Pool rage: dealing with the Wendys of the world
The Aspire Channel Swim, for so many of us, is a way to escape. A way to beat the complicated stresses of a busy week with the simple pleasure of swimming up and down, up and down. With that in mind it doesn’t seem fair when other swimmers add to stress levels by clogging up your lane, or barrelling up behind you and giving you that annoying tap on the heels. It turns out it’s a very small step from happy, relaxed swimmer to: “if Wendy touches my feet ONE more time I’m going to lose it!!!”
We do love pool swimming but there is a broad range of things that can go wrong. Swimmers can be too fast, too slow, in the wrong lane, resting in the wrong place, not letting other swimmers past and let’s not even mention the splashers! Before long swimmers begin to remember other swimmers by their sins in the pool. When this happens a session can be ruined before you’ve even got in the water, just by spotting your nemesis, Wendy the erratic swimmer, in the changing room.
Unfortunately, it’s likely that everyone reading this will have experienced pool rage and will maybe even have a Wendy of their own. So what’s the answer?
Remember why you’re in the pool
This could be to get fit, to lose weight or to become a better swimmer. Whatever your personal goal, by swimming and fundraising for the Aspire Channel Swim you will be directly helping people paralysed by Spinal Cord Injury. Focussing on this makes it much easier to forget the time when Wendy’s frantic breaststroke kick ended up smacking you in the arm.
The simple act of asking a swimmer if they’d like to go ahead of you can make you both feel better. Likewise, a quick smile or apology if you catch yourself too close to another swimmer can make all the difference. Communication often helps break the rage spell.
It’s a great idea to have a specific plan for those pesky swimmers who swim at a different pace from yourself. If you’re a slower swimmer this could be quickly checking if anyone wants to overtake you before setting off on your next length. For faster swimmers this could be turning around before you reach the end of the lane to nip in front of a slower swimmer. This means you’re not making other swimmers wait for you to pass. You can always do an extra length to make up those few lost metres.
Every swimmer deserves to enjoy their swim as much as anyone else. Whether that’s a county swimmer with a powerful front crawl, or the slowest swimmer in the county. Lane swimming will never be perfect but you can make your swim more satisfying by trying not give into pool rage, tempting as it is. Letting go of all the little annoyances of lane swimming can be easier said than done but like swimming, if you practise, it gets easier.