I could make this more rational, and call it a blog. It would still be a rant though..

Swimming is often seen as a stress busting exercise. This might be the case, if it were not for the etiquette-breakers. Swimming pools come with their own personal set of rules, which are as follows:

1) Thou Shalt Allow Swimming

This rule is often ignored between the hours of 9am an 11am. If anyone under the age of 60, under 60 stone, or not in a pregnant state attepts to inhabit the pool between these hours, and heaven forbid, actually swim, attempts are usually shortlived. The 9-11 brigade do not like outsiders.

The 9-11ers insist on wading through the pool, in groups of five or six, and continuing their morning coffee-chats.

The Reasonable Swimmer respects the rights of the 9-11 brigade, but politely requests permission to swim between these hours.

2) Thou Shalt Not Be The ‘GA’

At the other end of the scale of irritation, is the ‘Grumpy-Arse’. GA commonly inhabits the fast lane, and is capable of inhuman speed. Fantastic for GA. But GA is not polite about his/her amazing capabilities. These characters are frequently seen huffing and puffing, having stopped dead behind a slow-coach. GA’s are always having a bad day, and do not feel kindly towards end-of-lane-conversation.

3) Thou Shalt Not Swim in the Wrong Lane

Breastroker in the fast lane. Sin. I do not deny the merits of breastroke, but I do not wish to be stuck behind you.

4) Thou Shalt Not Refuse to Be Overtaken

This action can lead to a normally Reasonable Swimmer adopting the characterisitcs of a GA. Once, is simply an error. A toe-tap later, is bordering upon rude, but continuously beginning a new lap, whilst remaining entirely immune to repeated toe-tapping action is an offecnce worthy of a good dunking.

5) Thou Shalt Not Use the End of The Lane for Chatting Space

Conversations at the pool are rather nice, sometimes used as an excuse to extend recovery, and often a normal and sociable activity. This is accpetable. What s unacceptable is when the talkers spread out accross the end of the lane, leaving no room for those actually swimming to turn around.

6) Thou Shalt Accept The Odd Knock is Unavoidable

There are good hand slaps, and bad hand slaps. An example of a good hand slap occurs when two swimmers converge, accidently allowing their hands to make contact above the water. This happens, especially when training hard. It may be polite to apologise at the end of a lane, but is not 100% compulosry. What is unacceptable is when one swimmer moves into the path of another swimmers stream, bashes their hand, all be it accidently, and then refuses to acknowledge the mistake when both those involved find themselves knocked off balance. Common sense should be applied here: If you think you offended, apologise, of not: get on with it. If you fail to apologise when you expect offence was given, expect to be toe tickled for the next few lenghts as the offended swimmer vents frustration.

7) Thou Shalt Not Barge In

It may be benificial for you to take exactly 10secs recovery, and not over or under extend this time. However, it is not crucual. If someone else is clearly just about to begin their set, or a new length, it is not essential that you barge in and destroy their pace. Wait a few seconds and relax.

8) Thou Shalt Not Hesitate

Despite the above, those found hesitantly standing at the end of a lane, clearly considering beginning a new set, but not actually starting, thus holding up those attempting to actually start, will also be persecuted.

9) Thou Shalt Cover Up Appropriatly

If you do not feel the need to alter God’s plan for creation by shaving your neather regions, that is fine by me, just don’t expose the hairy area by wearing a tiny tiny costume.

10) Thou Shalt Not Practice Slow Drills in the Fast Lane

You ARE a good swimmer, you’re just practicing swimming slowly. I get it. Do it in the slow lane.

The amusing thing is, when placed among the stress-busting wrinkly waders, it is not uncommon for the normally Reasonable Swimmer to adopt GA characteristics. Swimming, for 99.9% of swimmers is a peaceful activity. Let’s keep it that way. In any area where human beings occupy one space, it is only fair that the space is shared with consideration.

It’s quite simple: if you can’t BE NICE, GET OUT MY POOL!

Moving swiftly on…

Published by michellearthursbrennan

I'm an NCTJ Journalist and work at Cycling Weekly. Previous to this, I was the Editor at Total Women's Cycling. I've also dabbled in marketing and copywriting - having been Marketing Coordinator and Social Media/Content Editor at Evans Cycles. My first job was working on a local newspaper.  I've written for a variety of titles on a freelance basis, too. I got into cycling when I entered my first triathlon in 2010. I now race crits, road races, time trials, and do a lot of track training for not very much track racing.

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