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Thread: Normal Swimming Protocol?

  1. #1
    Very Active Member cantwait4bike's Avatar
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    Normal Swimming Protocol?

    i swim in the medium to slower lanes at a very competitive masters team workouts in san diego, and am usually asked to slide down to slower lanes when the equal ability swimmers (vs triathletes) show up.

    the funny thing is most of these swimmers use a pull bouy or fins for the WHOLE workout. i think it's a ego thing in la-la land.

    i would like to swim with people who can push me harder, instead of down in the last slowest lane. should i just chalk it up to normal swimmers protocal? or find another team?
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  2. #2
    Very Active Member Paul Smith's Avatar
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    Re: Normal Swimming Protocol?

    Quote Originally Posted by cantwait4bike View Post
    i swim in the medium to slower lanes at a very competitive masters team workouts in san diego, and am usually asked to slide down to slower lanes when the equal ability swimmers (vs triathletes) show up.

    the funny thing is most of these swimmers use a pull bouy or fins for the WHOLE workout. i think it's a ego thing in la-la land.

    i would like to swim with people who can push me harder, instead of down in the last slowest lane. should i just chalk it up to normal swimmers protocal? or find another team?
    Sadly I think you'll find this at most masters teams. Talk to the coach and see if he is willing to impose "equipment free" lanes.
    I crack myself up. It is jealousy. It is Boredom. I Did not accomplish enough when I was young, and I hate anybody faster/younger than me.

  3. #3
    Very Active Member aquageek's Avatar
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    Re: Normal Swimming Protocol?

    If you can keep up with them, tell them to beat it when they ask you to move. Also, like Pueblo says, request that equipment only be used when designated on the set.

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    Very Active Member elise526's Avatar
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    Re: Normal Swimming Protocol?

    Quote Originally Posted by aquageek View Post
    If you can keep up with them, tell them to beat it when they ask you to move. Also, like Pueblo says, request that equipment only be used when designated on the set.
    Ditto.

    What I would love to see is for you to stay put in your lane, let all these swimmers that tell you to move go ahead, and then pick them off during the set one-by-one (draft as much as you can in the beginning of the set).

    If the coach is asking you to move, insist to him/her that you can keep up and do what I suggested above - let everybody in the lane go ahead and then pass them as you go through the set. The goal is not to get passed. Getting passed makes it look like you can't keep up. Passing others, even if you start out last, makes you look better.
    Last edited by elise526; April 14th, 2009 at 11:11 PM.

  5. #5
    Wannabe Middle D. Swimmer qbrain's Avatar
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    Re: Normal Swimming Protocol?

    The response "Bite Me" comes to mind, but then I am not always on my best behavior.

    If you want to remain on friendly terms, there are many strategies on getting faster.

    If you truly belong in the slowest lane, work to become the lane leader. All the time, every set, without equipment, unless equipment is specified. Once you can do this, you are already in better shape then the guy in the next faster lane that never leads a set and is always using equipment.

    Move up for a set, then move back. If you know the workout in advance, you can pick a set you know you will do well at, kill yourself doing a great job, then move back down and recover.

    Cut kick sets short. If you are doing kick sets without fins and everyone else is using fins, then move down, do the kick set until everyone else is done, and move back up. When you are bouncing around lanes, you do the set the lane you are moving to is on. You might end up repeating and missing different parts of the work out, but who cares, you are getting a better workout that is going to make you faster.

    Push the intervals in your lane. If you are doing 100s on 2:00, start doing them on 1:50, then 1:45, then 1:40, then you will likely get kicked out of the lane up to a faster lane.

    I believe I have used most of those strategies in my swimming career, and I can promise you, I was never the most popular swimmer on the team, ever. But I always got faster.

  6. #6
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    Re: Normal Swimming Protocol?

    Do these swimmers know you are just as fast?

    If so - and it is just an ego thing for them - I'd say something like: "sorry guys but I can swim these intervals and want to stay in this lane. The other lane is slower than I want to swim."
    From the Rolling Stones "Mother's Little Helper" - "What a drag it is getting old....."

  7. #7
    Very Active Member ourswimmer's Avatar
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    Re: Normal Swimming Protocol?

    Normal swimmer protocol (by my definition) for organizing people into lanes for a workout would be to make sure that all lanes have people of similar speeds in them and that no lane is too crowded. If the lane really is too crowded when these other people are also there, and if you are really the slowest, then you should be the one to move. (Regardless of the righteousness of your position, you will never win the argument that "X should take off her fins and move down," so just let that one roll away.)

    But some lanes are going to be more crowded than others, if you have a bunch of similar-speed people in the workout and only a few who are way faster or way slower. So even if you are the slowest, if you can keep up with the lane and it isn't too crowded, then stand your ground. Has your swimming improved a lot but these others don't realize it?

    In cases of a toss-up, I would say that the regular should get priority over the drop-in.

  8. #8
    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: Normal Swimming Protocol?

    This may not be helpful,but if I was in a lane with slower swimmers I'd use it as an opportunity to do speed work(which there often is not enough of in my opinion.)Be the lane leader and do hard 50s,let your lane catch up and start again.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
    Allen

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    Re: Normal Swimming Protocol?

    You can always get inspired by these people by racing them from the next lane. You and only you can push you - not other people. I really think that masters swimming is what you choose to make of it.

    It's frustrating to see people using equipment to swim faster when you know they are your equals when they swim "naked." But that has nothing to do with you. (I've even heard this called cheating!)

    Decide what you want to get out of the workout and go for it. Don't worry about other people. The only protocol is that you're in a lane that suits your abilities and needs while respecting the needs of others. If it doesn't work out, be accepting of adjustments to make it fair to everyone. It's not a put down, it's just the nature of a swimming workout.

  10. #10
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    Re: Normal Swimming Protocol?

    Quote Originally Posted by qbrain View Post
    If you truly belong in the slowest lane, work to become the lane leader. All the time, every set, without equipment, unless equipment is specified. Once you can do this, you are already in better shape then the guy in the next faster lane that never leads a set and is always using equipment.

    Move up for a set, then move back. If you know the workout in advance, you can pick a set you know you will do well at, kill yourself doing a great job, then move back down and recover.

    Cut kick sets short. If you are doing kick sets without fins and everyone else is using fins, then move down, do the kick set until everyone else is done, and move back up. When you are bouncing around lanes, you do the set the lane you are moving to is on. You might end up repeating and missing different parts of the work out, but who cares, you are getting a better workout that is going to make you faster.

    Push the intervals in your lane. If you are doing 100s on 2:00, start doing them on 1:50, then 1:45, then 1:40, then you will likely get kicked out of the lane up to a faster lane.

    I believe I have used most of those strategies in my swimming career, and I can promise you, I was never the most popular swimmer on the team, ever. But I always got faster.
    Wonderful tips! I will try some of these myself! Thanks.

    I myself continually struggle with this problem, as I am continually trying to move to the next faster lane. I refuse, however, to use equipment to do so. I've been able to get faster and so far I've been able to move up 3 or 4 times.

    I say go with the flow for now, and try to get faster (as qbrain suggest) on your own abilities (versus getting help from the equipment). You'll be much better off in the end.

  11. #11
    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: Normal Swimming Protocol?

    So if these people are of equal ability does that mean they are swimming faster than you are when they don equipment? If so, and you can't keep up, I'd agree you should move down. If you CAN keep up then you should stay in their lane.

  12. #12
    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: Normal Swimming Protocol?

    Do they show up all the time? If not , then it's your lane !! Let them be in a triathlete lane for distance & toys - let them go off into the far distance!

  13. #13
    Very Active Member aquageek's Avatar
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    Re: Normal Swimming Protocol?

    If speed isn't the issue it's probably about familiarity. I know that I typically always swim with the same 3 or 4 lane mates. Maybe they are territorial like that. I personally don't care who I swim with as long as we are roughly equal in ability but I do know some swimmers who are a bit goofy on the territoriality.

  14. #14
    Active Member ddunbar's Avatar
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    Re: Normal Swimming Protocol?

    This fat man is one of those using the toys to keep up. I have been wearing fins to take some of the stress off the old shoulders. I swim with the fast for us lanes thanks to technique but still have a long way to go build the endurance up. Short distance interval work & IMs are good but I drop back in the mid distance repeats and or what become survival swims.

    The guys make me lead periodically and I take the ribbing about the fins but I am only one of two in our practice group that AARP cards and so far I have avoided shoulder surgery.

    I would like to have the fins off for breast stroke but when we get to stroke work it is usually coupled with something else in the set and there is limited transition time.

  15. #15
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    Re: Normal Swimming Protocol?

    This is master's, not age group club swim team. If people want to wear fins, paddles, snorkel and a wetsuit - more power to them.

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    Re: Normal Swimming Protocol?

    Speed is determined using whatever toys you are or aren't using. If you're keeping up with people, then you're keeping up with people. That's regardless of whether you, or they, are using toys. If you're keeping up with them, then stay. If you're not, then move down.

    I mostly get frustrated when people try to move up a lane, but then clearly can't keep up. For example, if we're doing a set of 200's, and someone is swimming above their level, not keeping up, and doing 150's, and sitting on the wall for the last 50... that's supremely annoying.

    However, if you're moving up a lane, and are keeping up, I'm happy for you to stay. Heck, I'm happy to have you jump on my feet for some drag to help get you through the set.

    (By "you", I'm referring to a general "you"... not necessarily you in particular.)

    -Rick

  17. #17
    Very Active Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    Re: Normal Swimming Protocol?

    Lanes differ in more ways than just speed. The workouts for those in slower lanes can be geared towards beginning swimmers who aren't in good shape and have no concept of lane etiquette. Sets can be more oriented towards easy drills and less towards conditioning. There may be no sets with butterfly or IM or if it's assigned, the novices will swim free or breast instead. There's a lack of predictability and consistency.

    With limited lane space, there will be some widely diverse abilities in any given lane. Going first in the lane doesn't really work when people are not on the same page. At least it's better than public lap swim.

    So, yes, I'd be pretty tempted to put on the equipment to try to keep up with a lane of faster swimmers that actually do the sets, communicate any differences, place themselves in the correct order of swimmers, and won't interfere with the other swimmers.

  18. #18
    Very Active Member cantwait4bike's Avatar
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    Re: Normal Swimming Protocol?

    Quote Originally Posted by knelson View Post
    So if these people are of equal ability does that mean they are swimming faster than you are when they don equipment? If so, and you can't keep up, I'd agree you should move down. If you CAN keep up then you should stay in their lane.

    yes when they wear fins and i swim w/o any toys they are faster. so i should just move down? guess you might be one of them...........i like the equipment free lane idea the best. will tell the coach to see what he thinks.
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  19. #19
    CreamPuff
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    Re: Normal Swimming Protocol?

    If it's the "anything goes" mentality (wearing fins, wet suit, paddles, etc.) I feel you should be able to stay and do what you want in that lane as well.

    I actually had someone in my lane recently who was too slow to be there. I only got annoyed when he pushed off right in front of me (and this was LC and I was lapping him). But in retrospect, if he wants to stay there even after being almost run over when I passed him, good for him (and for me - great OW practice.) So. . . I say anything goes.

    Why would that mentality work only one way? Your teammates get to have that mindset and you don't?

    It's strange to me in masters as to what is accepted as the norm. I personally find most master workouts as semi-organized chaos b/c most everyone is doing something very different and everyone has very different goals - different equipment; strokes; different sets; stopping; getting in or out; resting for a 50; resting and then jumping in on your feet and drafting off of you (ha! men tend to do this to me more than women); jumping right in front of you. I actually make up my own sets on occasion and swim at the back of the lane simply to not feel like a chump for following directions all the time.

    At least with the kids it's less chaotic and yelling is allowed and often appreciated when people try and pull crap.
    Last edited by CreamPuff; April 16th, 2009 at 07:22 PM.

  20. #20
    Very Active Member ourswimmer's Avatar
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    Re: Normal Swimming Protocol?

    Quote Originally Posted by CreamPuff View Post
    If it's the "anything goes" mentality (wearing fins, wet suit, paddles, etc.) I feel you should be able to stay and do what you want in that lane as well.
    Well, no. If four other people in the lane are doing a set of 100s on (say) a 1:15 per 100 interval, and Person #5 can't repeat them on faster than 1:25, Person #5 needs to move to another lane if one is available, even if Person #5 knows that Persons #2 and #3 couldn't make 1:25 either if they took off their fins. Person #5 is not the fin police. Person #5 might try exercising some charm to get the rest of the people to lose their fins so they can all work out together and go on 1:25, or even as suggested above enlisting the coach in this persuasive effort. But if charm and coaching fail then Person #5, not the fin-wearers, is out of sync and is being rude if s/he insists on staying and getting lapped halfway through the set.

    Same principle applies if Person #5 is the one who wants to go on 1:15 and Persons #1 to #4 want to go on 1:25. In that case, if Person #5 can't move s/he needs to figure out another strategy to avoid messing up the lane-mates' workout, like swimming harder and getting more rest, or (my personal fave) substituting backstroke for freestyle.

    Quote Originally Posted by CreamPuff View Post
    It's strange to me in masters as to what is accepted as the norm. I personally find most master workouts as semi-organized chaos b/c most everyone is doing something very different and everyone has very different goals - different equipment; strokes; different sets; stopping; getting in or out; resting for a 50; resting and then jumping in on your feet and drafting off of you (ha! men tend to do this to me more than women); jumping right in front of you. I actually make up my own sets on occasion and swim at the back of the lane simply to not feel like a chump for following directions all the time.
    I think you are just describing a difference in coaching style, between the age-group coach who is very bossy and the masters coach who is maybe not bossy enough. But really, those of us who go to masters-only workouts are not just farting around. Even in groups where space was so limited that people of pretty different speeds had to share, I have never been to an organized workout where it was culturally acceptable to change the set or to choose your own interval without consulting with your lane-mates. Instead, I have heard many conversations criticizing people for doing exactly that. I prefer when the conversations are polite but to those people's faces, although sadly I do hear them in the locker room too. So I don't think your description is the "norm" at all.

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