2,350 yards (47 laps) in 52:06 for 510 calories

This afternoon I squeezed in a swim both figuratively and literally.  Figuratively because Joanne and I dropped off Emma at her grandma’s house and decided to go exercise during our free time.  The pool closed 15 minutes before I finished and I think everyone else had the same idea I did.  That’s where the literal squeezing happened.  The pool was crowded!

Public lap lanes are really hit or miss. There is always a wide variety of speeds and talent levels in the pool at any one time, and in order to cater to everyone, lifeguards typically mark lanes as Slow, Medium, or Fast.  The thought is that since we are all circle-swimming (up one side of the lane and down the other side), it would be nice if everyone in the lane swam at a similar speed.

But lifeguards need to watch for people drowning and can’t get involved in managing swimmers every minute of the day.  That means when it gets crowded, slow swimmers often end up into the Fast lane on accident.  Now swimmers and triathletes are generally a supportive crowd, but when you’re churning out a mile or two of laps, you need to maintain decent form.  That means looking down at the bottom of the pool, and not in front of you for a slower swimmer.

The fun typically starts when your hand hits his toes.  You’re mildly surprised and you slow down a bit, but being a newer swimmer, he’s freaked out that someone just tickled his foot while he’s deep in concentration.  If he stops suddenly the lane ends up like a multiple-car pile-up on the expressway, with everyone treading water and trying to remain polite.  If he thinks you’re invading his personal space and feels challenged, he increases his speed. Now you might think this is the better of the two options, but at this point you want to pass him before the girl swimming in the opposite direction gets in your way (much like passing a truck on a narrow two-lane road with oncoming cars).  He’s sprinting and sputtering and making a lot of waves, and when you do finally pass him he’s so tired that you catch up to him again in about three or four minutes. Rinse, wash, repeat.

I don’t think there’s an easy solution to this problem, and I never get so frustrated that I forget that I’m swimming in a very nice, very close, and very inexpensive city pool, but I can’t help but wonder if people swimming at private gyms don’t have it just a little bit easier.