I want to talk about pool etiquette.
I’ve only been swimming a handful of times since in the past month or so but already I’m getting upset with people who don’t follow pool etiquette; or at least pool etiquette as far as well I’m concerned. There are certain good behaviours and bad behaviours that should be obvious to all pool users.
The lap swimming lanes are not spacious. There are multiple people using the lanes, swimming up and down. I respect you’re there to swim like I am but you could be a little bit more considerate to other people in the lane. (And yes I mean you, man who smacked me in the head when you swam past me yesterday, without any kind of pause to say sorry or acknowledge that you potentially injured me.)
Poor swimming technique – really people, learn to swim correctly. I was taught that the majority of your effort should be below the waterline to drive you forward, and any splashing means you’re devoting your energy to splashing not motion. It seems to be man thing, that by making a lot of noise and splash people will think they are great swimmers. Top tip: no. What all that splashing looks like to outsiders is some kind of controlled drowning. I will swim past you in my speedier no splash method and make you feel sad.
Yes, we are there to swim laps and exercise. Yes, sometimes you need to take a break at the end of swimming a lap. But if I have had time to swim two or four laps and you haven’t moved from the end, you’re probably not making best use of your time at the pool. You’re not going to move unless you move. So move!
Sometimes the pool has to be shared between “Swim for all” and lap swimmers. Swim for all means disorganised splashing about: canoodling against the pool edge for some couples, games with inflatable beach balls for families with children. If I’m in the swimming pool section an inflatable beach ball comes bouncing in front of me it interrupts my flow and is very annoying. If this is your ball, to start with, don’t try and hit it into the lap swim part of the pool. And if you do, be sensible about trying to retrieve it. Don’t just go splashing in there and smacking into the people swimming laps because that will piss them off. (It pisses me off.)
And if you know someone who is in the swim for all section and you see that inflatable ball bounce into the lap swimming section and decide to go from retrieve it and give it back to them, the do that and get out. Don’t decide to stand in the lap lane watching your friends in swim for all, thereby blocking the lap lane for lap swimmers.
And you canoodling couples – is this really the best place you can think of to come and canoodle? In a public pool with all those children playing inflatable beach ball games? Eugh.
If you’re not interested in swimming laps and just want to have a general splash about and chat with your mates, that’s fine, I’m happy for you. But do it in the swim for all section, not in the fast lane of the lap swimming section. Yes, you two guys who weren’t so much swimming as just hanging out and ruining the fast lane for any potential fast lane swimmers who would have had to swim around you.
One thing I’ve noticed from the few times I’ve been so far is how quickly I seem to be gaining strength and fitness. I’m now at the point where I can easily get to 50 laps within an hour. Sometimes the laps are done and I don’t even notice I’ve done them. Initially I was taking three or four strokes per inhale but yesterday I was underwater for up to six breaths before I needed to breathe in. I’m hypnotised, watching the patterns of light in the water. I’m in a complete state of flow, moving and breathing and counting. Yesterday I was feeling particularly pleased with myself. Yesterday I was on track for 60 laps got cramp around lap 53.
Cramp is something new I haven’t had from swimming before and it’s a completely humbling experience. I was halfway through a lap when an awful pain gripped my calf muscle. It was excruciating. It literally took my breath away and I was stuck halfway down the pool, gripping the lane marker with one arm, flapping my other arm about to stay afloat and trying to stretch my leg to ease out the cramp BUT IT JUST GETS WORSE. I wonder if a lifeguard can see me, if she’s looking at the pool or looking at her phone. I wonder if I’ll make it to the end of the pool or if I can’t ease this cramp will I be stuck here, will I drown?
Of course I made it to the end of the pool, this was just cramp, not a heart attack. But of course this end was the far end of the pool, away from the change rooms.
I pause there for a few minutes to try and stretch my painful leg cramp. It hurts so bad, it hurts even more to stretch it. When it eases enough that I feel able to breathe a little easier, I make a very slow, very careful swim to the change room end of the pool, dragging my cramped leg behind me, moving it as little as possible.
I manage to get out of the pool, get showered and changed, and walk home, the pain in my leg eased but also still there. It’s still there today.
In other news:
I may have lost two of my patio fruit trees. I should have put them in the shade when it got hot, but who was expecting this heat to go on for so long? I feel like such a failure whenever a plant in my care dies. Husband tries to tell me, “They’re not really dead.” Hmm. There are no leaves of any kind left alive on these trees. I think they are dead.
I have now brought home all my shoes from the office in preparation for the office move to new premises. But where the heck am I going to store all these shoes? I’ve stuffed them in storage boxes but Husband has noticed there are so many boxes full of shoes he has never seen before under the bed.
We have all visas needed for our trip to Kenya / Tanzania. It’s a matter of days until we go. We tried to pack on the weekend but it’s a tough call to pack hot and cold weather safari clothes, city clothes and beach clothes in a backpack where most of the room is taken up with a sleeping bag.
Wishing you all a cramp-free week!