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frightened by another swimmer

(13 Posts)
LaLoose Thu 09-Jul-15 10:56:21

I know I handled this all wrong, but I would like to ask for advice about what to do next, please.

I went swimming this morning. I go two or three times a week and have been going to the same pool for a decade. My children have lessons there - it's the local swimming hub. This morning, there was a slow swimmer in there. No problem. I politely passed him at the end of the lane (usual etiquette at our pool, anyway - is this wrong?). I even smiled and said 'thank you' (I wish I hadn't now). I finished the length and turned round and there he was. He stood up (a tall and large man), stuck up his middle finger at me and called me a 'fucking slag and fucking scum'. He was carrying on the rant, slightly red-faced and very animated, but I swam away.

I asked to speak to the manager as I was crying and shaking (I don't wish to seem melodramatic - sexual swear words are triggering for me). Sadly, the gentleman in question told her (the manager) that I had sworn at him (I hadn't) and he was simply reciprocating. So she couldn't do anything about it. I was genuinely frightened. The man seemed to have little self-control and I didn't feel safe continuing to swim with him. So I left and I now feel I can't go back.

Now looking back, I know I should have shrugged it off as silly behaviour (though I don't really believe it is, I think this kind of casual sexism is caustic). But I couldn't. So what do I do now? I don't want to give up swimming, but I am a bit scared to go back. And no other bugger among the swimmers stood up for me, either!

Advice, please? Thanks.

LeBearPolar Thu 09-Jul-15 11:16:04

Why do you feel you can't go back? I can imagine it was distressing at the time but surely one of those things where in the end you just shrug your shoulders and think "Twat" (him, not you) and get on with your life?

Not sure it merits a huge lifestyle change!

shushpenfold Thu 09-Jul-15 11:19:55

From what you describe, he probably had an ear full of water and thought that 'thank you' was 'f*ck you'. Ignore and put it down to a slightly strange and unpleasant experience. Don't be afraid of going back but just stick to smiling if you see him again!!! (or putting your tongue out grin)

OhtoblazeswithElvira Thu 09-Jul-15 11:24:28

He used abusive language, was intimidating and lied when questioned. You are understandably shaken. He completely overreacted and it sounds like he's used to getting away with it. I would take it further, though not sure how. Put it in writing? Is it a council-run place?


capsium Thu 09-Jul-15 11:25:28

Go back, wear a swimming hat & goggles and different costume & I doubt very much he'd recognise you. Avoid him if you see him in the lanes / pool area.

ChunkyPickle Thu 09-Jul-15 11:26:37

If he'd done that to a member of staff, he'd likely have been banned (and rightly so), I don't think you'd be out of order to send an email highlighting the issue - at least then it's definitely recorded.

Beyond that, you can't let this keep you away from the pool.

RainbowFlutterby Thu 09-Jul-15 11:27:45

I agree with shush - I think he mis-heard you and genuinely thought that you'd sworn at him first. It's very common for slow simmers to be sworn at by faster swimmers I'm afraid.

caitlinohara Thu 09-Jul-15 11:35:27

I don't agree at all! Misheard? Wtf? How can smiling and saying thank you equate to "f*ck you"?

I am really sorry you had this experience and I'd be upset too, but I would have asked him what his problem was first of all. Staying calm when someone else is behaving like that is the best way of diffusing the situation, and also has the added benefit of making them look like a dickhead. Do that next time, and don't let him stop you swimming there.

DorisLessingsCat Thu 09-Jul-15 11:42:20

I've had a very similar experience, with an equally useless response. In my case I was actually injured and I got the same shoulder shrug.

Put it in writing and give it to the manager so that it is on the record.

He is just a random idiot. Go back. It's not a given that he will be there at the same time as you. If he is, speak to the lifeguard before getting into the pool and ask them to watch out for you.

Don't let him make you give up swimming.

LaLoose Thu 09-Jul-15 12:19:52

Thank you very much everyone for your responses. I'm sorry, DorisLessingsCat, that you were hurt. Blimey.

I think I will write an email. Why are these people so angry in a swimming pool? I may well change costume, as suggested.

I know my response seems a little spineless, LeBearPolar, I can't really explain, except it was frightening and I was caught completely off-guard. Perhaps it's something to do with not being fully dressed, as well, that made me feel vulnerable?

PS I really don't think it would have looked as if I was swearing.

DorisLessingsCat Thu 09-Jul-15 14:59:21

I'm really glad it's not going to put you off. smile

My incident was with a woman by the way, she was really aggressive as well. I think some people go to a public swimming pool wound up that they might be impeded by other swimmers and then unleash if something tiny happens.

I don't think your reaction was spineless by the way, the last thing you would want to do in that situation is to escalate it.

chumbler Sat 11-Jul-15 07:50:17

definitely take your complaint further! can you go with someone next time to give you some confidence?

tobysmum77 Sun 12-Jul-15 13:24:30

I always you have to take a step back in these situations and be grateful that you aren't him. Even if I thought someone did swear at me I wouldn't behave like that.

Definitely put it in writing though so it's properly logged, that way if he does it again to anyone there is a record.

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