15 Swimmer Stereotypes – Where Do You Fit In?

Olivier Poirier-Leroy is a former national level swimmer based out of Victoria, BC. In feeding his passion for swimming, he has developed YourSwimBook, a powerful log book and goal setting guide made specifically for swimmers. Sign up for the YourSwimBook newsletter (free) and get weekly motivational tips by clicking here.

We all have our own little idiosyncrasies as swimmers. Perhaps you will recognize some of the following characters from your own team and groups, and maybe you will see a striking resemblance to a way that you perform at the pool.

Here are 15 common swimming characters we find in our lanes on a day-to-day basis–

The Meet Swimmer. The crunch time performer, the athlete that stands up on the blocks at meets and swims times that do not correlate whatsoever with the times they perform in practice.

The Thrasher. The workhorse of the team, this swimmer proudly bears the mark of the all go, no quit athlete, even if it is a one arm drill set. While they pump out max effort on everything they do, for the Thrasher this doesn’t always correlate to maximum efficiency and speed in the water. Has a sometimes strained relationship with The Meet Swimmer as a result.

The Mental Gamer. Will talk about how out of shape they are, how crappy they feel in the water, just how awful of a day they had… and then proceed to smoke you for the entire set.

The Tahiti Break. Swimming behind this person is a nightmare due to the 8 foot swell that follows them in and out of the walls. Swimming beside them however, gives you a golden draft with which you can go for a nice leisurely surf on.

The Lane/Board Puller. Backstroke sets are a favorite for this swimmer, as they will take every opportunity they can to pull on the lane-rope. This swimmer will also often pull into the wall with five full strokes on kick sets.

Flipper. Often this person has chronic shoulder injuries that may or may not be acting up; regardless, they will find the first reason they can to strap on fins for the rest of the workout.

The Undisclosed Injury. This swimmer usually jumps out of the main set at some point, most often after someone has passed them. Cited reasons generally include injury, illness, or vital text message. Can usually be found enjoying a nice warm shower while the rest of the group finish the practice.

10 Second Tom. Forgets the set, interval, and/or when they left. Consistently seeks clarification on set specifics. “How many was that?” is a common refrain.

Sammy Save-Up. We all know this swimmer. Coasts along for 90% of the set or workout, quietly awaiting his or her turn to smash out a near personal best time on the least repeat, even while everyone knows precisely what he or she is doing.

Warm-Up Hustler. It’s hard to get mad at this swimmer. After all, it is difficult to get frustrated with someone who wants to swim hard and fast. It’s just, well, maybe they could swim that fast during the main set as well.

Wolverine. This swimmer has neglected cutting their finger and toe nails for far too long; giving swimmers next to them the occasional unwanted under-the-lane-rope surprise with those horrific claws.

The Nudist. This swimmer will let her swimsuit age far beyond the point of decay; to the point that it is see-through in some not so appropriate areas.

Butt-crack Bukowski. Time to pull that suit up, or perhaps it is time to get a new one. Either way, no one really wants to look at the top half of your butt-butt.

The Specialist. A swimmer who is an average swimmer, but is simply out of this world at kick or pull. While you may be able to out-swim them, they lap your butt up and down the pool in pull sets.

The Eager Beav’. Claim to fame is being the first person in the pool, or the first one to start a set, often times before the coach has finished explaining it.

Can you think of any other common swimmer stereotypes? List them in the comments below!

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  1. The Specialist, could out-pull the High School swimmers in 8th grade.

  2. liquidassets says:

    lol these are great. I was 10 Second Tom, The Nudist, and The Meet Swimmer. The nudist part was even easier to achieve during my FastSkin days since they wore out so quickly and I wasn’t about to spend a ton of money replacing a perfectly good suit just cause you could actually predict what my religion was if you looked in the right place….. And for the Meet Swimmer one, it’s not exactly what you think, I only surprised by teammates, and myself, by rising to mediocrity at meets instead of just my normal practice slowness. Classic underachiever.

  3. Jane del Greco says:

    “Can’t lead, follow, or stay the heck out of the way”. This the faster swimmer who can neither read a clock nor count- leading the lane is not an option. If they go second, the interval for push off is never enough and they ride up your tailpipe, metaphorically speaking. They must stop and take a goggle- adjusting break at the center of the lane at the wall, and then push off at the precise moment you are coming in. You know who you are…..and so does everyone else.

  4. Christina Noens says:

    “The butt-Rider” No matter if they leave 5 seconds, 10 seconds, or 5 minutes after you, there they are on your feet the entire set. If you ask them if they want to go in front of you, they have an excuse about why they need to go second.

    moderator says: THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

    • “The butt-Rider” No matter if they leave 5 seconds, 10 seconds, or 5 minutes after you, they are on your feet the entire main set. (“This is as fast as you can go”) If they ask if they can go in front of you, you always say no because you are busy talking to your friends in the middle of the set. Also “butt-rider” You lead the lane and run over the person in the back and get in trouble.

  5. The specialist says:

    There is a walk-on on our team that recently did a kick set of 4 rounds of 6x100s kick with a board on 1:25 1:20 1:15 and 1:10 by round, with 30 seconds rest between the 3rd and 4th rounds. He went 1:04 for all six but can only manage a 49 100 back, fully tapered. If only there were kick races…

  6. Evilwatersprite says:

    Back in the day: Specialist (strong kicker, decent puller). Not a thrasher but more practice swimmer than meet swimmer
    At age group/masters practices: 10-Second-Tom. You knew you were in trouble when the sets included parentheses AND brackets)
    These days (working out solo): Flipper

  7. Devan says:

    Specialist was SO me. I have a strong, endurance based upper body (obsessed with pushups at an early age) And I could hang with the state champions on pull sets

  8. Easing into it says:

    The swimmer who takes 10 minutes to get fully submerged.

  9. Oh, “Butt Riders” drive me crazy! :-D

    THE UGLY…the swimmer who has one horrifically bad stroke, appearing like he or she might drown when swimming it

    THE EDITOR…the master’s swimmer who edits every set just to her preference

    THE BOTTOM-DWELLER…the sprinter who hides on the bottom of the pool to avoid the hard sets

    • morrow3 says:

      LOL- Our sprinter climbed the drain pipe outside the gym and sat in the rafters. You would see him in warmup and then look around, notice he wasn’t there and see the footprints up the wall. Our coach never had a clue!

      • Olivier says:

        Haha! I knew a couple swimmers like this too — they would submerge under the bulkhead at the far end of the pool and hide in the kiddie pool during tough sets.

    • mcgillrocks says:

      I had an experience with “the ugly.” Great breaststroker but his fly was such that people would stop during warm up to watch him defy anatomy in an attempt to get his arms over

    • Kirk Nelson says:

      And for many of us that UGLY stroke goes by the name of breaststroke!

      • Rafael says:

        For many? For more than I´ve seen.. the Fly is the ulgy stroke… especially after the beginning of the “sprint holding form based on pure strenght but no tech”.. and I admit that I would be on that definition easily..

      • swimge says:

        Or Breaststroker trying a different stroke. For me it was backstroke, I belly danced and made weird grunting noises so not only was a fun* to watch I was fun to listen to if I was in a wall lane.

        *By fun I mean fun to watch if you’re a connoisseur of bad backstroke

      • Butterflier MC says:

        I’m a flier. I begged I coach to put me in the 500 free to get out of doing a 100 breaststroke. (I was already swimming fly that meet)

  10. Phil says:

    The One Trick Pony: Freestyle sprinters where anything other than a 50 or 100 and especially any other stroke is uninhabited foreign territory

  11. “The Stinker” The person that forgets to brush their teeth before heading out to morning practice subjecting everyone to their breath. Could also be the “Van Damme” cuz their breath is kickin.’

  12. Wondering says:

    The Wall Hugger: always hangs on the center wall at the end of the each set or during warmup, making it very difficult for others to do a decent flip turn.

  13. Peter says:

    The “Borrower,” or worse, the “Thief.” Never has all equipment needed, so has to borrow from someone else; usually doesn’t return it until asked weeks later…usually not in the same condition. The thief simply takes what is needed from other swimmers’ mesh bag, writes their name on it, and when confronted, said they got it from Swim Outlet!

  14. Leclave says:

    This is the best article I read on swimswam so far :D

  15. Bort says:

    Bathroom break guy. Right in the middle of warm up every morning, pops out of the pool and vanishes for 15 minutes only to reappear as warm up ends.

  16. 80's swimmer says:

    This is hilarious! You need one for the “Practice Swimmer”. Often a distance freestyler, this is the guy that swims his best time for 10×100 repeats, but in a meet – swims only 1 second faster, which can be attributed to the dive. Also known to swim his best time in everything 500+ in practice. Can’t match his 1650 practice time at a meet. Gets frustrated when those that swim way behind him in practice crush him in meets. Nonetheless, commands a certain respect from coaches and teammates for his hard work ethic and impressive practice performance.

    • CanaSwim says:

      Hahahahahaah Good God. Why is that not a category? Unfortunately, that describes me absolutely perfectly. Not such a great category to be in for meets unfortunately.

      We’d get torture sets like 4x800s descending 1-4 and almost everytime I’d get a best time… No joke. Even if it was at the end of a 9k workout.

  17. Peterdavis says:

    “I rush from the locker room to the pool because I’m embarrassingly out of shape” guy.

    Not to be confused with “I take my damn time oiling myself up and sauntering around the deck in flip flops and a thong, performing some obscene stretches, and possibly never getting in at all, despite being embarrassingly out of shape” guy.

    I’m one of the above, depending on if SoCo is on sale that week.

  18. Joel Lin says:

    Awesome article and terrific entertaining comments. My two cents from back in the day:

    THE GUTTER BALL – a sub-species of “meet swimmer”. The swimmer who always bee-lines to the end lane to slouch through workout furthest away from the coaches…a great place to hide if an evening of activities interfere with the faculties at morning workouts.

    THE BEAN WHISPERER – Always playing the bean game with a category five obsession. If you need to know who has the bean, this is your 24×7 guy.

    THE PERV – That guy who is always trying to leave right after and…errr…”draft” right behind the hottest girl in thr pool.

  19. Joel Lin says:


    THE DIG ME – the spandex wearing, race bike locked to the pool fence, watch that takes 84, 000 splits wearing and heavy swim equipment acessories mesh bag toting guy who does 15 minutes of look-at-me stretches and deck exercises before getting into the pool…and then can’t swim. Also known in some indigenous regions as a triathlete.

    • Scott Waterman says:

      YES! The “Dig Me” also sandwiches his workout with 15 minute monologues about his last race, how his bike and run are really his strengths, to whomever will listen. Willing listeners usually include a brand new masters swimmer (who is really an aspiring triathlete), who listens, dewey eyed, in awe, with goggles around his/her neck, and seam of cap running ear to ear, rather than fore- to back. Typically, budding triathlete newbie then proceeds to kick his ass.

    • evilwatersprite says:

      1. Please. No self-respecting cyclist would ever chain their carbon fiber bike to a fence. They wouldn’t even carry a lock on said bike.

      2. I didn’t actually think people still pulled their goggles down around their neck but I saw someone do it at the pool the other night.

      3. I want to yank the caps off of people wearing them sideways and then tell them to get out of the pool until they figure it out. One of these clowns stole my lane out from underneath me when I walked three feet away to fill my water bottles.

      4. Easiest way to spot the dig mes/newbie triathletes is during during a kick set. They’re the ones who don’t move.

  20. love2swim says:

    This is hilarious! Add the “Practice Swimmer”. Often a distance freestyler, this is the guy that swims his best time for 10×100 repeats, but in a meet – swims only 1 second faster, which can be attributed to the dive. Also known to swim his best time in everything 500+ in practice. Can’t match his 1650 practice time at a meet. Gets frustrated when those that swim way behind him in practice crush him in meets. Nonetheless, commands a certain respect from coaches and teammates for his hard work ethic and impressive practice performance.

    • Sean Justice says:

      Practice Swimmer is a sad one. Everyone on the team likes to pull for this swimmer because of how hard they work. Mostly they will let meets get to them and not relax. Sometimes, just sometimes, they relax at a meet and blow everyone away…..

  21. Mr.Quinn says:

    Water Polo Guy: Never shuts up about how much better polo is than swimming, yet is still at swim practice. Swims with a goofy freestyle recovery and hybrid egg beater/flutter kick. Hates every stroke except freestyle.

    Water Polo Girl: The only swimmer more annoying than Polo Guy due to the fact that there are only 7 good girls water polo teams in the world.

  22. Pete Loftus says:

    THE HAPPY PUPPY- that cheerful person that is always happy to be at practice and is always trying to keep things positive and encouraging to the point that you sometimes entertain the thought of physically harming them…especially during a tough and grueling workout.

  23. Sam Perry says:

    Sandbagger – the “I’m just not as fast as I used to be”, or “I’m so out of shape” right after they kick your arse just to make you feel even worse as they give you a beat down.

    Fin guy – always has to be in the fastest lane when he should be in lane 3 or 4 and wear fins, only to go second and swim on your tail the whole time.

    Paddle guy – can easily hold 1:05′s with paddles and a buoy and never takes them off because the are permanantly attached to his body. If they are surgically removed or pried off can barely hold 1:20′s probably because they actually have to swim now. Since they’re not allowed to wear paddles at meets, they rarely if ever compete.

    I don’t care what the group is doing guy – I’ll swim every day with the masters team, but I could care less what the workout is I am on my own agenda. I will take a lane with the team but you must try and figure out what I am doing because I won’t tell you and I expect you to swim around me and my agenda because I know better than the coach.

  24. Swimmer says:

    The banana eater (the snack-er): Gets out of the middle of a hard set for a healthy snack.. Thinking that Eating a banana will make them faster..

  25. love2swim says:

    Protein Shaker / Nutritionist – This is the one who drinks protein shakes before and after every practice to “build muscle” and brags about never eating an ounce of junk food. Sometimes takes form of a parent obsessed with the child’s nutrition. Eventually figures out that nutrition is just one piece of the successful swimmer and happiness is what matters most. :)

  26. Yonny says:

    THE FLUSHER – the one who can’t go through the full practice without taking a #2.

  27. Pete Loftus says:

    THE MELODRAMATIC SALMON- usually(but not always) a middle of the pack swimmer who is the first to throw themselves up on the deck after a set…arms up over their head, gasping for air.

  28. Catherine says:

    The Chit-chatters – They do their swim sets between conversations. As the workouts go on, the swim sets get shorter and the conversations get longer. This is only tolerated in masters swimming. My favorite workouts are ones where I’m a chit-chatter. Unfortunately, they’re rare.

  29. colette says:

    THE WOOLY MAMMOTH: the woman who always goes the longest without shaving their legs… yes longer than you… because they know that no one really cares and the team is used to it by now. famous line “I’m holding off until nationals”

  30. Emma says:

    THE FACE-SMACKER: the swimmer who always swims down the middle of the lane and/or has extremely long arms causing all swimmers passing them from the other direction to get smacked in the face on butterfly sets. (See also ARM AMPUTATER)

    THE RUBBER DUCKY: swimmers who upon being told to do a 1000 yd warm down by their coach instead proceed to float around the warm down pool like a rubber duck in a bath tub. Can also be found hiding in the jacuzzi.

    THE MAGICIAN: the swimmer who does absolutely nothing at practice and then proceeds to magically go insanely fast times at meets.

    THE ANGRY TODDLER: the swimmers who after an unsatisfying performance throw a toddler-sequel temper tantrum. This often includes storming off to the warm up pool, crying, whining, refusing supportive “good job”s from teammates, ripping of cap and goggles, and chucking boots, towel, etc at the bleachers. Usually the swim was actually good but they enjoy the attention.

  31. Emma says:


  32. Gage says:

    None of the above. I’m a Coelacanth . . . really old – thought to have been extinct.

  33. Grateful Ginger says:

    The Taperer (modification of the Meet Swimmer) – This swimmer performs mediocre throughout the season, but once taper times comes they usually drop insane amounts of time and usually steal a spot on the relay.

  34. I wonder... says:

    The Staller: Sits on the wall for half the set talking with the coach on something and just not wanting to go.

    The Head-size Changer: The one person whose head’s size always changes…they’re always adjusting their goggles

    The Annoying One- the person that sprints, skips, and repeats.

  35. beachmouse says:

    The Blind One- refuses to wear their contacts into the pool because they’ve lost too many of them in there despite religious use of goggles to cover them up, and consequently can be a bit iffy of turns since their ability to see the wall isn’t great. Has issues leading a lane because they literally cannot see the sweep hand on the pace clock, and always has to be told when to go. Does slightly better on kick sets with board because they can slip on their auxiliary pair of eyeglasses that they otherwise leave on the starting block.

  36. Reality Chix says:

    Mr. Porier-Leroy;
    This was great! Some of these should even have certain swimmers names included in the definition!!!

    I’m on board for your next article topic- The Swim Parent

    -The Drama Queen
    -The Helicopter
    -The Insane Cheerleader
    -The Know it All
    -Wrong Way Corrigan
    -The ” Late ” Mr. Smith
    -Ms. Helper
    -Ms. Never can Helper
    -The Life of the Party
    -Madam Photo Op
    -The Boyscout
    -The Centerfold Single Mom
    -Drunk.with.power Official
    -#Imsocool #Yourenot
    and last but not least…
    -The Coaches Best Friend

    Lol!! Go for it!!!

    • Olivier Poirier-Leroy says:

      Way ahead of you :)

    • OLD HILLTOPPER says:

      Add in the FAST PARENT CLUB. This is when the fast swimmers parents from each club hang out together at a meet. Membership only for elite swimmers parents.

      • ATTHEZOO says:

        Ah yes, I know these people, I remember the day my young daughter broke a .28 and this man flew down 10 bleacher steps just to push the other parent out of the way to tell me, “I’m in the club” ..no kidding, true story.

    • love2swim says:

      Great sequel idea! Add “PTA”-President-Of-Swim-Team-Mom.

  37. Hannah says:

    Think I was always ‘The Unsure One’ – Hates going first. Never ever ever wants to lead the lane, asks the person behind her after every length if they want to go in from of them. Hate being anywhere near the front of the lane, deliberately slowing down to allow other swimmers to overtake her.

    • Sarah says:

      Ahhhh totally me! But then people would get mad because they all knew I should be leading the lane not like 3rd but oh well

  38. Mary says:

    “The Boss”
    the swimmer that is just good at everything, she doesn’t complain, she doesn’t talk trash about anyone, and everyone likes her.
    I legit know a girl like this.

  39. canadianswimgirl says:

    THE PERPETUALLY INJURED- the one who constantly seems to have some sort of injury or excuse to not do full-stroke swim, usually miraculously heals by meet time.

  40. TJ says:

    That one guy that does one arm strokes during butterfly sets when he gets tired.

  41. Andy says:

    The Silverback – a gentleman over 60 with a the body of a 20 year old and the times to go with it.

    The Glory Days – can tell you their exact PR’s from state and recount every event from Senior year, but hasn’t done much since (note: they’re probably still coming back from an injury).

    The Raccoon – the coach who has clearly been wearing their sunglasses too long.

    The Boy (or Girl) Wonder – when you look at the meet records and find out a 13 year old smoked you again.

  42. Toby says:

    The “Impatient one”- the swimmer who never waits the full amounted time and leaves 6 seconds instead of 10 seconds after the person in front of them left. Annoys the heck out of me!

    • ollyoop says:

      Also known as the “Jump-the-Gunner”. These people always drive me nuts! It’s 10 seconds apart and there are only three people in the lane!!! Yeesh.

  43. Curio says:

    I am totally the Dryland Horror.
    Forget pull-ups. Forget even push-ups. This swimmer can barely even run properly. He/she
    does all the dryland exercises in double the effort of everyone else, but is still disastrous. Loves to be in the water.

  44. FREEEE says:

    The rock – The person who when dives in, takes so long to reach the surface and into stroke that they’re better off just pushing off from the wall.

    The wind up- The person that races others in main sets, however does it tactically by swimming in the slip stream and proceeding to sprint the last 10m just to beat the person the next lane across.

  45. swimem says:

    I was the “dry land horror” Couldn’t do three pull ups if you offered me money, but I could outwork anyone in a good distance free/IM set and love every second of it. Watching me run is scary. I was banned from the weight room :)

    Now I am a “paddle girl” You can pry them off my cold, dead hands.

  46. Laura says:

    Sometimes the ‘Sammy Save-Up’ or ‘The Meet Swimmer’, but normally ‘The Thrasher’ and ‘The Mental Gamer’ ;)

  47. Kari K says:

    How about the “Jan Brady” – never quite fast enough to garner any attention, but also not doing so bad that people cheer for you just to finish. Firmly in the middle where you’re just hidden in anonymity.

  48. Maximus Sozo says:

    THE SLACKER: This swimmer always finds a way to miss hard swimming no matter what whether its fixing goggles, prosperously loosing a fin or paddle, faking an injury or going to the bathroom.

  49. Polarswimmer says:

    How about “The Mustard Cloud”. We all (unfortunately) knew this guy… He would eat insane amounts of asparagus and pee in the lane just to see how yellow his cloud could get. Good way to get a lane to yourself.

  50. O says:

    #16 The Technophile – typically a triathlete who gets the latest go-fast gadgets so they can be like Mike (Phelps).

  51. CoachGB says:

    In the 11th comment a Jennifer Lane talks of the ugly swimmer looking like they will drown. What if that swimmer was a minute in 1500 faster then rest of country and was described as a bizarre stroke and coaches first saw him thought he looked like drowning in SI? I believe that swimmer may have enjoyed that description. Many swimmers have not followed the norm. That is the beauty of the sport and it’s variety it offers.

  52. Christian Anton says:

    The one hit wonder – The swimmer who is incredibly fast at 1 event but is mediocre in all others. (Not to be confused with the one trick pony, this is not limited to the 50/100 Free)

  53. Pamela Leila Rai says:

    The Goodie-Goodie or Coach’s Informer

    The one who always does every sit-up, never misses practice, arrives 1/2 hr. before practice, is in the water first, never misses a 50 in warm-up and ALWAYS knows what number in a set of 50 x 50 free the group is on. Coach relies on this swimmer to tell the truth in every situation despite the needs of the group in times of exhaustion. This swimmer usually lack s a sense of humour and needs to be the teacher’s pet. No U-turns, under the bulkhead, skipped repeats, longer rest. This swimmer NEVER does the handshake-pull during kick and always does the entire warm down!

    • Guilty As Charged says:

      This is me. On the flip side, who wants the coach mad at them because they’re always forgetting what number they’re on? Or, if your coach even watches you this hard, why get him/her mad at you from the beginning of practice on; just for skipping some 50′s in warm-up? I say this man is a hero!

    • How about calling the The Gift, since the swimmer you describe would be most any coach’s dream, isn’t doing anything wrong, and helps keep the group accountable? If the group “needs” something due to exhaustion, either the coach should know that on their own if they are good at what they do, or the swimmer you describe would include that in their feedback, since it would be the “truth”. That swimmer should be lauded, not ridiculed or belittled by the names you suggest.

    • So Very Opinionated says:

      Considering the derogatory nickname you give them, you probably haven’t figured out that they are also the hardest-working, on-the-road-to excellence, superior athlete. I used to love when my coach would put one of those slackers in my lane so I could repeatedly run their mediocre, lazy butts over.

      In high school I was on a team that took 18-20 of our 40 athletes to Nationals because what you are describing was the expectation on our team, not something to be derided. Excellence comes from such behavior. Mediocrity and wussiness comes from your attitude.

    • So Very Opinionated says:

      By “those slackers” I mean the people with the “snitch” mindset.

  54. evilwatersprite says:

    You guys need to do a sequel of this about the people you see during open swim.

    Then again, some folks are impossible to classify: there’s a lady at my gym who wears gardening gloves — but not goggles (in an attempt not to have to share a lane) — and launches herself off each wall, catapult style, with both arms behind her. Someday, I will get up the nerve to ask, “Why do you do this?”

    • beachmouse says:

      You can get a lot of source material for that one from Slowtwitch’s infamous ‘Strange Denizens of the Pool’ thread. That discussion taught me that once men hit about age 65, they develop this strange habit of using the locker room hand dryer to dry off and warm their groin area.

      • evilwatersprite says:

        It’s funny, I made fun of the groin-dryers for so long and then my own doctor recommended doing that with a hair dryer because it’s a good way of preventing rashes and whatnot. At home, maybe. But I can’t do that in a locker room!

  55. Jory says:

    THE RAINMAN – typically the guy in the lane to your right, he somehow manages to stay several feet in front of you all while kicking extremely too high causing it to rain down upon your head. Have a great 3 rounds of 6x100s.

  56. Dave DeMarais says:

    The Eager Beav’ Being the team Capt. at college for three years I always stood on the block and in the water first figuring that Coach Tony would pull me out and make me round up the freshman for morning practice which would take at least 45 min in zero degree temperature.

  57. The Dark Horse – This is the AG swimmer who does it all right – great attendance, hard work, awesome attitude, diligent technique – but is a late developer physically. They’re the one who doesn’t win, but you sit around waiting for them to hit that growth spurt and blow past everyone else.

    Stretch – the swimmer who is so darned tall that they are halfway across the pool by the time their feet are off the wall, and their arms are so long it looks like they only need to take about 3 strokes to get to the other side.

    The Librarian – this is the swimmer who is quiet, sweet, and very unassuming at practice, but at the meet, they are a whole different personality, filled with competitive spirit and fire.

    The Math Magician – the swimmer who finds a way to change the rules of basic math. They can start a set late, yet finish with the others while swearing they did the entire set, they can find a way to do all 10 100′s on a 1:15 in 10 minutes, and they can do a 500 cool down in 4 minutes… breaststroke.

    The Alpha Dog – the swimmer who HAS to be first in the lane, even when everyone else is getting jammed up behind them during every set.

    The Expert – this is the swimmer who has feedback to offer everyone else in the pool about their strokes, while being completely closed off to feedback on their own stroke from anyone, including their coach

    The Statistician – the swimmer who knows everyone’s times in every event from every meet, EVER! They’ll be the ones who know their 25 splits by memory from a 1650, or they can tell you the times for everyone in their AG for their events, or the best times for everyone on their team, or perhaps they’ll just be the one who can give you every time and every split for every swimmer last week’s Grand Prix Meet.

    The Surrogate – this is actually a heartbreaker for a coach. The kid who clearly doesn’t want to be swimming, but mom or dad are living out their desires through the kid and so they won’t allow the kid to quit.

  58. Burgs says:

    The Taperer- the one who sucks in practice and in meets throughout the season, but when taper hits, they through down fast times, often coming from a slow heat.

  59. English Coach says:

    The Hussy: The female that rocks out on deck with her costume wedged so far up her butt crack that its unlikely that it will ever be seen again, and spends most of the session asking her team mates if her make-up is running.

  60. Cassie says:

    The cheater

    The one who, even though you passed him twice during a set, will still finish at the same time than you.

  61. PAQ Coach says:

    I laughed all day on this, especially reading the comments….Will definitely be sharing this with my team – we pretty much have one of EACH stereotype!

  62. CoachMark76 says:

    The Naturalist – can not use ANY piece of equipment, ever. Can be routinely seen at the other end of the pool cursing up a storm while trying to get his snorkel to fit, and then cursing even more when the set is over once the snorkel is just right.
    The Saboteur – mastermind of set parameters, can quietly subvert the group into decoding a way to make the set shorter without the coach being able to tell.
    The Suggester (aka Sug-jester) – always very vocal about what kind of set should come next. Frequently has a Rolodex of games and gimmicks on hand for the offering.
    Self-fulfilling Prophet – “I’m not going to making this interval,” “I’ll never go that time,” “I’m totally going to die on this next rep.” This person is right an uncanny 100% of the time.
    The Swindler – only swims well when there is an extrinsic reward attached…will swim fast for food and get out swims.
    Chuck Norris – always has some kind disgusting bruise, infected toenail, or poorly healing cut. So tough that he always swims through it, like nothing is wrong, but still so distracting to everyone in the lane,

  63. pip says:

    Hockey swimmer – Later in life realized he wished he played hockey instead of swimming.

  64. "THE MASTER" says:

    The proper masters swimmer (80+) who collars you just before your main event at a meet, proceeds to tell you all about his race and how he could have “tumbled” better. Has absolutely no interest in you, your swim or even what your name is.

  65. Heather says:

    I seem to go along with every little thing that is posted
    throughout “15 Swimmer Stereotypes – Where Do You Fit In?

    ”. Many thanks for all the actual information.Many thanks-Lin

  66. Bucear_Chica says:

    What about diver stereotypes?

  67. Peter says:

    The “Goodwill Store.” Masters swimmer that attends every meet they can and purchases a commemorative T-shirt, regardless if they actually swam. Can be seen around town and on deck with the same 2008 USMS Nationals shirt they got…while watching the spouse swim!

  68. jon says:

    The High Jumper – the person who can’t get in the pool without sprinting halfway across the deck to jump as high as possible to get in for warm ups – the ultimate goal is to touch the flags while in the air.

    • jon says:

      also -

      The Toilet – will urinate and spit snot balls in the lane and thinks its OK and no one cares

      The Archbishop – takes an act of God for this person to get in the pool without missing atleast the first 300 yds of warmup because they have to readjust their goggles, tie their suit, etc

  69. Shelbie says:

    “Stretch Armstrong”- The swimmer that can usually be found in the middle of a set up against the wall stretching out some cramped up and tight muscle. I.E. typically the arms and shoulders, performing some sort of a contortionist act to loosen some stubborn muscle. This will be performed multiple times until the swimmer feels that they are loose enough, and have wasted a sufficient amount of time.

  70. Steve Ware says:

    racing the open swimers… do it all the time. I race swimmers who don’t know I’m racing them.

    Yes, I love to do this. I can’t even help myself not too. I always win… nice!!!

    Of course if they really knew I was racing them… maybe a different story. But I think a

    lot of open swimmers do this… I’m I the only one?

  71. Jen says:

    THE OPEN WATER ALL THE TIME: the open water specialist who views every pool situation, including but not limited to passing other swimmers, as practice for open water racing. Does not mind when lane lines are not present, finds reasons to incorporate sighting into pool swimming, and frequently finds herself in trouble for having overtaken the other swimmer in such a rude manner!

  72. Bob says:

    The Roadblock:
    No matter how many times you touch their feet, they won’t let you pass them.

  73. Mag says:

    the water pee-pee-ter: The one who can’t stop his habit to pee in the water at every single practice and wont stop talking about it

  74. Adam Sedore says:

    The Richie: Always purchases the most latest/expensive go-fast gadgets thinking it’ll make them the new Michael Phelps

  75. Carmela says:

    So funny! Great article and postings!

  76. Fred says:

    This is so true , it’s crazy how you can identify the stereotypes with most of the swimmer in a given swimming team. You also have :

    Lay back swimmer- He or she doesn’t seem to do much at pratice or even ever but somehow manage to have one the best time on the team even at 6:00 a.m after a night of drinking.

  77. biggieswimmer says:

    The silent devil: that swimmer that never gets support at the end of their lane in a race but always shocks the coach even when the other good swimmer has shown off about it

  78. biggieswimmer says:

    The faker: That annoying swimmer that never leaves 5 second after and goes max when its steady even in 800m and always ends up getting overtaken and after getting overtaken doesn’t leave 2 seconds so gets in the way again and when done goes to the toilet to get out of 25x75m

  79. Paul Hulseman says:

    The Alan – always late for practice even though he lives closest to the pool.

    The Chameleon – No idea how fast he can really go, but he will follow and keep pace with anybody.

    The Prima Donna – will not be beaten, even if it kills him. Definitely living in the past.

    Sybil – so many personalities. You never know which one will show up.

    The F-Bomber – can not get through practice without dropping some bad words.

  80. Oxbro says:

    I am the meet swimmer, i go a 53 for 100 free i competition but it is a rare sight to see me go under a 1:10 in training.

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About Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy is a former National level swimmer from the beautiful West Coast of British Columbia. In feeding his passion for swimming, he has developed YourSwimBook.com: a comprehensive tool that designed for swimmers to track and analyze their results. Read More »