Swim22: Lane Politics


Nick-pool2-150x150I was ready for the mileage, I was ready for the chilly changing rooms, I was ready to wear a obscenely tight rubber hat… but clearly what I wasn’t ready for was the kill or be killed culture of swimming lane politics.

Where my relatively sedate Swim22 tootling in the local pool meets my fellow swimmers – super-fast ‘when’s the triathlon’ length gobblers, leisurely ambling slow coaches (in the fast lane), those dodgy radar swimmers gloriously unaware of any lane rules, the occasional kid who thinks its playtime, and the blinkered loons (of any age, any speed) who clearly feel they are the only people in the pool – despite all evidence to the contrary.

Yes, I have joined the busy swimming shifts of the early morning devotees and the after-work crowd shedding their daytime work stresses. Not for me the leisurely daytime shift with hardly anyone in the pool apart from an OAP’s Aquasize class in the corner. And me caught between two stools – too slow for the fast lane, too fast for the slow lane.

triathlon 2

My battles take place in the worst of all lanes, the dreaded medium lane – where Phelps-like speedsters like to feel superior alongside those whose fragile ego doesn’t allow them anywhere near the slow lane. Where (my) rhythm goes West, where one minute I am buffeted in the wake of Mr Superfast, but next minute am uncomfortably close to Mrs Veryslow’s rear end. And when my local pool decides that it will cordon off half the pool for swimming lessons, we swimmers do battle like tadpoles in a highly restricted, frenetic and frantic pond.

Too narrow to overtake Mrs Veryslow, while Mr Superfast blasts past everyone anyway. Kind of like Euston station at 8.45 on a weekday, but in swimming trunks and goggles! Speaking of egos, I speak as someone was overtaken by a man with one arm – I’m less a Porsche and more of a Skoda.

So this Easter, I abandoned my armchair-socialist leanings, and me, the wife and the kids borrowed the membership to a private pool and lived the high-life. Wide lanes, semi-luxury changing rooms and nothing to get in your way except your own family and retired Colonel Blimp trundling the slow lane. Throw in a poolside sauna and a steam room and we had a very nice time thank you very much. Now it’s back to the bumper-to-bumper bump and grind of Brixton Recreation Centre.

You will be delighted to know that swimming lane politics hasn’t dampened our enthusiasm, just given me an insight into how the ‘other half’ swim. As we speak we have just breaststroked past half of our fundraising target – turns out raising the money is as much effort as bashing out the miles, so I’ll keep you updated in my next blog on how we are approaching fundraising having ruthlessly mined the wallets of relatives, godparents and family friends.

We’d love it if anyone wanted to sponsor us the odd euro (we’ll need them when we get to France). You can sponsor us at https://www.justgiving.com/The-Buglione-Family-Swims-The-Channel/.

The story so far…
Lengths completed: 835 (out of 1416)
Money raised: £537 (target £1000)
Current swimming playlist: wall to wall, lane to lane, length to length Led Zeppelin.

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