Yesterday, I went for my first swim back home. While I did swim on vacation, my last swim was almost a week ago. Normally, when I've been away from the pool for a week, I come back feeling clumsy and awkward. It takes a couple times before I get my rhythm back.
This time, I felt great. Almost immediately, I felt like I was in my groove. Gliding along down the lane. Initially, I was alone in my lane, but I knew it wouldn't stay that way. I don't begrudge sharing the lane either; there's been plenty of times I've joined in with other people and I know that there is limited pool time and space.
It doesn't even annoy me if people are slower. (Okay, it doesn't annoy me too much. You should try to join a lane where people are going similar speeds whenever possible.) What does annoy me is when people ignore, or are oblivious to lane etiquette.
This was the case last night with *Bambi* (yes, just made up her name). When I pushed off the far wall, I saw her standing at the end of my lane, so I made sure to stay on the right, so she could start swimming if she wanted to. I got across the pool and shortly before hitting the wall, I saw her at the end of the pool. She pushed off just before I got there.
I grabbed a drink and took a minute to watch her swim. I like to know how the other people in my lane are swimming, so that I know whether to be aware of them needed to pass me or vice versa.
She was doing front crawl with her head out of the water. Maybe she's a water polo player? Maybe she doesn't want to get her hair wet? Maybe she just doesn't like putting her face in the water?
Regardless, I'll give her a bit of credit. For swimming front crawl with her head out of the water, she was going at an okay speed. I'd barely move if I tried to do that. Still, you mess with your entire hydrodynamic position when you swim like that. I was definitely faster then her so I knew I'd have to pass sometimes.
I'd let her get ahead of me, so things were fine for a couple lengths of the pool. Then I was swimming towards the wall and when I glanced forward, I could see her waiting at the wall. Great, I thought: she'll let me pass her there. Right before I touched the wall, she pushed off. I pushed off right behind her, and caught up to her immediately. At least there were only two of us in the lane though, so it wasn't a big deal to move over and pass her. (We were circle swimming, rather then splitting the lane. The pool almost always ends up with 3+ people on weeknights, so it just makes sense to stick with circle swimming.)
Annoying, I thought. But, now I'm right in front of her. At least I won't have to pass her again for a bit.
I did two more laps of the pool, and once again, when I glanced forward to the wall, I saw her just waiting. Once again, she waited till I was about to touch the wall, then pushed off right before I got there.
Okay, not so cool. But, still with only two of us in the lane, I passed easily.
Then somebody else joined the lane. Slightly faster swimmer then me, but not by so much to make us incompatible lane partners.
Once again, I swam to the end of the pool for Bambi to kick off the wall right before I got there. This time, it was a pain. I was actually trying to time myself on a 50 metre sprint, and instead, I had to hang out and swim slowly behind Bambi until the third person in our lane passed in the other direction.
I started considering whether I should say something. Usually I just vent on my blog or write letters into cyber space, such as this one. However, it was reaching the point where she was really interfering with my workout.
Then she did again. Then a fifth time. (This was within about 20 minutes).
Finally, I reached the end of the pool when she was taking a longer break. I started off by saying that I wasn't trying to be confrontational, but she really needed to be aware of other people in the lane. If she is swimming slower (which is fine), she needs to let other people pass at the wall, not start immediately in front of them.
Now, I thought I was being as nice as possible, and I even apologized a couple times for bringing it up. She was pretty defensive though, and when I started swimming again, she left the lane. I hope she was planning on leaving anyways, and it wasn't because of what I said. Having said that, I can't deny the relief I felt at not having the constant interruptions.
So, what do you think? Should I have kept my mouth shut? Or was I within my rights to say something?