April 4th, 2003, 12:36 PM
What can make a potentially great pool and swim meet (78-80 degree deep water, wide lanes, great gutter system, good starting blocks, great lighting, large scoreboard, excellent officials, etc.) into a mediocre one? The lane lines.
We recently swam our championships in a new state-of-the-art pool. The only problem was the slack lane lines. The water was very choppy and continued that way throughout the whole race. They served no more purpose than the old “floaties” we used 45 years ago. They were so loose they visibly rose and fell with the waves and had so many horizontal waves they looked like serpents at the surface. The lane lines did not cut the waves but rather rode them. When there was a race with an open lane, the waves pushed the lane lines well into the free lane. Predictably overall times were not as fast as they could have been.
It is not necessary to have the lane lines are tight as a piano wire in order for them to be effective, but tightening them up for a meet is an area that is most often neglected. We work too hard at our craft not to be given every opportunity to swim as fast as the pool allows.