Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Good Times at the Pool

"The sea was angry that day my friends. Like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli" - George Costanza in "The Marine Biologist" episode of Seinfeld.

Often times, I find myself with the strangest stories coming from experiences at the pool. And I know I'm not the only one. I've read plenty of stories that make mine seem like nothing. But yesterday I had another encounter and a new story to tell.

The pool Rebecca and I swim in during the summer is an outdoor 50m pool at Fort Myer. It is an amazing pool to be at any day. Throughout the winter and spring months, being cooped up inside on a 25 yard pool, it makes you appreciate how much nicer outdoor pools are, let alone a 50 meter pool. Anyways, this pool has a slightly unique feature: no lane dividers. The lane lines are there on the bottom, just no dividers. What this does to the water is make it choppy and unprotected. While mentally challenging to always be swimming through chop, it certainly helps prepare for open water swims. The other big drawback is that not too many "swimmers" swim at this pool, so often times, you have to fight for space because the old ladies swimming side stroke on their kickboards, while socializing about their most recent game of Ma-jong, don't really get the whole idea that someone might actually want to swim straight up a lane and come back. They just kind of float where they please and nobody says anything to them. I guess its just the way it is.

So yesterday, as I was swimming a 400m interval, I pushed off for my 2nd lap. It was no more than 10 strokes into my lap that I was on the receiving end of a head on collision. As usual, my first reaction is to spring up and punch Mr. Head on Collision in the brain for interrupting my swim session so rudely. I stopped for a moment to tread water and see who the hell was so bold as to swim in my lane that I had already been swimming in for the past 30 minutes. It was man, probably only 5-10 years older than me, so I didn't feel bad for being all pissed off. I yelled at him to pay attention to make sure there are no other people in a lane before heading off (since there are no lane lines, I wasn't sure where else he could have come from). After giving this guy a ribbing, I finished my interval. During my break between sets, I stopped to watch Mr. Head on Collision swim. He was a mess. Slapping the water, arms and legs thrashing all over the place. All of this is fine, because people do eventually learn how to swim from practicing, so I'm not making fun of his swim style. But what bothered me the most, was watching him thrash his way across 3 lanes, all the while thinking he was swimming straight! Mind you, his head was mostly out of the water while he was thrashing. So he must be swimming with his eyes closed. This is a problem, especially in a pool that has no lane dividers. My recommendation to Mr. Head on Collision is to start in a calm 25 yard pool that has lane dividers, so he can work on the basics.

All this trashing in the water from Mr. Head on Collision led to a very choppy swimming pool. But then again, I'm not complaining about that part since it made me work harder. Moral of the story is, I love this pool too much to get mad that this happens from time to time. It just sucks that people can't stop to realize the danger they are putting not only themselves, but others, but just jumping into a pool and swimming aimlessly throughout it without realizing there are others who, you know, swim straight in a line.


Rainmaker said...

I need to start spending more time at a 50M pool. I may wander out there for some of my Saturday swims. Sounds much nicer than the pools at Belvoir.

Brian said...

I love the 50m pool near me. .. anyway, mr. head on sounds like he's trying to give you a workout of his own.
Keep on dodgin' em

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