The Joys of Lap Swimming

I hate to be that guy.....that lap swimmer snob.....that guy who thinks that he's been there - done that - and that everyone else is just an annoyance during his regular foray into the pool for a workout.   But I hate to admit, I'm treading into deeper water in regards to being "that guy".

Before I go on......I grew up swimming.  I swam through high school and college.  This isn't to say that I'm an expert in lap swim / pool etiquette, but I think I have a pretty good handle on what people should do when confronted with a crowded pool and they're forced to 'circle-swim' and deal with more than two individuals a lane.

So, cut to Sunday morning.  Generally it's crowded, and it's always a roll of the dice as to what you're going to encounter.  With all that said, I had the best experience at the pool yesterday that I've had in a long time (save for that one morning where there were so few of us that we all had our own lane).

I had a workout planned.  Not a huge amount of yardage, but 2,500+ yards to be done before life got in the way and errands had to be run.  I was sharing the lane with another individual (a solid swimmer I've seen before - gender will remain anonymous as it's irrelevant to the topic) and we were each taking a side of the lane.  The pool was quiet, and I thought we were in good shape.  However, as things inevitably turn out, the pool got busy.

At some point during the end of my second warm up set, another individual was at the edge of the deck asking if we could circle swim.  "No problem" I answered.  The person said they already got the attention of the other person in the lane, so I headed down the right hand side of the lane and prepared myself for the worst.   You know what I'm talking about: people have varying abilities, which is totally fine of course, but inevitably people are cutting laps short, or sprinting to pass others before the turn.  I figured it was going to be one of those days and was mentally thinking about my workout and how I could change things up to accommodate the situation.

Much to my surprise, it wasn't necessary.

Everyone in our lane understood circle swimming.  When one was doing a kicking set, they waited for people to do their turn before continuing on and holding people up.  If someone was on a rest interval, individuals would ask if " want to go?...." before they headed off into the next leg of their set.  People waited at least 10 seconds before pushing off behind you for their next repeat or interval. 

Bottom line:  It was a good pool day.  I've had days where the lifeguards have taken pity on a couple of us and let us swim in a lane normally designated for kids swim lessons when it's a madhouse in the lap swim lanes.  More to the point, almost every weekend swim at the gym is a trial in patience and perseverance.

I know, the pool snob is coming out in full force.  Sorry about that.  But I think anyone who spends some time at the local pool trying to get a workout in knows what I'm talking about.  Heck, there's even an article in the February Triathlete Magazine on the etiquette for lap swimming (p.46  Checking In section).

Today, was refreshing.  I was so pleasantly surprised at the awareness and courtesy of everyone in the pool today (at least in our lane) that it made the workout today go that much easier.