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funkyfish
September 19th, 2009, 10:10 PM
Had a weird thing happen at practice today. I was finishing my swim with a set of 25yd butterfly to work on my stroke. I had the lane to myself, and for a time, both lanes to either side were empty. About midway through my set, an older woman got into the lane next to me and started swimming. Ordinarily I'd pay it no mind, but at one point when I was resting she turned to me and said "you know, it's really hard for me to swim backstroke when you're swimming like that, you're a real jerk!"

When she began her statement, I thought she was going to make some kind of joking comment. But as she finished it, I realized she was serious, and it kinda caught me off guard. Since the lane on the other side was open, I moved over a lane so as not to disturb her, and tried to apologize when she was at the end of the lane, but she just curtly replied "fine" and went on about her swim.

So my question is this, does swimming butterfly make me a jerk? I'm not going to stop swimming fly, but I'm just curious if anyone else has run afoul of other swimmers getting bent out of shape in this manner. To summarize, we both were in separate lanes (6ft wide), and she was swimming, not water walking. I wonder if Phelps runs into these problems :D

frankiej
September 19th, 2009, 10:30 PM
I actually like when people swim fly, makes me kinda jealous. Most of the time I swim free or breast so if I'm in a lane with a person doing fly sets I usually just wait to breathe until they pass or glide longer if I'm doing breast.

Not that big of a deal. But yes, I've heard people complain about other swimmers doing fly.

That Guy
September 19th, 2009, 10:47 PM
"you know, it's really hard for me to swim backstroke when you're swimming like that, you're a real jerk!"

Next time throw the horns and say #$%@ YEAH!!!!

Seriously, if that situation arose, assuming I wasn't laughing too hard to speak, I would probably do something very much like that. And no way would I move over a lane.

Paul Smith
September 19th, 2009, 11:04 PM
So my question is this, does swimming butterfly make me a jerk?

I swim fly....and think I'll take the "5th" on this one.

Syd
September 20th, 2009, 12:04 AM
Considering the way she spoke to you, I think you were very polite and courteous. Good on you, Funkyfish. It is really unnecessary to be that rude.

I do always feel a bit guilty, though, swimming fly while sharing a lane with others (non serious swimmers). I always feel like a bit of a lane hog. Usually, I wait until I am alone in the lane to swim fly. I wouldn't have thought it would have bothered the person in the lane next to me. That is a bit extreme I think.

Red60
September 20th, 2009, 12:16 AM
It would be one thing to complain if you were swimming fly in her lane. Swimming fly next door? I don't think so.

I work out on my own and swim as much fly as I can manage. I work around other swimmers, and only swim fly when I'm sharing a lane when a) I warn the other swimmer, b) I leave the wall as they approach, SDKing past them, and/or c) I swim one-arm fly going by.

It's possible to swim the stroke and be considerate. No, you are not a jerk! (But I probably would have moved a lane over, too, just to skip the awkwardness.)

DeskJockeyJim
September 20th, 2009, 12:43 AM
Show of hands of people who have done fly to get rid of an obnoxious lane mate? (Or does that belong in a confession thread somewhere?) :bolt:

knelson
September 20th, 2009, 01:41 AM
I'm not surprised. Some people also get offended when they feel you are swimming too fast. Apparently you need to slow down to their speed to be polite.

Allen Stark
September 20th, 2009, 01:52 AM
I had the water aerobics instructor ask me not to swim fly(there was one lap swim lane open and they had the rest of the pool.)

geminidragonizer
September 20th, 2009, 02:06 AM
I don't think it's the stroke, per se, that would make someone a jerk in the pool. Today, this rather large guy was "sprinting" freestyle in an adjacent lane splashing up a storm and causing sizable waves. Another good swimmer in his lane had to try to constantly avoid him when he swam. He knew he was making a mess, but persisted. I found that offensive.

Hey, at least you tried to apologize for not doing anything wrong.

pwolf66
September 20th, 2009, 08:25 AM
I swim fly....and think I'll take the "5th" on this one.


Yeah, but that's an ALL the time thing with you not just when you're swimming fly. :angel:

swimmieAvsFan
September 20th, 2009, 08:37 AM
if she was doing the typical lap swimmer goggle-less backstroke, i think you should have just sweetly suggested that to her that goggles should be worn even when your face is out of the water...
:agree:

__steve__
September 20th, 2009, 08:44 AM
Sounds like it's one of those things we'll never understand. My wife is yelling at me this minute

qbrain
September 20th, 2009, 08:47 AM
Ordinarily I'd pay it no mind, but at one point when I was resting she turned to me and said "you know, it's really hard for me to swim backstroke when you're swimming like that, you're a real jerk!"


This is a perfect example of why I hate people.

She could have just asked you to either stop or move, but having not done so, I am happy to award her the female equivalent of jerk award.

Funkyfish, you went out of your way to be nice. Many of us, myself surely included, would have worked hard to earn her accusation.

Bobinator
September 20th, 2009, 09:12 AM
Hi Funky Fish! First of all I want to say to are a gentleman! This woman was rude to you and you reacted politely and tried to help her situation. You did way more than you needed to do.
I have noticed in adult sport activities that usually the slow/novice type people expect everyone else to adjust to their agenda. This even happens in swim practice on our team. If a group is in the middle of a pre-designed set and a new person jumps in the lane and doesn't want to do the workout they expect the whole lane to adjust to their lap pace and hold their repeats till they are out of the way. This makes me crazy and yet it happened in almost every scheduled workout we had for nationals. :argue:

gshaw
September 20th, 2009, 11:38 AM
So my question is this, does swimming butterfly make me a jerk? :D

The simple answer is yes. But so are backstrokers, freestylers, and even the gentle breaststrokers. It's a human condition but....that lady probably turns at the end of her lane and talks to the "jerk" even when she's alone in the pool. She sounds nuts and angry. I meet people like that in the pool regularly. They DO often resent it when you swim fast. Speed is interpreted somehow as aggression, at least by some. So, when you encounter someone who is nuts, as an intelligent jerk, you cater to their nuttiness to whatever degree necessary so that you can get your workout done. That, after all, is what you want to do. If you work out alone at YMCA's as I do it is inevitable that you run into difficult people from time to time. Most of the time it's great, but it's inevitable.

That said, there are some folks who swim fly and every stroke looks like they are making as big a splash and wave as possible, others slip in and out of the water like snakes. When I see the former I think they are getting one hell of a workout. When I see the latter I just like to watch. Either way, just get your workout in. Usually there is no point in talking with a nutty angry person except to defer to them verbally, then swim.

Allen Stark
September 20th, 2009, 12:35 PM
There was one jerk in the pool and it wasn't you.

dorothyrde
September 20th, 2009, 01:11 PM
Don't worry about her. I have one of these woman who has decided that my swimming is a nuisance to her even if I am 3 lanes away, and I do not make much of a wake. But since I am friends with the former Olympian 6-7 guy who swims at the same time, who does make a wake, not because he swims bad(actually I love to watch him swim), but because he is big, she has decided I am scum of the pool. Even in the locker room she glares at me. She glares at my teenage daughter who comes to swim in the morning with me to train for HS season.

I figure it is her problem not mine. As long as I am following the pool rules I will swim how I like, and associate with who I want...

BTW, a few years back there was another woman like this in the evening. Turns out she WAS having a real tough time in life, and slowly, over time, I got to know her, and now she gets in a lane next to me. She knows I will watch out for her, and she loves to see my daughter and I come in together, and she is quite friendly now.

Gdavis
September 20th, 2009, 01:11 PM
I'm full of admiration for how you handled the situation FF, you are a better person than me!
Given your conciliatory nature and ability to compromise, maybe you could help in the great suit rule debate??

nyswimmer
September 20th, 2009, 01:26 PM
I'm not surprised. Some people also get offended when they feel you are swimming too fast. Apparently you need to slow down to their speed to be polite.

:wave: That's happened to me. Someone once actually complained to the lifeguard that I was passing and " it's hurting my feelings." (His answer: "Well, you shouldn't be in the fast lane")

But to answer the original question, I suppose it depends on where you were swimming. If it's in pool where serious swimmers train, she's the jerk -- what does she expect? But I think it would be different if you were in a recreational pool (like an apartment house or hotel pool). There I'd kind of hold back a little.

marksman
September 20th, 2009, 02:32 PM
Do try to find a pool with fewer naive swimmers.

pwb
September 20th, 2009, 02:44 PM
FunkyFish -- You were 100% in the right and she was 100% in the wrong. Like others have said, if you're swimming fly in her lane and hogging the lane and (certainly) whacking her with your arms, then she might have a case. But, the next lane over? No. You're right. She's wrong. Case closed.

djacks
September 20th, 2009, 02:48 PM
Ordinarily I'd pay it no mind, but at one point when I was resting she turned to me and said "you know, it's really hard for me to swim backstroke when you're swimming like that, you're a real jerk!"

The proper comeback would have been (per George Costanza)... "Oh yeah, well, the Jerk Store called, and they're running out of you!"

orca1946
September 20th, 2009, 02:54 PM
Nicely handled!I tend to splash the people that do not shower or get their hair wet !!!

KEWebb18
September 20th, 2009, 03:57 PM
I definitely think that you handled this the right way. She's probably just jealous that she can't even swim butterfly.

We used to have this older lady at the neighborhood pool where I grew up complain if anyone else dared to enter the pool during the lap swim time. Some people just don't get it.

Donna
September 20th, 2009, 04:57 PM
I know when someone starts looking like they are going to join me in my lane I switch to FLY on purpose, to scare them off. The kids on the team I coach say I look scary when I swim FLY.

There are a select few who know they can join me even when I am doing fly but we know eachother and how to swim together. It's those newbies that I try to scare off.

Bobinator
September 20th, 2009, 05:02 PM
I like that idea Donna! I'm gonna try that sometime!

rtodd
September 20th, 2009, 07:36 PM
Not to get on a tangent but I have a question.

I got yelled at warming up at Zone SCM meet due to a near head on. The person entered at the bulkhead, not the block side where to me everyone was entering. Since I knew the person I was following passed as I approached the bulkead, I slid over early, which I often do, and that's when I collided. She yelled at me, which really bothered me, since I was at a USMS Championship meet.

Is it cool to enter from both sides during a warmup?

pwolf66
September 20th, 2009, 07:47 PM
Not to get on a tangent but I have a question.

I got yelled at warming up at Zone SCM meet due to a near head on. The person entered at the bulkhead, not the block side where to me everyone was entering. Since I knew the person I was following passed as I approached the bulkead, I slid over early, which I often do, and that's when I collided. She yelled at me, which really bothered me, since I was at a USMS Championship meet.

Is it cool to enter from both sides during a warmup?No it is not cool, nor is it supposed to be allowed.

funkyfish
September 20th, 2009, 08:18 PM
Well, I got to swim today with no incident. I doubt if I'll change any of my habits, but I'll have to keep my wits about me because if I see this woman again there is a part of me that would like to be a jerk. I've tried being a jerk in the past and have realized that I'm not cut out for it. I always feel bad afterwards (even if the other person deserved it) and regret behaving badly.
:bliss::bouncing:

nkfrench
September 20th, 2009, 08:31 PM
I'm guessing this encounter was in a wavy shallow pool with relatively loose and crappy lanelines. I've swum in the next lane to some big/strong/fast college swimmers doing sprints; and their waves pushed over the handeater lane ropes (making my lane a foot narrower) where I'd get hung up in the ropes and scraped up; and bounced the swimmers over a few inches causing collision situations with the swimmers I was circling with. Also can get a lungful of water. It's hard to see it coming when you're on your back.

But calling you a jerk -- that was totally rude of her. A polite request from her to negotiate for a lane of separation with a reasonable explanation would have been OK.

DolphinGirl
September 20th, 2009, 10:30 PM
You were much nicer than I would have been, in fact, I would have started doing a lot more butterfly just because, but then I'm evil that way. She should have been the one to move if she was bothered that much.

tjrpatt
September 20th, 2009, 11:03 PM
The worst is when lap swimmers and less intense masters swimmers think that you are crazy when you do fly. You aren't the jerk. She is the jerk for calling you that for no reason. She should have known better not to get in a lane when someone is doing fly. She should have asked you when you stopped to stop swimming fly so she can do her swimming.

nhc
September 20th, 2009, 11:40 PM
an older woman got into the lane next to me and started swimming.

I have observed that almost all the complaining trouble makers are "older women" belonging to the slow lane :cool:

notsofast
September 21st, 2009, 06:33 AM
I have observed that almost all the complaining trouble makers are "older women" belonging to the slow lane :cool:
I too have observed that "younger women" aren't considered trouble makers as often as older women.
In the situation here, as in just about any time you are confronted with a jerk, you have two choices. You can act like more of a jerk, or less of one. There's a time for each choice, but I think most people prefer to be the latter.

mj_mcgrath
September 21st, 2009, 10:08 AM
I tend to give people the benefit the doubt, especially if it is a one-time occurrence. Maybe the lady just lost her husband, or she is having money, health, or in-law problems. Who knows? She could just be crabby all the time but I think you handled it pretty well by taking the high road.

On the other hand, folks seem to be "spring loaded" to be offended by the least, little action that permeates their place in the center of the universe. Still I try to take the high road.

This past Sat. I was warming up for a tri and hit someone lightly in the head with my arm. I apologized. He replied, "good luck crashing into people". I almost replied, "good luck getting out of other people's way" but I didn't. This guy was wearing a rash guard shirt for the tri swim so I though he didn't need any words from me. Moving on. --mjm

knelson
September 21st, 2009, 10:21 AM
The annoying thing is that more often than not these crotchety folks end up getting their way. Odds are next time you will try to swim farther from her or not do fly next to you even though you are perfectly within your rights to do so. I know I'd prefer to avoid confrontation even if I knew I was in the right.

art_z
September 21st, 2009, 11:14 AM
I've actually had a woman in the lane next to me request that I swim some fly because she loves to watch people swim the stroke.

I'll rarely do fly when sharing the lane with stranger, and on the rare occasion that I do, I'll always drop to single arm when passing them.

Red60
September 21st, 2009, 11:19 AM
The annoying thing is that more often than not these crotchety folks end up getting their way...I know I'd prefer to avoid confrontation even if I knew I was in the right.

Alas, a rule of life. In organizations, in one's daily course, obnoxious people tend to get their way. It's the aggressive version of the law of the "squeaky wheel." There seems to be no getting around it. The karmic penalty exacted later is a likelihood of such persons being left to their own emotional resources. Others will indeed get out of the way, but then they'll keep doing so, and the angry one will be avoided. People withhold in such situations, even when they don't know they're doing it.

Ultimately, despite the irritating aspect of such experiences, they point toward sadness.

I try be thankful when I summon the sense to be polite–especially when I feel like a total sucker. Otherwise I just absorb the other person's bile. Toxic. Icky. Life-shortening.

quicksilver
September 21st, 2009, 11:23 AM
There's a small percentage of miserable old farts in this world. They start out as young farts and just keep getting stinkier with age.
You just happened to have a close encounter with one in your pool. Being kind to them just makes them more miserable as they often thrive on conflict.


Keep doing your butterfly, and she's thick enough to swim next to your lane again...tell her that your goal is to be the biggest jerk ever. Just like Michael Phelps. :)


Why is it that this behavior is so much easier to recognize when they're behind the wheel of a car?

SolarEnergy
September 21st, 2009, 11:29 AM
So my question is this, does swimming butterfly make me a jerk? Yip, absolutely. I am a jerk too you know?

The other day I was swimming BF. My right arm got into a collision with someone else's arm (like it happens some time). So quick stop I say I am sorry then I resume (I had an interval to respect).

The other swimmer goes after the lifeguard to file a complaint.

The only detail is that this darn other swimmer was not even in my lane. In other words, I was being so cautious not to harm people in my own lane by making sure I was not taking the middle of it, that I harmed swimmer of another lane.

Lifeguard came at me and said: Let's pretend that I am giving you a warning, other folk is pissed but I know you did nothing wrong. So let's just pretend...

Swimming BF in a public session makes us a bunch of jerks, absolutely.

DolphinGirl
September 21st, 2009, 11:35 AM
My husband even got some of this one time when he went swimming. It made him much more sympathetic for what I put up with sometimes LOL. Now my husband, by our definition, is more of a paddler. One evening when he was swimming, he accidentally brushed against an, ummm, plus size woman. She tried to cry sexual harassment against him :shakeshead:

Thrashing Slug
September 21st, 2009, 11:46 AM
Being polite is great but that doesn't mean you have to let jerks walk all over you. Earlier this year I was waiting in the port-a-potty line at a triathlon. There were two women in front of me and we had all been waiting for about 10 minutes. Some guy casually walks over to the john, keeping his back to us, and starts to go straight to the door as the person inside is coming out. He's trying to pretend that we all don't exist.

I look at the women in front of me, then survey the rest of the line behind me. I see irritation and resignation in their eyes and realize that they aren't going to bother making a scene. So I walk right up to the guy, cutting him off and say loudly "Hey you need to go to the back of the line". He looks right at me with a badly manufactured look of confusion and says in a deadpan voice, "oh, there's a a line?" "Yeah, that line right there", I say, pointing to the line 6 feet from where he's standing. All of this in a very loud voice so everyone around can hear.

He goes to the back of the line and we all proceed in an orderly fashion. When I come out of the john I give him a big smile as I walk by. I hope he enjoyed standing there embarrassed while everyone around him knew he had tried to cut in line at the potty.

If I hadn't been aggressive enough to correct him, the other 20 or 30 people would have just let the jerk take advantage of them. I've had the same thing happen to me at the airport. I am happy to take on the responsibility of being the rude one in those cases.


Maybe the situation with the lady in the pool was a one-time thing and it was best to accommodate her. Or maybe it just encouraged her to treat the pool like her own private domain and bully others in the future. I wouldn't have moved. I probably would have just laughed and kept swimming, then if she pressed the issue I might have asked for an explanation, weighed it, and probably still ignored her and kept on swimming. Depending on where I was in my workout I may have wasted a few breaths explaining to her that it was a pool, people swim there, etc. etc. Probably not though. There are lifeguards around who can do that.

Kevin in MD
September 21st, 2009, 03:44 PM
Is it possible that you ARE a jark, she somehow knew this and swimming fly was just incidental to the whole thing?

:-)

bigirishape
September 21st, 2009, 04:13 PM
Your response was polite, but to be honest, I would have had to land a jab in return. Just something to the effect of "Well, that's why you have your lane and I have mine. I swim how I like, you swim how you like, the world continues to turn. Yay!"