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AIBU to expect to be able to SWIM in the lanes at the local swimming pool?!!

(80 Posts)
VanGogogh Wed 22-Jan-14 00:13:52

That's it really. Local pool has lane swimming every evening. 1/2 the pool is closed for lessons, there's one lane for adult lengths and then the rest is open for everyone.

I fully appreciate that not everyone is a strong swimmer. In my experience and until this week, the strong swimmers (think swimming lengths as a steady pace and not stopping) would pace up and down the lengths without worry of swimming into static people, and those who were leisurely swimming and chatting or resting, slow swimmers would enjoy the "general" area without worry that some crazy power swimmer would bash into them.

Sometimes the timings and speeds don't quite work out but we're all grown ups. We work around each other in a wonderfully British way.

I am, perhaps, still feeling very rilled by this. A trio of adults joined the lane. Each of them was only currently able to swim almost a length before a 2 minute break. By almost a length, I mean they would stop dead about 1/5 from the side and either walk in or pull in on the rope. This REALLY ruins the pace of the lane. If someone stops dead they're going to get swam into.

Then, during the 2 minute break, the three of them congregated, blocking the whole of the side stopping people completing lengths and turning effectively. They didn't wait until the stronger swimmers had passed before restarting the next length, on multiple occasions one of the three would start just as someone came to turn. It was ridiculous.

I bit my tongue. Hard. The angry energy made me swim another 15 lengths trying to calm down. It didn't work as this trio were seemingly unaware of others. Myself and other swimmers were ducking in and out of lanes to safely overtake and unfortunately, I did swim into a stopped body more than once when on my back as I was nowhere never the side.

AIBU to be furious? I know it's not my private lane and a public pool but these people just seemed to lack basic etiquette and social awareness.

WWYD if you were in that situation?

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Wed 22-Jan-14 00:17:44

YANBU. I would and have talked to people in this exact scenario. Just say what you said in you OP.

theimposter Wed 22-Jan-14 00:19:49

Tell the lifeguard; that's what they are there for!

LessMissAbs Wed 22-Jan-14 00:20:50

Speaking to a group of 3 is difficult. But totally YANBU. I did speak to the girl who was swimming up and down the same side in a busy lane which was indicated to swim up one side and down the other. She was causing chaos, and all the other swimmers and the lifeguard were men and seemingly inhibited from saying anything to her.

MissSingerbrains Wed 22-Jan-14 00:25:32

YANBU and this kind of thing annoys me too.

However, just as a very tiny YABU, I would never swim on my back in a really busy pool like you described. It's bad enough dodging everyone when you can see them properly, let alone when you can't.

But overall I totally agree and it annoys me when some people seem to lack basic manners and common sense in the pool.

Starballbunny Wed 22-Jan-14 00:27:04

And the inverse also applies. If you are a fast swimmer not pile up and down the medium lane. Shove off to the fast lane.

mumbaisapphirebluespruce Wed 22-Jan-14 00:46:26

I can't abide this! YANBU. I bet these same people are the type who stop dead as soon as they get on a train without walking down the carriage, thus blocking the door and preventing others from getting on. They also stand next to their mate on the escalator blocking the way, oblivious to those behind them. They just dawdle in general. Tell the lifeguard next time.

Sophita Wed 22-Jan-14 01:56:52

Oh, so much irate sympathy here - am all cross on your behalf! I hate it when people clog up the end of the lane, is horribly inconsiderate plus I am a bit obsessive about counting my lengths and it makes me sad

Also, I would love to be an assertive swimmer who could just talk to people and suggest they move lane, or point out that they were getting in the way - but I must admit I've never been that brave. I think it's a mix of feeling ridiculously self-concious in my swimming costume, and also being quite short sighted and not having my glasses on - I just can't quite take myself seriously in that state, never mind expect some random lane-hog to...

legspinner Wed 22-Jan-14 02:14:38

That would really rile me too. I'd either talk to them and ask them not to stop suddenly / clog up the lane ends (have done this!) or if you are reluctant, ask the lifeguards to have a word. Failing that, perhaps ask if there could be 2 lanes for adult swimming (although if it's anything like our local pool, there is only 1 lane open when lessons are going on...but lessons are all over by 6.30 pm usually).

We used to have a poster in our local pool about lane etiquette, it was really useful. I think it should come back - seems as if an increasing number of people really have no idea how to lane swim. Or how to give way (grrr)

lookatmybutt Wed 22-Jan-14 02:43:13

We have a terrible shortage of decent pools in my area (not many, too busy, too cold, bloody filthy), but I had to actually cancel my gym membership on account of pool-rage (on my part). Had to deal with:

1. No life guard or supervision,
2. Guys pushing me up against the wall if I was trying to swim a lane next to the side. Stopped them when I started kicking them as I'd rather kick some soft fucking idiot than break my toes on the side.
3. Guys trying to force me out of my lane while I was swimming in it. Usually only bad, slow swimmers do this.
4. Guys larking about in the pool when people are trying to swim.
5. One guy DIVED UNDER ME when I was swimming. He got a telling off. I actually accidentally kicked the stupid fucker in the head because of how he timed it.
6. One guy who dived in and swam right at me when I was doing front crawl. There was plenty of room for him to swim elsewhere. I carefully stopped him by placing a hand on his head before he hit me. Resulted in a loud but unsatisfying shout-fest.
7. Slow swimmers who swim diagonally. I'm actually quite sympathetic to slow swimmers in the absence of a slow lane, but really if you're that slow you can make an effort to swim in a straight line.
8. Guys 'accidentally' hitting me in the face/tits/body while flailing about like drowning monkeys.
9. People resting, talking, fannying about in a long line that takes up one end of the pool, when there's a fucking nice bubbly jacuzzi 10 feet away. It was attached to the pool!

Anyhoo, I tried to calm down by being more annoying:

1. Swimming across the pool and diving under while pretending to be a mermaid.
2. Floating like a very relaxed starfish in the middle of the pool. For half an hour (I'm a fairly good swimmer, but the am quite porky and the pool was small).

I'm 'between pools' at the moment.

CrohnicallyFarting Wed 22-Jan-14 06:55:45

While we're at it, I used to go to a pool that was lovely and quiet in the day, I can't remember what it was called but there was a time for serious swimming but without lanes. Might have been swim academy or something, with motivational messages and stroke tips put up around the pool.

Anyway, without fail, just as I was getting into my stride, there would be a group of old women who would, all in a bunch, swim slowly across the pool, swimming widths. I mean, if you're not a strong swimmer and don't want to go out of your depth, surely the sensible thing would be to swim half lengths? I'm not a fabulous swimmer and I found it extremely hard going around them. At the time I wasn't confident enough to say anything.

The other thing that this pool used to do that irked me, was for an hour every Sunday morning, the main pool had adults only swim, while there were private swimming lessons in the adjoining splash pool. But as the children finished their lessons, they would come and join their parents in the main pool. At first it was OK because it was one or two children and they were pretty well behaved. But before long it would be 4 or 5, then when the hour was nearly up children would be coming out of the changing rooms and getting straight in and messing around, cutting into the adults only time. It wasn't long before the adult 'hour' was up after 45 minutes. And the lifeguards weren't bothered in the slightest.

I didn't renew my membership there.

EeyoreIsh Wed 22-Jan-14 07:01:28


One of the upsides of buying my house was that there is a pool a few houses down. Only it never has lanes. I went to the adult only song session once and it was crazy. everyone swimming different strokes at different paces, but what was most crazy was how people would swim widths. angry angry angry angry

I've not been back.

ZillionChocolate Wed 22-Jan-14 07:27:58

Can we add to the annoying list the people who just stop at the end of the pool, stand there next to their friends with their arms outstretched to take up maximum space and just stay there for ages. My pool has a section that's ideal for chatting, it's shallower and there's a wide ledge where you can sit down.

NoCryingInEngineering Wed 22-Jan-14 07:38:41

YANBU, get the lifegard/attendants to speak to them. Or suggest the pool gets a 'lane manners' poster made up and stuck around the place.

Worst lane manners last week was 2 friends swimming at chatting speed across the lane rope on every 2nd lenth (we have 2 lanes). If you want to chat go in the general bit. Though i suppose at least they were swimming the correct pattern for their lanes, just the 1 fast 1 slow approach made it difficult for any one else to sort there pase out

arethereanyleftatall Wed 22-Jan-14 07:39:08

op yanbu. I am a very strong swimmer, think Rebecca adlington nearly!, and am lucky that this seems to grant me license in telling people like this to move out of the lanes. Or I do fly or tumble right on top.of them.. (only if they're not following lane etiquette but normally telling people works).
Butt - you seem to want everyone to dance to your tune.

Snowdown Wed 22-Jan-14 07:45:41

Yanbu - swimming always gave me the rage, people are so rude. Mind you when I often meet people walking in lines of 3's and 4's across the pavement when I'm running, who never bother to move and I have to run on the road to get past them. Sometimes I get pissed off and refuse to move and I get a humpf from them.

StanleyLambchop Wed 22-Jan-14 07:45:44

Can I just add, I get annoyed by the opposite problem. Sessions which are advertised as 'family swims' IE are bound to have children attending. There are no lanes cordoned off for this, but you always get some olympic wannabe doing hell for leather speed front crawl up & down the lanes, and then glare and shout at all the children who drift into the lane at the shallow end- even though there is no official lane and the children have as much right to swim widths as they do lengths! If you want to lane swim, go to a lane swim session! Grr. Rant over!

chrome100 Wed 22-Jan-14 08:10:34

YANBU. I swim every day and frequently come across people who have zero lane etiquette - they just have no idea! I always give way to faster swimmers and move aside if need be. In my experience it's always the slow swimmers who just have no clue how to behave.

VanGogogh Wed 22-Jan-14 08:15:59

Wow! My first AIBU (recent name change) and I get a unanimous IANBU... Erm. Wow! Thank you!!!

Regarding "telling" or speaking with a lifeguard. I have two or three issues there
1) (the one that I should discount) like Soph, I feel very self conscious and unconfident in my swimming costume. My head won't let me when the voice in there will be saying "he's just judging you on your fat arse" "how dare you demand to swim when you can't even control your food consumption" (yup- I have great body issue demons! confused)
2) all of the life guards are very young, I have overheard them commenting to each other on people's appearances (see above) and I genuinely don't feel that they command any authority. I've never heard a whistle blown despite poolside infringements.
3) if I get out and have a word then the stupid people will know it was me and probably jump me in the changing rooms be nasty to me which in my swimming costume I can't cope with.

Lord above I need to kick myself!!!

I'm not Olympic wink when I swim on my back, I time my length and always swim dead straight. Promise. Also, I never fly in a public pool because I'd inevitable hit someone who would wade into me and that would hurt me wink

magimedi Wed 22-Jan-14 08:16:51

YANBU!! It drives me crazy. I resigned from a well known gym because of this - people even practiced walking up & down the lenght of the pool. I moaned to the manager who told me that they regard the pool as a 'leisure' facility. He had no reply when I asked him what he would do if I went & played on all the gym equipment.

However, I have just found a solution & have joined my local university's gym & pool. The pool is a training pool & is only heated to 22/23C instead of the usual 28/30C of leisure centres. Therefore you have to swim or freeze. Everyone swims & sorts out lanes with no problems at all. And it makes me swim better as I don't dare stop!!

Tryharder Wed 22-Jan-14 08:18:03


I don't think anyone is being more unreasonable than anyone else.

It is annoying for fast lane swimmers that the ends and lanes are clogged up by slow swimmers, casual swimmers and old people who won't get the fuck out the way

It is annoying for casual swimmers to be kicked, swam at, ploughed into and generally bullied by faster swimmers who think they own the pool.

I think some of you on this thread should take up other sports unless you can adopt a more Zen like approach to swimming in a public pool. grin

QuintessentialShadows Wed 22-Jan-14 08:21:38

Yanbu- In your shoes I would write a letter to the management, explain what is happening and ask them to separate out a Fast lane, and a Slow lane, in addition to the general area, it may make the general area quite small but so be it. They could make the slow area up only when slow swimmers take up the lane, and then ask them to move.

This is what my local pool does....

chemenger Wed 22-Jan-14 08:23:02

I am a terrible swimmer, sometimes I'm wondering if I will get to the end of the pool or drown first, and even I hate people who swim widths in the deep end and expect you to steer round them. I don't mind chaos in the shallow end where the kids are. If I can swim lengths, or parts of lengths, anybody can. And the people who drape themselves along the end of the pool to chat so I can't reach the safety of the wall should be shot (except it would make a mess of the pool, maybe just beaten with blunt objects).

NotQuiteCockney Wed 22-Jan-14 08:32:54

Who swims widths?!?

I am spoilt I guess - the pool I go to has fast, medium and slow lanes, and then a wider unlabelled lane (well, there is still a sign saying whether it is clockwise or counter clockwise). Nobody swims widths. OMG that is just ludicrous. Nobody shoves.

Ok, some of them are delusional about their speeds, and some of their swimming strokes are just terrible (as in, not actually a stroke) but ... shoving!?! widths?!? These are things lifeguards should sort.

(And shock at them commenting about people's physiques. If someone is particularly lumpy, then well done them for coming swimming! Exercise is good for everyone, and nobody should be sneered at for looking funny in a swimming costume.)

kaizen Wed 22-Jan-14 08:32:55

The life guards should sort it out, even in a 'posh' leisure club (especially in a posh leisure club actually, as you are paying for the service) I'm a bolshy cow and threatened to cause hell in our club if the 'fast' swimmers couldn't get a decent swim, and I got another lane put in while the lessons were on (which stops all the slower swimmers not to feel intimidated too) But like I said, I'm a stroppy cow, can't see the point of not saying something or nothing will change.

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