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FindingMyInnerFish
July 12th, 2012, 01:27 PM
Hey all, forgive me while I vent.

First off, it's not swimming itself that frustrates me.

Today, when I went to the noon lap swim, the pool was divided in half, with half the pool for water walking, half for lap swimming. And in the lap swimming section--in half this pool, there were six people, which doesn't seem like much, but without lane lines, people wander into other lanes, even when they claim to be circling. There is chaos. It may just be me and the mood I was in, but after two laps, I was just beyond frustrated and got out. I'd asked the lifeguard why there couldn't be at least three sections as I've seen the pool divided at other times, and he just said, "I can't move the rope."

I've had so many instances of lack of concern for lap swimmers at this pool, that I'm on the brink of dropping my membership. Only one thin thread keeps me and I'm getting to think it might be too thin a thread to hold: there is a gym which I also use (weights, cardio, etc.) and there is a yoga class which I join on and off. Also, the pool is a ten minute walk from where I live, so the convenience is a big factor. I'm thinking though that the high school pool, even without a gym, might be more worth my while, since it's cheaper.

But the management of the pool favors EVERYONE but lap swimmers.
I left the pool stressed out--I've had other instances that have stressed me out at this pool, so many that I sometimes wonder if I'll ever enjoy swimming--if pool politics will always favor others besides lap swimmers. When I run, I can go wherever, whenever (although there are the crazy drivers, I can mostly avoid them by running at nearby tracks or parks).

But swimming, I'm hemmed in by available lap swim times which don't always work with my schedule.

There's much to love about swimming itself, but I'm getting very discouraged with how our pool is managed. I'm so tired of facing the ambush that is lap swimming. I don't want to finish a workout stressed out.

And I need to get more mentally tough, I suppose to just deal. But my life has its own share of stress, and I kind of like my workout time to be a way to free myself. And I want to be able to set some goals, go after them.

I seriously sometimes want to give up on swimming--not really... but today is one of those days I want never to swim another stroke in ANY pool. I'd love to live near open water. That's what I learned to swim in, and I loved it--would get bitten by crabs, stung occasionally by jelly fish, wonder if sharks were lurking nearby, push through seaweed... and all that was better than anything I deal with at the pool.

Okay, deep breath... move on. Let go. Got to get back to yoga class--but maybe somewhere other than my Y. :)

With a knee still sensitive from a fall, I should swim more often--if only it wasn't so stressful that I want to run the other way.

smontanaro
July 12th, 2012, 01:39 PM
How far up the chain of command have you gone to voice your concerns? If you haven't gone past the lifeguard, I'd start there. Maybe a little face time with the aquatics director would help.

(I'm fortunate that the Y I swim at has two pools. Most noodlers wind up in the old, warm pool, leaving me to do battle with just a few noodlers and the swim team's practice schedule.)

quicksilver
July 12th, 2012, 02:02 PM
Here's a suggestion which may help with the free for all situation:

Tell the aquatics director that you would kindly like the lane lines in place as a safety concern. Explain how bumping heads can be dangerous and could lead to accidents and maybe even drownings etc etc...

I can almost guarantee that any higher up will listen to your concerns especially when a safety issue was brought to their attention. I have seen some pretty solid head bumps and at the end of the day both the lifeguards and the management have a responsibility to keep the pool safe for lapping.

Lanes serve a function in that they keep people in place to allow for proper circle swimming. And they also help separate the varying degrees of swimmers from competitors to the breaststroke ladies who don't like to get their hair wet under their silk scarves.

Once some order is established, the lap pool should begin to take on more of the function it was intended for.

FindingMyInnerFish
July 12th, 2012, 08:38 PM
Thanks for the suggestions!

Our aquatics director can be very stubborn (don't get me started!), but the point about the safety issue is a good one.

Unfortunately, the lap swimmers take third place after (a) kids (camp and day care being cash cows) and (b) those who use the water walking lane exclusively.

We had a great masters' group started, which was abruptly canceled while the coach was away with his kids' team at a championship. We were told both that the masters team made things too crowded and that there wasn't enough interest to continue it. (???) The coach then started in a grad program so wasn't able to stay with coaching (wonderful guy--and just had a chance to pursue a career goal that was important to him--not anything related to the team... he still helped us individually whenever we asked).

But the masters' team was on hold for a while, so I swam with other masters' groups until my schedule conflicted with the practices, then worked out on my own.

They restarted a masters' swim program--at 9 p.m. on a Monday night. And then stopped it b/c there wasn't enough interest... well no... at 9 pm on a Monday night? Surprise, surprise! But we did keep it going for about 8 or 9 months with a terrific coach who helped us each progress at our own rate. When she moved on, a succession of two or three other coaches came in, and they did some good stuff but there wasn't the same level of energy (not that I held it against the coaches--I'm not sure how much support they got either).

Emails to the AD and suggestions in person either went unanswered (email) or "we won't be doing that." Or "I'll look into it"--which basically meant the same: "we won't be doing that."

I've mentioned the importance of adults staying fit, given the obesity epidemic and the need to provide good role models to kids. Nope.

I've suggested keeping a lap lane open during other swim periods as some pools do. Nope.

I try to keep a distance from her, but stay polite/friendly/impersonal b/c trying to convince her of anything has proven futile.

I wonder if this kind of thing is just something one has to live with in order to keep on swimming.

I'm fortunate that I have the running--after abandoning my swim, I headed out for a run, which went much much better!

Would love for them both to have space in my life, b/c I love both--but running has the advantage of simplicity and flexibility of scheduling. My daydream: to have a lake or bay in front of my house. But global warming has not progressed to the degree that I will have bayfront property in the near future. ;)

Charge
July 12th, 2012, 10:46 PM
At my pool we have lane lines, but the guards typically take a lane from us for every new non masters lap swimmer that shows up, so you'll have four lanes with one or two swimmers each, most dog paddling, and the team has 4-5 per lane.

orca1946
July 13th, 2012, 12:43 AM
Try the safety issue.. Have you tried to talk to the other swimmers??

FindingMyInnerFish
July 13th, 2012, 01:04 PM
Try the safety issue.. Have you tried to talk to the other swimmers??

Didn't get a chance to talk to swimmers yesterday--needed to get away and "cool down" somewhere. But on other occasions, lap swimmers and I have discussed problems with having too few lane markers. I'll admit we focused on the convenience issue, but safety definitely should get the attention of the management.

Celestial
July 13th, 2012, 03:32 PM
While you're at it, consider getting a petition started - pointing out that you are not the only person concerned may help. They say that for every letter written, or name signed, there are 6 people who did not sign, or write a letter. So if you get only 10 names - whether these people actually care or not, is not the point, that basically means there are 60 people they have to consider.
I'll bet a lot of the other lap swimmers, no matter how leisurely they swim, would also appreciate having the lane lines put back it. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. But, if you squeak and squeak & they don't respond, move on.

FindingMyInnerFish
July 14th, 2012, 07:13 AM
Well, whole different story for the Friday evening lap swim--lane ropes to make three sections (which at least gives a bit more help to swimmers). This is followed by open swim at 6:30, and there it was 6:30 and I was thinking they were going to change lane ropes to the divider rope across the middle of the pool (separating the shallow from the deep section), but the lifeguards didn't seem to be making any move to do that, so I figured, I can squeeze in another 100. Then I noticed several minutes later that they still weren't changing the ropes, so I kept going and got a few hundred more yards than I'd thought were possible--the pool was almost empty all this time, which might have been explained by the fact that a thunderstorm seemed imminent. The thunderstorm didn't happen--I was prepared to have the lifeguard empty the pool for that, but no. I'd have happily kept going but was getting hungry, so I thought 20 minutes extra was a good amount and set off. More families with kids showed up as I was leaving but it was overall a less crowded locker room than normal... maybe b/c people thought they'd be pulled due to the aforementioned thunderstorm that didn't happen. I was frankly pleasantly surprised to have lane ropes up that long, but I don't get the feeling that it's a normal state of affairs. However, Friday evening might end up being a good swim time for me! :)

Next week, I'll talk to some other lap swimmers and see what their take on all this is--and proceed from there.

Thinking I'll also join the high school pool which will widen my options. I'm an irregular member--sometimes I keep up the membership, sometimes let it lapse.

Thanks for the support/ideas!

EJB190
July 14th, 2012, 06:41 PM
I definitely talk to some other lap swimmers. If you can even get a few of them to make the same complaints your are, the management *should* seriously review the situation at hand.

Sometimes it's finding the right person to complain to.