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To think that adult only swimming, should be for swimming and if your main intention is to socialise you should perhaps meet for coffee instead?

(92 Posts)
D0oinMeCleanin Mon 22-Jul-13 09:29:25

I don't normally go to the morning session, I have children who need walking to school, so go to the evening session or just in the middle of the day (free swim, rather than adult only swimming, but most people with littlies stay in the small pool, leaving the main pool fairly quiet). I went to the morning session today and was irked to find groups of elderly folk, standing around in circles in the middle of the pool chatting, meaning I and others were forced to swim around then and into each others lanes. They were taking up just over two lanes, with their little social group.

What they seemed to be doing was swimming half way up the pool and then stopping to chat, in semi circle across the first two lanes, they'd chat for about 10 minutes before completing their lap, upon which they would spread out across the back of the pool, again across tow or three lanes, meaning that I felt I either had swim around them, again heading into other lanes or had to end my lap before the end of the pool and turn back without reaching the wall, otherwise I'd have ended up smack bang in the middle of their little social gathering. They'd then swim back to the middle of the pool about 10 minutes later and start all over again.

Now, I appreciate that some people are not fit enough to complete a whole lap in one go and may need to rest, but it is polite to move against the side of the pool to do this, instead of taking up a quarter of the pool, no? I have no problem with people who want to improve their fitness and need to do this, in fact I applaud their efforts. It was not that long ago that I could barely do one whole lap, without resting.

These people when they were swimming were swimming 6 a breast, very slowly, while nattering away, taking up 5 out of 8 lanes between them. Again it was difficult to swim past them because of how close they were to each other. I have no issue with needing to overtake people who are slower than me normally, I am not the fastest swimmer in the world myself. But this, imo, was taking the piss.

When a second group of elderly folk got in and started doing the same, I got out early as I felt I was no longer able to enjoy my swim, I was spending 60% of my time avoiding interrupting their social gathering.

I appreciate that elderly folk have a right to a social life and should be encouraged to be more active, but AIBU to think that this particular group pf people would have been better suited to meeting somewhere for breakfast, or going to actually swim and then go for breakfast to socialise afterwards?

D0oinMeCleanin Mon 22-Jul-13 11:18:42

Would they just do that? Cordon off another lane? I would feel very cheeky asking that blush

arabesque Mon 22-Jul-13 11:24:02

YANBU. This drives me nuts as well. My mum, who is a pensioner, finds it seriously annoying too. If elderly people want to take exercise, use the pool. If they want to gather around for a chat use the jacuzzi or the coffee shop. It is very unfair to stand around gossiping while people are trying to use the pool for it's intended purpose ie to swim or do some form of aqua exercise.

Twattybollocks Mon 22-Jul-13 11:26:18

This used to do my head in. I used to go to the ladies swim session, which had 3 lanes so about half the pool, and the rest open for non lane swimming. There used to be about 3 serious swimmers in the fast lane doing butterfly, crawl, backstroke very fast, so I avoided that. In the other two lanes there were about 6 pairs of ladies treading water they were swimming so slowly, whilst gossiping. Why not go into the open bit if you want to chat? I just wanted to get in the pool, swim as many lengths as I could in the hour I had, and then get out. I'm not the worlds speediest so could only manage about 60 lengths in an hour, but was still doing 4 lengths to their one length.

motherinferior Mon 22-Jul-13 11:26:44

I am filled with loathing for pretty well everyone else in the pool, I must admit. The chatters and loiterers, though, take the biscuit. I am v fond of both chatting and loitering, but not when I'm pounding up and down the pool 60 times.

GibberTheMonkey Mon 22-Jul-13 11:28:13

I have a friend who goes to stand in the pool. She chats because it eases the boredom. A coffee shop would defeat the object as she goes to help her joints. She can't swim because of the joints but the water helps ease the pain.
She doesn't stand in cordoned off lanes though to my knowledge but she does go when there aren't children as she can't cope with them too.

bearleftmonkeyright Mon 22-Jul-13 11:35:06

I would definitely ask for another lane to be cordoned off. Our pool does swimfit sessions. You can work to a tailored program and build up your stamina. I started in January and could barely do a length front crawl. I have had some adult tuition, as well as swimfit and can do 40 length now. Public swims are just not always feasible for improving. I got so much advice about developing my stroke from swimfit.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 22-Jul-13 11:36:00

Ask for a slow lane. The worst that can happen is that they say no - but lots of places do have three lanes (or a single fast lane and a double width less fast lane which allows for overtaking).

If that fails, try to take position next to the lane rope and swim it determinedly - if the chatterers are there say 'excuse me please' from a little way off but keep swimming! (and a cheery thanks when they've shifted).

Mumoftwoyoungkids Mon 22-Jul-13 11:43:11

ebearhug I feel your pain. When I used to go swimming regularly it was a busy session with two very full cordoned off lanes (a medium and a fast). There was a bloke who was really quite slow who used to go in the fast lane. And he never ever stopped at the end. Ever! Even the time when I had started overtaking him 10 m from the end and then had to drop back as there was someone coming the other way.

I have to admit I didn't keep to the "try not to splash people's faces when you overtake them" etiquette that time I overtook him.

And then three lengths later I was back in the behind him tailback agan.

Op - use the lanes. That is what they are there for. (And I say that as a speedo girl.) but have some consideration. Try and work out which is the slower lane and use that. If not use the quieter lane so it is easier to overtake. And most of all stop at the end for a few seconds to let people overtake.

Thymeout Mon 22-Jul-13 11:50:47

Lanes cordoned off are a relatively recent innovation in the lifetime of the people you are complaining about. They probably have no idea how much they are irritating you. In the past, people did actually go to pools to enjoy being in the water rather than steaming up and down to meet a target. Swimming was a fun, social, leisure activity undertaken with friends.

It seems a bit UR to me for you to expect to use the uncordoned off part of the pool for lap swimming. Ask for another lane to be reserved for serious swimming.

parasaurolophus Mon 22-Jul-13 11:52:37

I have to avoid "women's only swim" for this reason. There are several women who breast stroke up and down all the time having a chat. Their hair and make-up remain perfect. I don't begrudge their swim, but they take up too much of the pool by swimming side by side and chatting.

ChippingInHopHopHop Mon 22-Jul-13 11:57:23

I think many of you are missing the point about why some people go to the swimming pools. A lot of people (more so elderly people, but not only the elderly) suffer from joint (& other) problems and the weighlessness of being in a pool really helps. The way they want/need/choose to use the pool is no less valid than anyone else's. A lot of those people also can't cope with the bussle/noise of children - so yes, the time they want to use the pool is the same time as semi-serious swimmers want to use the pool. If it's not working for you, the way you want to use it - then ask what can be done so you can all enjoy the session.

HeirToTheIronThrone Mon 22-Jul-13 11:59:42

YANBU AT ALL. I hate this, DP and I go to the same gym and refer to them as 'the women'. It's even worse as I swim before work and they're still there, yacking away at 6.30am when you just want a quick quiet swim... I go in the lane to avoid them, but it's not a big pool and their chat is really echoey wherever you are.

specialsubject Mon 22-Jul-13 12:19:19

as you go past, kick and splash like mad. They should get the hint, and can hardly complain about getting wet in a swimming pool.

(BTW don't actually kick them, tempting as it may be)

arabesque Mon 22-Jul-13 12:25:12

There should probably be three divisions in a pool: a fast lane for really good swimmers, an ordinary lane for people who like to swim lenghts, but at their own pace and with a breather every now and then, and a slow lane for people who want to walk up and down the pool or do exercises at the side.
People standing in groups in the middle of the pool chattering away should be asked to get out.
And it's not just elderly women who do this; young guys are regular culprits at my gym.

SueDoku Mon 22-Jul-13 13:28:15

This thread appals me - I don't think that I've ever seen such a collection of naked ageism on any MN thread. I love visiting the swimming pool, but I'm not fit and anyway, I've never had any desire to just plough up and down - if you want to do this, use the lanes. Read this thread back to yourselves and substitute 'young mums' for 'elderly people' - and then see whether you still think that these are acceptable views to express.

This is really horrible - as Thymeout said, people used to go to the pool for social reasons and to just simply enjoy being in the water; I'm not sure when this 'Get out of my way old people' attitude took hold, but really - believe it or not, you'll be my age one day angry

motherinferior Mon 22-Jul-13 13:36:06

Oh, in my case it's not ageism. I swim three times a week at 7am in the company of people who are aged up to 91. They are all splendid swimmers. We all get on very well. In fact it's Young People Chatting that particularly piss me off.

The swimming pool is actually there for, you know, swimming. In fact IME it's quite ageist to assume that older people aren't swimming. My 7am compatriots are bloody good swimmers.

Sallyingforth Mon 22-Jul-13 13:47:12

Yes, it's really tough that other people don't want to swim as fast or as slow as you. Even worse that some are old or even young.
I think we should all demand personal lanes.

arabesque Mon 22-Jul-13 13:54:33

It's not people swimming 'too slowly' that annoys me, it's people who just stand in the middle of the pool in groups chatting.They get in people's way and make it impossible to use the pool to actually swim (which is it's main purpose). If people want to exercise or ease their joints they should stay at the top of the pool. If they just want to chat they should sit at the benches provided, use the jacuzzi or steam room or meet for a coffee after they've done their swimming or exercise. A swimming pool is not meant as a 'socialising, meet up' type place and never was, unless you're thinking of those 1950s high school films where teenagers headed to the pool to sit around in skimpy shorts and flirt with boys! smile

Sirzy Mon 22-Jul-13 13:55:21

Exactly chipping. Just because people want to/need to use the pool in a different way to you doesn't mean they are in the wrong for wanting to do so.

SueDoku Mon 22-Jul-13 13:55:30

I take your point mother - good luck to you and your friends, you sound fantastic. Maybe it's because I grew up in a large town, where the 'baths' (and yes, the slipper baths were still operating at that time - ancient eh?) was only open in the summer - in winter they put a sprung floor across the pool and held dances..!

There was no chance of swimming there, as it used to get so crowded that you could have walked across the pool without getting your feet wet grin. We were given a coloured wristband as we went in, and every 30 mins a whistle would blow and the attendant would yell, 'Red/blue/green/yellow armbands out NOW' - so that they could let more people in <Ah, the good old days> wink

The idea of swimming lengths was only for people who could afford to join the Swimming Club and attend their exclusive sessions - the rest of us just paid our 4d entrance fee and enjoyed playing in the cool, clean(ish) water. I suspect that a lot of others that are my age had similar experiences - the pool was for socialising, not just swimming, and I still look at it like that... smile

motherinferior Mon 22-Jul-13 13:56:10

It's got nothing to do with age.

What I do rather hope is that when I am (even) older, I am as fit as the people I swim with at 7am. Which requires genuine exercise, not just loitering around and then feeling mendaciously smug about "having gone swimming".

motherinferior Mon 22-Jul-13 13:56:40

Sorry, Sue, that wasn't to you, my post above!

GrimmaTheNome Mon 22-Jul-13 13:57:09

There should be room in a full-size pool for everyone. It's perfectly valid to want to use a swimming pool for purposes other than swimming laps, but everyone needs to be considerate. It sounds as though the people in the OPs case - who could just as easily have been young as old - aren't being very thoughtful of other people's needs. They may just need a polite 'excuse me please'.

arabesque Mon 22-Jul-13 14:00:04

Actually, on Friday it was my 78 year old mother who was glaring at two guys aged about 19 who were strolling up and down the pool chatting instead of swimming and getting in her way.

SueDoku Mon 22-Jul-13 14:04:36

That's okay smile

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