Do you know what a “pool jerk” is? No, it’s not the float you put between your legs to focus on your swim stroke, that’s a pull buoy. Stand on the deck of any community centre pool during lane swim and you will easily spot them. The guy doing fly down the middle of the lane disregarding that others are sharing the lane with him is one. Or the oblivious person who turns at the wall in front of everyone and proceeds to perform a very slow back crawl. Or the variable pace swimmer who turns on the gas for the first 5 meters, continues to slow for the next 20 only to turn at the wall and swim another unpredictable speed or a different stroke. The water runner in the fast lane…the examples are many!
On a good day when I am not feeling pressured to get in and get it done, these characters can become great training tools for triathlon. I can practice drafting, dodging, and swimming at different speeds to either stay in front of the variable pace swimmer or catch up and pass the “this is my private pool” swimmer a half length ahead of me. On a time crunched day I have bailed after fighting for 200m and gone for a run instead.
It is good to see our community centres being used by so many in the quest for health and an active lifestyle; however, there is an etiquette to using the swim lanes. Like we learned in kindergarten: share, be kind, and follow the rules. If that isn’t happening in your swim lane, go with it, find a way to enjoy it and use it to your advantage to become stronger. Hammer on!