is regarded as the best overall exercise for the body, but what can be defined as swimming or exercise? I’ve recently started swimming seriously again at my local health club, to be honest, it was either that or endure a punishing gym programme three times a week and the swimming is far less painful! Anyway, on one of my last sessions in the pool, three ladies got into the pool, not much older than myself, who proceeded to do the classic heads out of the water breaststroke whilst chatting. Fair enough if you want to ‘swim’ like this, but please don’t interfere with people who want a proper workout. The set I had chosen to do was fifteen metres (one length) butterfly followed by a lazy one length back front crawl, mainly because breast stroke was out due to a knee injury and there wasn’t enough room incase I went off course on back stroke and ended up hitting someone! Now butterfly is not an easy stroke, but provides a good workout, it also turns out that the three chatting ladies had also taken umbrage to the butterfly and told me to stop. I calmly pointed out that this was a swimming pool, to which they retorted that they were trying to swim and that the pool was not big enough for fly. I didn’t say anymore, but did move over to give them more room.
This is a common problem for people who want to have a proper workout in the swimming pool. These three ladies were swimming side by side and doing their best to keep their heads dry and in the long term inflicting serious damage to the neck and back caused by excessive stress and strain (would you walk around town whilst having your head turned up towards the sky?), but conveniently forgetting in the process that a swimming pool is filled with water, so expecting to keep your hair dry, in perfect condition (like you’ve just stepped out of the hairdressers) and not be splashed by other swimmers, is completely unreasonable. Now this particular pool does not have designated lanes, you just have to pick a space and go for it and on the whole, it is usually fine, until the aqua ladies (and they have a fierce reputation) get in up to ten minutes early and even though it is clear that you are swimming lengths will stand in your way, chatting and doing their warm-up (diving skills then become really handy and also the ability to slalom swim).
I probably have got off quite lightly, but others not so. Lynne, a member of a swimming group on Facebook, confessed recently that she purposefully elbowed another swimmer and I think she did the right thing. Lynne was overtaking a slower swimmer and another guy (with fins) decided to overtake her at the same time. There was another swimmer coming in the opposite direction and it was a dogs’ breakfast, so she elbowed fins guy. The fins guy should have held back and waited, after all you wouldn’t have done this whilst driving, or swam underneath (the fins would have given him the speed needed to do this).