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DeniseMW
August 27th, 2014, 08:49 AM
Everyone here on the boards has way more experience than I do, so I'm looking for advice on how you handle rudeness in the pool.

It seems like the summer has taken its toll on me with the number of rude people of all stripes who've been sharing my rec center pool. It's gotten to the point where it's sapped my enjoyment, and I have at times thought about giving up the sport entirely because it's just too much hassle to come home feeling like I've been byatch slapped, run into, pushed against the ropes, told no to lane sharing, and insulted about the way I look in a bathing suit.

Yes, I'm too sensitive, that's a fact, but I'm a writer and an artist, so it kind of comes with the territory. I try to shrug these things off, but I get out of the pool depressed and replay incidents in my head. I'm starting to wonder if it's worth it. What's supposed to be a nice, relaxing, healthy form of exercise has, over the summer, become something I dread. The lifeguards aren't much help - they don't see most of what's going on in the lap lanes because they're busy watching the kids. I can't count on them to step in. :badday: So I'd like to know if any of you experienced swimmers have dealt with this turning point, and how you kept going.

gobears
August 27th, 2014, 09:08 AM
Is it possible that the traffic at the pool will be greatly reduced as the school year gets started? You may just be dealing with crowds because of summer. Or is there a different time (or pool) you can try? I used to belong to a 24 hour fitness that had a pretty lame 3-lane indoor pool but hardly anyone ever used it so I could almost always get my own lane...

knelson
August 27th, 2014, 10:04 AM
I really think you've got three choices: 1. grow a thicker skin, 2. find a new pool, 3. quit swimming.

Perhaps the pool you are swimming at just has a higher than normal jerk quotient. If there are one or two bad seeds maybe try to swim at a time you know they won't be there. It shouldn't be typical to have to deal with rude behavior. Of course you are going to get smacked or even run into on occasion. With several lanes of people swinging their arms and mostly looking at the bottom of the pool it's inevitable, but that's different than being intentionally bullied.

hlopez84
August 27th, 2014, 10:30 AM
I have swam most of my life, and I do not think your too sensitive. Personally if I got slapped in the face by someone swimming in my lane I would be pretty upset. It's one thing to slap hands while swimming, its a completely different story to get hit in the head or face. The same goes for getting run into while swimming. There is no excuse for it.

The big issue I see is that you are being bulled at this pool. If the lifeguards do not listen, then bring it to the attention of the pool manager. If he does not listen or decides not to take action, then I would go above him till someone does.

Keep swimming!! Do not give up on a sport because of a few IDIOTS!!! Stick with it, and if all else fails find a new pool to swim at. If you need help finding a new pool just let me know. We are in the same general area.

smontanaro
August 27th, 2014, 11:15 AM
The big issue I see is that you are being bulled at this pool. If the lifeguards do not listen, then bring it to the attention of the pool manager. If he does not listen or decides not to take action, then I would go above him till someone does.

Hear, hear! There's no excuse for the lifeguards allowing an unsafe (or unfriendly) situation to develop or persist.

DeniseMW
August 27th, 2014, 01:19 PM
knelson, I don't want to quit swimming. That's why I'm looking for help here. As for growing a thicker skin, perhaps that comes with time, but when someone insults the way you look in your bathing suit, it's pretty hurtful. Even if it's a stranger and they're just being mean. I don't think anyone should have to put up with that.

I think much of this is attributable to management. Today, I went to swim during the time reserved for classes and adult lap swim. There were kids goofing around in the lap lanes. So I shared with a walker. And when he left, I got a good hour's worth of lap swimming in.

I may indeed look for another pool if it doesn't clear up when school starts. I have a friend who works the front desk and says she can't wait for summer to be over. We may also have an inordinate amount of jerks, and with several of the pools closed for cleaning, their jerks may have gravitated to our rec center.

knelson
August 27th, 2014, 01:21 PM
As for growing a thicker skin, perhaps that comes with time, but when someone insults the way you look in your bathing suit, it's pretty hurtful. Even if it's a stranger and they're just being mean. I don't think anyone should have to put up with that.

I don't either. I have a feeling you've just got a couple jerks at the pool you swim at. This does not seem like typical behavior, in my experience.

jpetyk
August 27th, 2014, 04:03 PM
It seems like the summer has taken its toll on me with the number of rude people of all stripes who've been sharing my rec center pool. It's gotten to the point where it's sapped my enjoyment, and I have at times thought about giving up the sport entirely because it's just too much hassle to come home feeling like I've been byatch slapped, run into, pushed against the ropes, told no to lane sharing, and insulted about the way I look in a bathing suit.

I understand your frustration! If I were you, I would see if there are substantial improvements after the jerks go back to school, and if not, I would re-evaluate my affinity to this particular pool. Clearly, the staff and management aren't on your side, or just plain don't care. I believe you are dealing with an anomaly and not the norm. Swimming can be such a fulfilling activity, but no matter how thick your skin is, after while the rudeness wears on a person.

Bobinator
August 29th, 2014, 08:45 AM
I think you need to talk to the pool management about possibly dividing the lanes into a slow / medium / fast lanes. I used to swim at a YMCA that did just that. I know there's nothing worse than circle swimming with people that are all different speeds. The faster swimmers are totally shut down in this situation and are unable to get a workout that raises their heart rate at all. This can be as frustrating for the fast person as it is for the slower persons and could possibly cause aggressive or mean behavior toward lanemates. I had this situation occur the other day at a local community center. I was splitting a lane with a slower man and enjoying my workout. Another fellow jumped in the lane. This guy was swimming some type of hybrid breastroke w/a scissor kick that extended across both lane lines. He was taking about 3 minutes per 50 + kicking me each time I tried to swim down the lane. I tried to continue with my swim but it was totally impossible. The lanes are too narrow to pass in the middle. I waited at one end till he got there. I asked him if he could either move to a lane where the others were swimming breastroke, or switch to freestyle so the lane could have a better flow. Before I could catch my breath both slow lane mates were yelling at me, telling me they had as much right to be there as I did, and threatning to tattle to the lifeguards about me. I tried to tell them I got there first + I had a right to swim too but they just didn't get it. I finally just got out. I was out numbered, plus can't argue with self-righteous jerks. I later talked to the mgt. and they agreed to setting pylons at lane ends labeled slow-medium-fast. SOLUTION!!!!

DeniseMW
August 29th, 2014, 10:00 AM
Bobinator, thanks for the suggestion. It's a good one. The management here isn't what you'd call responsive, but it's worth trying. They generally don't pay much attention. I've asked about cell phones in the locker room, and they did put up a sign, but it's way in a corner. I'm not even going to try and tackle the overage boys in the women's locker room.

I swim slowly, but try to find someone who's compatible to lane share. The guy who jumped into the lane with you and swam up the middle sounds like an idiot, and incredibly rude. He has a right to share the pool, but not at the expense of the other swimmers. We have a woman who likes to swim on her back down the middle pulling with both arms simultaneously, and she always refused to share a lane.

My main motivation for getting over my fear of the deep end is that most of the swimmers there have a clue, whereas the people who use the shallow lanes at our pool are often not really swimmers and have no concept of courtesy. Plus, you don't often have to share in the deep end.

__steve__
August 29th, 2014, 10:38 AM
Rude people are everywhere unfortunately. Just had an encounter of overwhelming inconsiderate behavior, was on an airplane with several drunk and obnoxious londoners in their 50's behind me - bad apples they were. I just had to bear down and endure the flight.

Only on a rare occasion do I see rudeness at the pool, but I empathize with one who experiences this on a daily basis.

knelson
August 29th, 2014, 11:32 AM
I think you need to talk to the pool management about possibly dividing the lanes into a slow / medium / fast lanes. I used to swim at a YMCA that did just that.

Wow, this is somewhat of a shock because I assumed nearly every pool already did this. I guess I'm mistaken!

flystorms
August 29th, 2014, 11:43 AM
Nah. None of the pools here divides up the lanes. I wish they did during peak times.

Going back to the original post, maybe you need to find a different time to swim. Most of the "real" swimmers tend to be in teh pool super early (before 7am) or later in the evening. The mid morning and after work crowds tend to be less skilled. I hope you find some solace!

Bobinator
August 29th, 2014, 11:45 AM
Wow, this is somewhat of a shock because I assumed nearly every pool already did this. I guess I'm mistaken!

I agree knelson, you'd think this would be obvious to any pool mgr. as a Best Practice to follow.
I totally agree that everyone has a right to be in the pool and swim the speed they want to swim but there has to be some type of organization. If there isn't it's almost always the physically fit person who has to relinquish their workout and end up looking like the bad guy.

DeniseMW
August 29th, 2014, 02:46 PM
I'm going to check out another pool that's a little farther but has more lanes. My husband agreed to come along so I can start getting used to being in the deep end. :cheerleader:

I avoid the guys who are fast. I don't want to get in anyone's way. I just want to get my exercise in and have a good experience.

Rob Copeland
August 29th, 2014, 03:52 PM
I avoid the guys who are fast.This sounds like the advice I give my daughter. And for what it's worth some of the fast guys, like Mr. KNelson, arenít so bad.

orca1946
August 29th, 2014, 07:26 PM
Jerks are in the water and in gyms as well. I dislike when it is college break time . The guys drop the wts. Want to machine all the time & get upset if I change the wts to what I do .I have learned to just change & let them carb! In the pool the life guards are there to do more than save drowning people. If they see this stuff going on & do nothing - talk with the mgr. Keep swimming.

DeniseMW
August 30th, 2014, 09:35 AM
Rob, that's priceless.:D

Orca1946, we have a head lifeguard who's really nice. He warned me early in the season that the summer guards were young and didn't like confrontation. He said he was trying to break them of that. I don't want the guards to see me as a pest. I've complained too much already, IMHO. :bitching:

Kurt Dickson
August 30th, 2014, 12:37 PM
Two problems with slow, medium, fast breakdown is 1) speed is all relative and 2) if there is an opening in a slow lane, people get bent out of shape if a fast person gets in which is dumb.

Also, I believe faster people are better to swim with as they are not oblivious. I start planning on sharing (swimming against one lane line). I also enforce sharing. I once swam where a lady refused to share and kept swimming in the middle. People kept getting in and soon after, getting out. All the other lanes were full. Me, being the swell guy I am, offered the next person up to take my spot and make the "nice" lady share. I took one side and ran into her a few times, she cursed at me a few times in chinese and got out.

Lifeguards are generally worthless as they are teenagers and are there primarily to work on their tan. They constantly "see" thunder cutting swims short and are no good/apathetic at conflict resolution. Good luck.

DeniseMW
August 30th, 2014, 04:18 PM
Kurt, you must be swimming at my pool. I get a big chuckle out of the ladies who pretend not to speak English and shake their heads "no" when you try to get in the lane, and wave their arms at you, like you should be intimidated. I see a lot of these same ladies swimming down the middle on their backs with their eyes closed, like it's their private spa. Certainly, they're entitled to do so. But not when other people need to share.

AJS62680
August 30th, 2014, 07:11 PM
Rob, that's priceless.:D

Orca1946, we have a head lifeguard who's really nice. He warned me early in the season that the summer guards were young and didn't like confrontation. He said he was trying to break them of that. I don't want the guards to see me as a pest. I've complained too much already, IMHO. :bitching:

You're not being a pest. I supervise all the lifeguards at my pool and we have these problems with lap swimmers constantly. We tell people entering the facility that they will be expected to share lanes and circle swim. We also posted notices that show exactly how to do so (including staying out of the way of faster swimmers). One excuse that we used to get a lot were people were swimming for physical therapy and needed their own lane. We do provide private lanes for organizations who are properly insured and rent the space, but that is not open to individuals. In short, I shut that one down. I have encouraged the staff to be confrontational with rude swimmers; not because I enjoy it, but because it seems to be the only language these people understand. After about 6 months of "hammer down" we have a rather pleasant group of lap swimmers, and issues of sharing lanes and staying out of the way seem to have subsided. It wasn't handled gently though. Unfortunately, you have to be "direct" with some of these people.

bud
August 31st, 2014, 11:38 AM
.... After about 6 months of "hammer down" we have a rather pleasant group of lap swimmers, and issues of sharing lanes and staying out of the way seem to have subsided....
I'm moving to where your pool is. <jk>

Thanks for sharing this.

Not that long ago (I'm 56 now) I used to work at a year-round private community pool, which is a certified 50M competitive pool. We pretty much had to handle the patrons with kid gloves (I was not in charge). It was pretty ridiculous.

As a response to the whole thread...

I thought the facility I swim at now (I'm out of the pool business, and in a different state) was the worst. After reading this thread, I realize I got it pretty easy.

Yes, in general, (teenage) lifeguards are idiots, and useless. There are exceptions, but that is the general rule. Get used to it. Good Senior Staff can make a big difference, but it takes a solid team of them, and that can be rare.

There seem to be some universal truths about Pool Etiquette. One is that slower swimmers should yield to faster swimmers. I've seen some pretty mean behavior though, by both faster and slower swimmers.

I'm usually in water a LONG time (I need to rest a lot). More often times than not, if I'm patient, I get what I want (the slower swimmers finish, other slots open up, etc.).

I always adjust my workout to who is in my lane. It should be give-and-take though, not all one-sided.

Unfortunately, the bottom line is (especially for where I am now), people are generally pretty selfish, and self-centered, not willing to make it a team-type thing. Too bad. The whole would likely benefit more if the team effort were followed.

BTW... I'm 6'3", 195#, and usually the fastest fish in the pond when I swim (but by most USMS group standards I'd be medium to slow). I train for IM's, so I do lots of annoying "Wide" strokes. I rarely connect with anyone though. Based on the feedback I've gotten so far however, most (slower) patrons at my pool seem intimidated by sharing a lane with me. Too bad, that is not the image I try to portray. I love swimming, and want everyone to benefit from it.

I'm also fortunate that my schedule is flexible, so I simply go to the pool at times I'm most likely to get a decent lane slot, and avoid abysmally slow swimmers. I do recognize that they have a right to get their fitness too. The best times to go do vary from season to season. Things usually lighten-up by the time school starts.

I agree with the posts about taking extreme issues to management, or the Aquatics Director. Odds are pretty good they have no idea. Or it could be they've heard it all before and don't care. It won't hurt to try though, and let your voice be heard.

I started out extremely frustrated by where I swim now. After making some adjustments, I now find it tolerable.

DeniseMW
August 31st, 2014, 11:54 AM
Thank you, everyone, for your comments and support. Today, I brought my husband and swam in a lane that was just over my head in an effort to desensitize to the deeper lanes. It was tough, and I wasn't having a comfortable breathing day, but it was start and I didn't have to share with anyone. Of course, it's a holiday. But everyone was pretty nice. And I noticed one of the lifeguards keeping his eye on me.

orca1946
September 3rd, 2014, 12:29 PM
Denise - keep swimming. You will work thru the stupid people & enjoy yourself.

Justin1981
September 3rd, 2014, 07:06 PM
I run into the same problem every time I don't swim with my master's group. If I miss a practice and am making it up later on in the day, that usually means fending off the geriatrics crew or novice swimmers. Most of these people have no clue abt swimming etiquette and consistently find new ways to be offensive and disruptive. Swim in the morning. Morning swimmers are the nicest!