Swim Snobbery

I swim in my community recreation center pool.  I’m not a morning person usually, so I more often than not don’t make it to the masters session which starts at 5:30am.  Normally, I swim in the early evening.

This can be both good and bad.

You see, our youth swim team practices at the same time…and it’s a big team.  It’s not uncommon for 7 of the 8 lanes in our pool to be full of 8-10 (if not more) swimmers each.  Practice runs every day from 3:30 or so until the pool closes at 8 (different age groups practice at different times).

I actually kind of like swimming with the swim team.  I hate to admit it, but for some reason they push me.  Especially if my son is at practice. 

Yet as the seasons changed and Florida moved into spring and now summer – more and more “casual” lap swimmers have started coming to the pool.  And this is when I don’t like swimming with the swim team.  Only one lane is a dedicated “lap lane”.

Recently, that lap lane has been crowded.  Actually, very crowded.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t mind it when there are people there that can swim.  I don’t even get agitated by slow swimmers – because, let’s face it, I’m one of them.  In the last two weeks, though, there have been three incidents where I’ve been more than a little frustrated.  And that’s made me angry.

First there was the aqua-aerobics lady.  There wasn’t a class going on…she just decided to do her own thing.  So she did.  Water jogging.  Water dumbbells.  The funky chicken.  Up & back.  Non-stop for an hour.  While there were three of us trying to swim laps around her.  Now she could have gone in the “family” pool…but no…she hung out right in our lap lane.

Then there was the little girl who hopped in and attempted to swim laps.  She performed a cross between a dog paddle and the drowning man.  She was all over the lane – side to side, on the surface and under water.  She punched me.  She kicked me.  She ran head-first into another swimmer.  We implored the lifeguard to take her out of the lane, without success.  “At least she’s trying,” he said.

And finally, on Tuesday night I sat on the side of the pool and watched two guys flail back and forth down the lane for 20 minutes.  All the while, I was wondering when they were going to hurt themselves.  Moreover, when the heck were they going to get out of my lane so I could do my triathlon swim.

So here’s the thing.  I’m angry – but not really at the other swimmers.  Not at the swim team for taking up all the lanes.  Not even at the lifeguard for not throwing out the little girl.  I’m mad at myself.

I’ve become a swim snob.  I found myself looking down my nose at people who, for whatever reason, decided to swim laps.  Maybe they had just learned how to swim.  Perhaps they were aspiring triathletes.  Maybe they were recovering from some injury.  Regardless, I judged them because they couldn’t swim up to my standards.

The really funny thing about that is that my standards are pretty piss poor.  It’s not like I’m going to go out and beat Michael Phelps.  I don’t belong in the same pool with a real swimmer.

I wonder what caused me to do that?  I should be ashamed, really.  Perhaps I need an intervention.  Or perhaps I need someone 100 times a better swimmer than I to give me a proverbial kick in the rear.


2 thoughts on “Swim Snobbery

  1. I sometimes do the same thing and I have to really remind myself that the pool is for everyone and that they are at least trying. It does not help so I go to confession and do my requisite Hail Marys and then feel better!

  2. TM, i don’t really think it’s snobbery on your part. when i started my triathlon journey 5-6 years ago i couldn’t swim (at all). the last thing i was going to do, though, was get in the way of people who could actually swim. i recognized my lack of ability and worked hard to improve. that included talking to the “real” swimmers, studying, and practicing. I continue to make a focused effort, however, to not interfere with people who know what they’re doing or people who are just starting out. the same is true for biking, running, lifting weights, or any of activity. personally, i think there are far too many people with a sense of entitlement. i don’t care if you’re michael phelps or someone just trying to drown-proof yourself, it’s a privilidge that we are physically able to get out and exercise. it would be nice if there was some way for everyone to act that way.

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