The topic of this new note has been sitting in the back of my mind for a while. Many of you know that I am a keen swimmer, religiously covering mandatory 2k worth of laps every day (except for when I am travelling). Over the course of my eventful life, I have changed a series of swimming pools of varying shapes, sizes, depth, cleanliness and access restrictions. Seriously, I am probably more used to observing the world through goggles than glasses or lenses – especially given my resistance to wear the latter. Never mind being short-sighted!
As passionate as I am about swimming, I just cannot help being put off by some serious violations of unspoken swimming pool rules by my fellow swimmers. Have a look below and do please agree with me that those are just common sense! It truly amazes me how anyone can fail to respect them. Here goes:
Slow swimmers MUST stay out of fast lanes and vice versa. I don't care that all fast lanes are full. Squeeze in and let's all be friends! No slow swimmer deserves being brushed aside by a freestyle monster double their size – especially on their clearly marked slow territory. Likewise, those slowies who make the mistake of entering a fast lane should seriously speed up. Or else – the "brushing aside" bit above is then perfectly legitimate.
All swimmers MUST wear caps. I am sick of removing hair of all colours and sizes from my nose, mouth, neck and other parts of my body which chose to remain unnamed. When I was a member at Holmes Place in Athens, I was once refused swimming pool entry without a cap. In the UK, standards seem to be way lower (or just less bureaucratic, possibly). Caps are practical, user-friendly and will not cost you a fortune. Everything else aside, caps are just a way of showing respect to other swimmers. Like me.
All band aids MUST be removed. Floating band aids are even more annoying than free-range hair. And, despite that widespread misperception of the sticker strength, band aids ALWAYS come off in the water. They just do. So no nonsense, please. Just take the darn thing off. It won't bleed.
STOP stealing my floats. I take those out of a common basket before I dive in and carefully place them next to my lane, neatly piled on top of one another (I like to vary float sizes). Does all that not make it clear that I intend to put the floats to personal use later? Apparently not – certain other individuals in the pool seem to be committed communists, assuming everything in their immediate vicinity to be collective property – or nobody's property at all.
Male swimmers MUST NOT wear loose swimming shorts. Unless they are sick exhibitionists, of course. How many times do you think I have trailed a Bermuda-styled guy, only to wish my goggles were more steamed up than they actually were? I guess certain body parts only look attractive at certain angles and under certain conditions. Sadly, the swimming pool does not accommodate either.
All swimmers MUST look ahead during free-style. You may be cool cutting the water with edges of your hands, but I really hate when those hand edges fail to avoid ME. The most deceiving moment here is that I always expect the swimmer moving towards me to know this basic rule and to swift aside in the nick of the time. Wrong. You should see all the blue spots and bruises I have gained from my swimming experience alone. Seriously guys, stop hurting us women.
All swimmers MUST keep their toenails trimmed. In addition to all the blue spots and bruises, you would not imagine the number of plain toenail cuts I have suffered from poorly groomed swimmers. Guys’ toes tend to be the worst!
Peeing in the pool is NOT allowed. It may sound obvious to most. The suddenly yellowed areas around certain swimmers that I have observed on (thankfully, rare) occasions point another direction though. I mean, come on. Toilets are just around the corner.
Couples should AVOID getting all lovey-dovey. Swimming pool is not a spa. Kissing couples are bulky and create an obstacle on the way of serious swimmers like yours truly. Come on guys – stop being cheap, book your women into some proper pampering location and feel free to make out as much as you please. Without me present.
Male swimmers MUST be discreet when checking out ladies underwater. You may think I cannot see your eyes through the goggles. Wrong! Buy darker goggles or stick to slow lanes where most ladies tend to be goggle-less anyway, so cannot confront you on the submarine level.
All swimmers are recommended to refrain from unleashed verbal commentary directed at particularly ardent fellow swimmers. People look different with caps and goggles on. The person being showered with your "French" may well turn out to be your boss. And I speak from experience here.
Having said all that, I still find it fun to swim. Especially with fast, well-groomed, goggled'n'capped, band aid-free, single and cute gentlemen with tight trunks on. After my 10+ years of swimming experience, I am yet to find one.