wednesday night when a female lifeguard approached saying she needed to take off her T-shirt.

Pruden said she was wearing a black nylon T-shirt and swim shorts – the same outfit she’d worn the day before while swimming in the same pool with the same lifeguard.

Men and boys around the pool were also swimming in T-shirts and trunks, she said.

After reviewing video surveillance footage late last week, hotel general manager Mike Roziere told Metro on Monday the lifeguard had asked 12 people (nine women and three men) within about a half-hour span to change into more appropriate swimwear. Pruden was the last person she approached around 6 p.m.

"I apologized (to Pruden) and said, 'I'm sorry you felt (singled out).' We do have a responsibility to try to keep people safe in our pool area," Roziere said. 

"My policy hasn’t changed because the pool will be shut down if I don’t do that, and then nobody’s playing in it," he said, adding the policy is in place due to safety and sanitation concerns for the pool.

Recalling the incident in an interview last week, Pruden said she didn’t own another swimsuit so the lifeguard told her to "at least take your T-shirt off to continue swimming."

"I told them that I didn’t want to because I didn’t feel comfortable… and they just said, 'Well, then you can’t swim,'" she said Thursday.

Pruden later left with her nieces and checked out of the hotel Wednesday, a day before she originally intended to leave.

Pruden and Roziere were exchanging emails over the weekend to try to clarify what happened at the pool. Roziere said he apologized repeatedly to Pruden for her having felt singled out, though that wasn't the lifeguard's intention.

The lifeguard did not want to partake in an interview, according to Roziere.

"It’s simply that we have policy in place that says 'proper swim attire.' And we do ask everybody, if they want to wear a T-shirt for whatever reason that may be, that it’s just a swim T-shirt. We have them for sale at our front desk if they don’t have one," Roziere said last week, adding the shirts cost $15.

Pruden had said Thursday she felt "very uncomfortable" about how the lifeguard handled the situation and felt singled out in a roomful of strangers.

Pruden didn't realize others had also been asked to take off their T-shirts in the pool earlier, she said in a follow-up interview Monday.

"I understand that cotton shirts aren't allowed, but my shirt was nylon. So I did suggest that they have someone during check-in address that no cotton shirts are allowed (in the pool), but nylon shirts are allowed," Pruden said. "Because not everyone’s comfortable swimming with no shirt on."

Signage at the entrance of the pool alerts guests that proper swimwear is required to enter the pool, including no cut-offs or T-shirts.

A sign at the entrance of the Victoria Inn pool alerts guests about proper swimming attire.

Mike Roziere/Supplied

A sign at the entrance of the Victoria Inn pool alerts guests about proper swimming attire.

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