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.
One of my favorite parts of swimming late into July and August was that our lanes tended to thin out. Kids would go with their parents on vacation, go to camps, or simply take the summer off. The result would be 1-2 swimmers per lane, which after a season of packed lanes was unreal. (“You mean we can leave twenty seconds apart?”)
But with September being here, and a fresh season afoot, it’s all hands on deck with full groups and full lanes. Which brings with it lots of incidental hand slapping from across the black line, the occasional tickle fight (I’ll explain), and some Grand Theft Swim Gear.
So here are 8 little points of etiquette to remember as we jump back into a new season–
1. THE BLACK LINE ZOMBIE.
Swimming is an anti-social sport in some regards; we spend hours on end swimming back and forth, lost in our thoughts, often too out of breath between sets and repeats to spend any remaining air on conversation.
During our unending march up and down the pool, it’s easy to get hypnotized by that tiled, black line that is often the only thing that stares us back in the face for the duration of our workout. Just remember to not to fall for its tractor beam and swim up-and-down directly above it, lest you slap a couple teammates with your meat-paddles.
2. I’M NOT TICKLISH, SO THIS ISN’T FUNNY.
Okay, I kind of lied. I am ticklish. But just a little. And certainly not in my toes to foot area. Which makes it all the more infuriating when the swimmer behind me – instead of passing – stays tucked in behind me, enjoying a free draft while also trying to instigate a tickle fight.
Not interested, sir.
3. DON’T MAKE PEE ANNOUNCEMENTS.
Look, you and I both know that everyone pees in the pool. It’s not a secret. And while outsiders – rather understandably I would think – imagine we are an insane lot by admitting to the fact that we swim around in pools that we freshly peed in, let’s all just play the deny-deny-deny card on this one.
There are things we don’t ever need to think about. Our parents, doing, you know. Where hot dogs come from. And swimming around in freshly-peed in water.
4. STOP PULLING ON MY LANE ROPE.
Because when you do, it means that I cannot. (Just kidding! Well, sort of…)
5. TURN AT THE MIDDLE, OR LEFT CORNER OF YOUR LANE.
Just like driving, or walking, or life in the general, observing the rules of the road always makes things go a lot smoother for everyone involved. Less head-on collisions, and fewer fist-waggings.
Circle swimming, although short of traffic fines and reflective signage, has its own set of peculiar customs. Swimming in a circle, for one. Which means not swimming in a rectangle, or worse, a rhombus.
Remember to angle towards that big, black T when swimming into the wall so that the toe-tickler behind you has room to swim into their turn as well.
6. YOU’RE TIRED? THAT’S GREAT. MOVE OVER.
You’re bushed. I get it. Swimming is rough stuff. But if you’re gonna sit out a repeat to stretch out a cramped muscle, adjust your goggles, or reread the set, please move your posterior to the far depths of the corner of the lane so that your lanemates can turn unobstructed.
7. WHAT’S THAT? YOU’RE GOING SLOWER THAN ME? PLEASE, FEEL FREE TO PUSH OFF RIGHT BEFORE I TURN.
This is most common during meet warm-ups. You’ll be building up to a good boil, cruising into the wall to do a fantastic, race-speed flip-turn, only to have another swimmer watch you intently swim towards him or her, and then decide to push off right before you turn.
You’re not even halfway through your breakout when you submerge below said swimmer, who looks at you with an expression that can only possibly read: “Derp.”
8. GRAND THEFT KICKBOARD.
Equipment tug-of-wars are never funny – unless you’re not involved. At that point it’s kind of funny. Watching two teammates yank a kickboard back and forth, when the easier solution would be to jump out and get a new one, is an absurd show of pride.
How do you insure that your teammates don’t snipe your stuff when you’re not looking or still swimming? Build a pyramid of your gear at the end of your lane, and if that fails, just make sure you get your hand on the wall first.
I know there are more swimming no-no’s that I missed. Can you think of any? List them in the comments below.
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