Oh swimming, you’re my favorite in-water sport out of all three triathlon sports. Kind of the same way that my dad used to tell me, “You’re my favorite 12-year-old daughter.”
I have two sisters.
As I’m trying horribly learning to like swimming, some fundamental truths have emerged that I feel obligated to share with any runner coming to the dark side…that is, triathlon. Shall we?
- Chose A Lane With Similarly Paced Swimmers
You arrive at the pool full of mojo (or not) and are ready to get your swim on, only to find the lanes spattered with the few guys whose shoulder width is as large as you are tall, the girl in the beach bikini who looks like she could be doing the whole “monkey-tree-rocketship” thing, or is she just floating with a noodle (?), the 20-something guy who just came from getting “totally swoll” and then the average folks just moseying along.
I’m absolutely ok with sharing the pool with anyone who would like to use it, but the problem is, they’re all mixed together like they a SwimOutlet grab bag.
My friendly PSA: if the pool is full, please identify similarly paced lanes and enjoy your time in them. Even if a spot is open with the Olympic-paced-freaksofnature lane, save it for Mr. Phelps. The pools I saw in Europe had signs with these very instructions and I believe that these, and the metric system, may help with American swimming woes.
- No One Likes Circle Swimming, But Deal With It
“Hi ma’am, I hate to be the one to ask you this, but would you mind circle swimming?” I ask.
“ABSOLUTELY NOT!” she barks back.
Shocked and taken back by here blatant rudeness, the only thing I could conjure up was, “Ok, thank you for your honesty.” (Seriously, Page?)
People, there is not one person on this planet who enjoys circle swimming. But unfortunately it’s one of those things you just have to do occasionally. Please be kind to your other swimmers and welcome them in because if they are following item number one from above, all will go swimmingly (pun intended).
- Don’t Wear Perfume Before You Swim
Somehow the pool exaggerates every foul note of a sprayed-on scent. I do not enjoy accidentally tasting your perfume, let alone smelling it. So let’s save everyone the trouble and just rinse off before you swim. Kapeesh?
- Raccoon Eyes, Goggles Marks & Broken Hairs Are Standard
If I look like I just got two black eyes evening, it’s because I didn’t take my mascara off before swimming.
If I look like I’ve been snorkeling for a week in Hawaii, it’s because I’ve been trying to learn to like swimming.
If I look like I have a permanent halo of broken hairs circling my head, it’s because my noggin’ is rather large and swim caps feel like the equivalent of a brain sucking torture device.
Swimming isn’t a beauty competition, but that’s also what I like about it. Just go with it.
- Watch The Schedule
This one is a note to myself as even though it was 6 p.m. on a Tuesday, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the pool won’t be completely taken over and your swim will be cut short thanks to aqua aerobics.
I felt confident that such classes were only held in the mornings or mid-day, but then again, we all know what assuming does.
No time is safe and in the words of Sonja, “Keep a pool schedule in your bag.” (I don’t think she was happy that I failed to plan that one.)
- We All Start Somewhere
And most importantly, just know that swimming isn’t easy, but you have to start somewhere. I remember the first time I swam laps, I finished the workout and hopped out feeling like the king of the world.
Actually, I have a blog post about that very day.
Looking back on my almost two years of swimming, I know that I am trying to dedicate a stronger practice to this sport so I can grow to love it. If I keep saying, “I’m a horrible swimmer,” then yes, I am going to be a horrible swimmer. But If I can change my frame of mind and realize that this is a practice to work at and grow, anything is possible. It’s a process, but one that I’m working on.
Any other fundamental newbie swimming truths to add to the list?
Happy running (and swimming)!