Courtesy: Levente Toth
It has been many years since I last studied any Latin, but a tongue-in-cheek (and most certainly far from absolutely correct Latin) classification of certain strange species one can find in swimming pools, during open/public and lane swimming sessions, is below.
The list is probably far from complete…
Firmum Seminiverbius (stable talker)
Members of this species can be found standing at the shallow end(s), deeply immersed in lengthy chats with other members of the same species. In both public and lane swimming sessions, they give murderous looks to swimmers whilst making it impossible for them to do turns of any kind. Theories abound on whether they are merely attracted to the humid environment, the chemicals in the water, or they are just passive aggressive species who keep energy expenditure to a minimum – most of the latter being taken up by the constant vocal output.
Ignarus Faustum (ignorant bliss)
Members of this species exhibit, from anthropocentric viewpoint, a facial expression of a deep state of bliss – whilst they are doing very slow breaststroke, or some imitation of it, in the fast lanes during lane swimming sessions.No matter how many swimmers overtake them and how many times, they always continue their activity with an unchanged blissful expression on their faces. This usually happens in pools supervised by another species, the Altum Inanis Oculi, which chooses not to notice the chaos ensuing in those lanes.
Inscitus Inscius (stupid ignorant)
They are an elusive species, but they can be seen during very busy public swim sessions in smaller pools. They choose to swim backstroke in the middle, never at the edges, of the busy pool.In order to produce maximum possible chaos, even in pools that have straight parallel lines or structures visible on the ceiling that they could use as reference, they perform backstroke either with a random wavy trajectory or at a random angle.The expression on their faces, when collisions occur, is something that is still being attempted to be classified by behavioural experts. One key trait is clear, though: members of these species, when accidentally hit, are the first to complain to representatives of the Altum Inanis Oculi species.
Centro Universum (centre of the universe)
Members of this species are a fascinating sight for both cognitive and behavioural scientists. They can be swimming breaststroke, with their head above the water, both eyes facing forward – but, in public swimming sessions, they can still swim in random directions and cross the path of freestyle swimmers, who are approaching in a perfectly straight line for the Nth time, perfectly above the same clear lane marking.They can be observed even jumping in front of such swimmers. If any collisions occur, they are the first to run to members of the species Altum Inanis Oculi in order to complain.Scientists are still debating whether the behaviour is due to some egocentric trait or terminal stupidity – or an unbalanced combination of both.
Superbus Immobilis (proud unmovable)
Close relative of the species Firmum Seminiverbius. Some evolutionary theories postulate that they are essentially the same species, but this particular one optimised out the energy spent on vocal output.Their behaviour is exactly the same, with the one key difference of blocking the ends of the lanes without chatting. Some sightings have been reported of them moving occasionally, but vast amounts of time are spent in immobile clusters at the shallow end(s) of the pool.It remains a mystery for the zoologists whether this species has visual sensing abilities and higher brain functions completely deactivated by water – but their behaviour suggests that this may be a valid hypothesis.
Respersio Magnificus (magnificent splasher)
Members of this species are fascinating to observe. The amount of water that they can dislocate and splash at others, together with the radius of splashing, is inversely proportional with the speed that they propel themselves with on the surface of the pool.The most quasi-stationary representatives of this species can produce magnificent waves and artesian fountain-like eruptions of water in whichever part of the pool they are attempting movement in. One of the most fascinating aspects is that, in a still inexplicable manner, they never appear in the vicinity of members of the Protector Capillitae species.
Altum Inanis Oculi (high-positioned blind eyes)
A rather authoritative and imposing species. Not to be confused with the highly competent variants, who have learnt that watching the pool from a high chair means not just watching out for swimmers to save from danger, but also the enforcement of common sense in the pool.Members of this species have all the behavioural traits and appearance of the commendable and competent variants, but they completely lack any common sense and observational skills. Even if some exceptionally brainless species’ representatives are jumping on swimmers, or members of Inscitus Inscius cause chaos and multiple collisions, the most representative members of Altum Inanis Oculi remain completely oblivious to the impossibly rude or even downright dangerous situations caused in the pool.
Contrarium Direction (opposite direction)
A species that, according to some debatable neurophysiological theories, has its visual cortex wired such that it inverts the spatial information provided by their eyes.Members of this species are known to swim in the exact opposite direction compared to any number of signs that point out the clockwise or counter-clockwise swimming direction for the respective lane.The presence of human swimmers in any number, who are all swimming in the right direction, does not affect this species’ behavior at all – and gets visibly irate when several swimmers try to avoid collision with them.
Confusus Calcitro (chaotic kicker)
Members of this species are among the more mobile aquatic organisms, however they propel themselves in a highly chaotic manner. Even in the case of freestyle swimming, they are known to be able to wobble so much at such random angles, that they kick others in nearby lanes. Even a double lane is often insufficient to accommodate their style of movement, and in single lanes nobody can escape being kicked or hit by their various limbs. Invariably, they have the impression, and they often convey this to others, that others should be more mindful.
Protector Capillitiae (hairdo protector)
Members of this species are highly economical. They avoid purchasing waterproof hair protection equipment.However, since they have spent many orders of magnitude more on the coiffure that identifies members of this species even when viewed from a great distance, they become extremely irritated and vocal if other swimmers produce any waves or make any droplets of water fly in the direction of their precious hairdo.
Tardissimus Celer (slowest speedy)
They are harder to recognise on land, due to the vast amount of extremely varied accessories that alter their appearance. Low-profile swimming goggles, the most technologically advanced hydrodynamic textiles, several hydration bottles with different liquids of different colours, countless paddles and kickboards are accompanying members of this species. Once they find themselves in the water, their speed and high-intensity workout-oriented accessories are reduced to decorative items, and, due to their intolerably slow speed, very long breaks, and spectacular splashing in every direction, they can be mistaken for a cross between the species Superbus Immobilis and Respersio Magnificus.
Inscribitur Parente (entitled parent)
It is a rather generic term for a not yet fully defined species. Difficulty in classification arises from the fact that they can overlap with many species listed above, and some scientists assert that it is a merely behavioural label. The key trait of members of this species is that their offspring can unleash any cataclysmic inferno in the pool, but they will still vehemently jump to the offspring’s defense. One characteristic manifestation is, for example, offspring almost breaking spinal columns of human swimmers by jumping on them at random and unpredictable manner – but Inscribitur Parente will justify this by, for example, stating that it is the offspring’s birthday on that day.
Levente Toth was born in Transylvania, Romania. Due to a stubborn childhood asthma, picked up non-competitive swimming as main form of exercise. After his relocation to the UK for postgraduate studies in 1995, pursued a career in research & development – but his non-aquatic passions also led to him becoming a published photographer and electronic music composer.