Public Pool Hours – War of the Worlds

This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series Columns

Every once in a while swimmers visit the pool besides the official practice hours. Different reasons such as doing additional work, get a missed practice done or simply to hang out with friends and relax motivate those athletes. And so comes that I did end by the pool at those odd hours myself over the last few weeks.

During these hours of swimming in the lane lines open to the public I was able to observe a quite interesting world. A world with a seemingly clear defined “war zone” and her very own population separated in three different “species”.

What follows is an explanation of each “species” and how you can recognize them when making your next visit to the pool.

First Specie: Those are part of what I would call the non-swimmers specie. They don’t seem to come to the pool to actively swim but to hang out, having fun or socialising. Some of them don’t even get in touch with the water, some hang on the boarders or worse on the lane lines and still some others actually swim lanes with their head wide out to protect their hair of the water or to protect themselves of drinking it. And my personal favourite are those who swim with a pair of goggles without never putting their head under water.

Recognizing this specie is fairly easy – most of them do not have the typical athletic swimmer body and include people of all ages.

Second Specie: This is where it starts to get serious. Some of them use their lunch break or days off from work to stay in shape. Although most of them never actually were part of a swim team they do their best to look like a pro. Almost all wear at least goggles and caps while most even bring some equipment like a pullbuoy or paddles to the pool. Swimming lanes is a must although none ever got the run down of the rule “How to circle” for peaceful moments in the water. And yes, swimming laps in the maze of the crowd is an option for them but that’s when it starts to get nasty.

So next time you see someone sprinting beside you to boost his confidence with keeping up while you’re doing some easy swimming or your swim down – be sure this guys is part of our 2nd specie.

Third Specie:Triathletes, former swimmers (some on the comeback trail) and of course yourself are part of our last specie. The love for the sport and other reasons why they’re at the pool are already known and recognizing them is inevitable. They swim with ease (sorry, but most triathletes excluded) and of course you wish you had their fully trained body.

Now that everyone knows to witch specie he belongs to, let’s come back to the core of this story. Finding myself in those dangerous waters was quite an adventure.

Close you’re eyes and picture yourself doing a workout in a lane where every other swimmer disrespects every “rule” you’re used to follow while swimming laps. Open your eyes again – yes you just had a nightmare.

But that’s not all of it. Did you maybe slightly touch someone during one of the set you’re about to finish (things like that happened all the time)? No intention there for sure but let’s face it – you’re not a snake in a Rally Car mode taking over a person every other meter of the pool. So by the time you reach the wall to rest there will be someone waiting to tell (sometimes scream at) you how rude of a person you are.

Here’s my advice – don’t react like them (or some of the other species would). Don’t even listen to what they say – you didn’t do anything wrong.

Why are so many of the three species leaving the pool angry and frustrated because of “nothing” (I had to ask this myself). In the end we’re all coming to our favorite place for the love of the sport and having fun in or outside the water. With a little more respect for everybody’s capabilities and activities, we can make everyone’s trip to the pool a fun and well remembered one!