Failure to Yield

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Sorry if you clicked on this expecting some sort of commentary on cars and driving.  I’m actually referring to the challenge of exercise each day at one’s local pool.  Although you’ll note that this tale does involve designated lanes, “drivers” keeping to one side and the occasional head-on collision.

Having been a swimmer well before the $400 suit days, I decided a few months ago that swimming was a great way for me to get back into regular exercise. I enjoy it, losing some weight, the equipment’s cheap, there’s a sense of accomplishment (once in shape that is) and its something I can discuss with my son who swims in college.

The only time of day for me to workout is 6:30am. During swimming season early morning lanes are scarce as the swim team takes up about half the pool.  Unlike driving, they don’t issue licenses to swimmers – basically anybody can jump in the pool and flop around – making adult lap swimming like a version of aqua bumper cars.

In general there are a mixture of swimmers; clueless paddlers; equipment junkies who spend most of the workout session adjusting the zillion dollars worth of equipment they bought to try this sport; and others who have swum before and operate within the unwritten rules (you guessed it, me).

Unlike the swim team days of circle swimming with many kids, in the adult world it’s two to a lane, and keep to your side – or else.

At my pool, one can categorize the lap swimmers as follows:

  • The Little Engines that Could
  • Mutley and Dastardly
  • Mario Karts
  • Cool Running’s

Just to clarify…

Little Engines – they “think they can, think they can” – tend to be more seasoned (older). Don’t move through the water very fast. Wear bathing caps with flowers. But, still they understand the need to stay to one side.

Mutley and Dastardly – like the cartoon series, these guys/gals have all the expensive equipment the sport will offer, spend most of their time standing around adjusting it, and end up not swimming much at all.  They don’t hog the lane, in fact they don’t really move at all!

Cool Running’s – “take it easy mon.” These are the low key, likely swam in high school or college swimmers, who just put on their goggles, swim and naturally stick to one side of the lane.

Then there was the guy who was in the lane I wanted this past week:

Mario Karts – like the aggressive driver on the highway, Bowser (see my disclaimer) gets in the pool, swims with his head down and right in the middle of the lane – oops now he’s on the right – oops now he’s on the left.  Despite my motioning to join him, he never looks up, pausing only at the far end of the pool to avoid eye contact and lane sharing.  Bowser’s tend to have arms and legs moving simultaneously, sort of like a spider trying to cross a stream, but not moving very fast.

Actually on that day I found space in the Little Engine’s lane until Bowser crashed (no lives remaining) and left the pool.

Moral of this rant is if you want to have an enjoyable swimming experience, then look for the Little Engines or the Cool Running’s, they are your lane-friends.  Mutley and Dastardly are your next best option, ‘cause you know they aren’t really swimming anyway.

And…..if the pool is full, don’t worry; Bowser will eventually hit a wall…figuratively and literally!

About Wally

Wally Greene is both an eternal optimist and cynic, a waffling right-winger, a somewhat decent husband and father of three, budding masters swimmer, delusional comedy writer, chocolate lab lover, martini drinker and executive recruiter...not necessarily in that order.

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