Last June I swam freestyle in a public pool alone for the first time. I was on the swim team in high school where I swam on the right side of the lane down, did a flip turn and swam on the right side back. We would have anywhere from 4-8 of us in one lane at a time but it worked because we were all around the same pace. This is also how a masters swim works. However, the public pool is a whole new terrain full of people with very different swimming paces and goals. The first time I got into a public pool I wasn’t even sure what to do. I figured out quickly that if you share a lane with someone, there are only allowed to be 2 people per lane and each person stays on their own side of the lane. I found that it is polite to ask someone if you can share their lane, especially if they are swimming down the center.
Now that I’m swimming on my own at the public pool quite frequently, I’ve come across quite a few “personalities.” During one particular swim (I was sharing a lane with Butterfly Bill from below), I came up with an idea for a blog that would name and describe all the swim styles of people I’ve swam with.
The Know it All – Gives you advice on your form without you asking . I.e. “Your hand isn’t following through all the way. You’re losing 60% of your power by not following through” (Yes, this happened to me).
Competitive Craig – Craig doesn’t like that you are a girl and can swim faster than him so he decides to work really hard to race you even though you aren’t racing him. Watch out for his girlfriend Competitive Carrie too.
Butterfly Bill –Bill takes over the whole lane and creates massive waves due to his insistence on doing fly stroke. Swimming with Butterfly Bill can be good practice for open water swims in choppy water. You may also want to watch out as you pass because you may get a hand to the face.
Flirtatious Fred – Fred checks you out as you do your workout and then pays you a compliment on your swim technique, followed by a request for advice. For example, “You look like you know what you are doing, do you know how to work these ear plugs!?” (Yes. this also happened to me).
The Drowning Frog – This is an elderly man or woman, typically quite petite or thin, that decides to slowly move back and forth down the lane doing a version of breast stroke where their feet nearly hit the bottom of the pool. Watch out for a swift kick to the side if you decide to swim near this person.
Manatee Marty – Sorry but I had to say it. This is the huge guy who has terrible swim form that slowly makes his way down the lane. Usually he takes massive gasps of air with his head completely out of the water and his lower body sinks as he swims. He usually won’t do flip turns or even put his feet down at the wall – he’ll just slowly rotate his body around at the end of the lane and make his way back. His form and speed resemble a near extinct sea mammal.
Down to Business Betty/Bill – This person usually comes with a laminated or covered workout and carries kickboards, pool buoys and the like with him or her. Look for a swim cap announcing participation in either a triathlon or masters swim event. If there’s a wait for a swim lane, don’t expect this person to finish their workout anytime soon to accommodate you.
Timid Terry- This is the person who waits until you are completely finished with your set (even if you are swimming on one side of the lane) to ask if they can share a lane. They will also thank you profusely for sharing your space with them. If you share a lane, they will try to avoid you at all costs.
Fin Frank – Typically male, this person wears fins in the pool and loves to race you, even though there is no way that you can keep up with them, despite their poor swim stroke.
Which swim personality (ies) are you? Which ones do you hate the most!? Do you have any to add?