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Thread: How do you deal with a slow non-stop swimmer in your lane?

  1. #21
    Very Active Member aquageek's Avatar
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    Re: How do you deal with a slow non-stop swimmer in your lan

    One thing that hasn't been considered is if she is one of the seniors that spends 9-12 hours a day hounding the aquatics director. If that's the case, you might as well give it up.

  2. #22
    Very Active Member FlyQueen's Avatar
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    Re: How do you deal with a slow non-stop swimmer in your lan

    My approach would be one of two things;
    First, try talking to her. Politely explain the ettiquette. Invite her to join your lane if she will do your workout on your intervals. Otherwise suggest strongly that she find a lane that will suit her better.

    Second, swim fly. This seems to deter a lot of people. Sounds like it might not work with her.

    Yesterday I was swimming on my own before I coached. The pregnant ladies class was going on at the same time so there were only 2 lanes available. I got the dreaded wall lane. There was one swimmer in the other lane. A third swimmer came by and asked me if I could share. I quickly surmised that she would be a pain to share with and said sure but said that the non-wall lane is easier to share. She went into that lane just fine.


    Good luck!
    "I don't race to see who is the fastest, I race to see who has the most guts."

  3. #23
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    Re: How do you deal with a slow non-stop swimmer in your lan

    ddl: Are your lanes unusually narrow? Every pool I've been in there's room to pass even when someone is coming the other way. If there is such a large disparity in speed just swim around her.

    Of course someone needs to nicely talk to her to explain how she inconveniences others. After that, contact when going around her might emphasize the message.

    I sometimes encounter the opposite issue. My workout pace is substantially faster than almost everyone else where i swim. People will try to leave the lane, seeking calmer water if I get in. I always re-assure them they need to do their own workout. Don't stop for me or worry about what I'm doing. I tell them it's my job to get around them without interference.

  4. #24
    Very Active Member ddl's Avatar
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    Re: How do you deal with a slow non-stop swimmer in your lan

    She's not old, she's in her 20's. Yes, the lane is very narrow, it seems to be built for exactly 2 people in parallel and no more. Whenever there are three people swimming in parallel, what happens is usually the middle person would hold back his/her arms and quickly slip through underwater then resume his/her strokes.

    And again as I said, having such a swimmer in your lane is worse than having an 80-yr-old who just stands/floats still within a small area whom you just need to pass at that one spot then go on.

    As for the suggestion to talk to her, I think people haven't done that probably thinking as what some of you said, she has her right just as everyone else (which I agree). I tend to agree the strategy of returning the same, so maybe when we are both at the same end of the pool I should not wait since she doesn't wait

  5. #25
    Very Active Member chaos's Avatar
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    Re: How do you deal with a slow non-stop swimmer in your lan

    find a group to swim with. this doesn't have to be large, but 2 others make a good lane group and the slow poke may be less likely to want to join your lane.
    if you don't know anyone who is available to swim your hours, put an ad in the paper. offer small compensation like sports drinks and peanut butter crackers if they successfully deter "the dreaded one" from joining your lane.

  6. #26
    Very Active Member geochuck's Avatar
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    Re: How do you deal with a slow non-stop swimmer in your lan

    Some of you are very cosiderate of others when handling slow swimmers.

    Some of you are water terroists.
    Keep it simple
    George Park

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  7. #27
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    Re: How do you deal with a slow non-stop swimmer in your lan

    Quote Originally Posted by ddl View Post
    She's not old, she's in her 20's. Yes, the lane is very narrow, it seems to be built for exactly 2 people in parallel and no more.
    ddl, are the lanes circle swim? they should be, if they are not it is unsafe. The approach is simple: if she shows up in your lane, stop at the end and wait. Stop all the swimmers and announce that you are going to circle swim because it is unsafe otherwise. If she disagrees, tell management. Word it like this, "there is a swimmer who is not cooperating with the rest of the lane and she has created a dangerous environment for everyone else." 95% chance that it works.

    Also, considering you haven't spoken to her, there seems to be some/alot of assumptions made about her behavior that are based on pure speculation. I do that too, but in reality the only one that hurts is you. It is tough to take a step back and give people the benefit of the doubt, but you will live longer and be happier if you do. The suggestions that you make it uncomfortable for her are ridiculous. If you really want to go that route, why don't you just punch her in the face? That would be way more effective.
    Last edited by lefty; May 29th, 2009 at 02:26 PM.

  8. #28
    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: How do you deal with a slow non-stop swimmer in your lan

    My opinion is she's really not under any obligation to stop. She wants to get in and swim continuously. Sure it would be nice if she stopped to let people pass, but I don't like interrupting my swims for other swimmers, either. I really think the onus is on the faster swimmers to pass her, not for her to stop.

  9. #29
    Very Active Member laineybug's Avatar
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    Re: How do you deal with a slow non-stop swimmer in your lan

    Quote Originally Posted by ScarletSwimmer View Post
    She has as much right to a good swim in that lane as you do. Deal with it and get over yourselves.
    I agree with ScarletSwimmer. She has paid as much as you to use the pool and the lanes as you have. Find another lane to swim in if she swims to slow for you. There are swimmers out there who don't give a flip about swimming fast and getting faster so they can compete.

  10. #30
    Very Active Member aquageek's Avatar
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    Re: How do you deal with a slow non-stop swimmer in your lan

    Quote Originally Posted by laineybug View Post
    There are swimmers out there who don't give a flip about swimming fast and getting faster so they can compete.
    Well that makes no sense. Competing is irrelevant. Who wants to do something only to get slower or worse? Pack up the noodle if that is happening.

    I do agree with knelson and lefty, god help me.

  11. #31
    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: How do you deal with a slow non-stop swimmer in your lan

    Who started this post?? Will you tell us if you talked to her??!!

  12. #32
    Very Active Member ddl's Avatar
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    Re: How do you deal with a slow non-stop swimmer in your lan

    Yes we circle swim.

    The point is not whether she should be allowed in that lane or not--she should like everyone else. The point is, why should everyone else always wait for her to turn around and start a new lap at the end of the pool when she doesn't wait for others? It seems others are too polite. If everyone does the same as what she does, she will have to make adjustment.

  13. #33
    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: How do you deal with a slow non-stop swimmer in your lan

    This made me think about what happens sometimes on two-lane highways. You get one slow poke and then if one or two people are too timid to pass you end up with this long conga line of cars stuck behind the slow poke. Obviously the guy ten cars back in the queue will have a hard time passing everyone. You're out of luck until the cars immediately behind the leader get the balls to pass.

    In this situation the real culprits are the ones too timid to pass, not the slow poke. Same thing in the pool, as far as I'm concerned.

  14. #34
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    Re: How do you deal with a slow non-stop swimmer in your lan

    I think some of you are making this harder than it needs to be. It isn't a question of whether or not she has a "right" to be there; she does. She doesn't, however, have a right to make everyone swim her workout. It is a question of common courtesy and etiquette. Everyone of us has this problem on occasion. If it is a common occurrence, try speaking with her politely to explain the appropriate way to share a lane. If that does not work, talk to the life guards and ask them to speak with her. She has an obligation to not hold other swimmers up. The other swimmers in the lane have an obligation not to swim over her but to try to pass at appropriate times. It is best to work together rather than expect only one person to change. If she is constantly getting into a lane where she is mismatched, then the lifeguards need to encourage her to move to a more appropriate lane.

    I can't tell whether the talk of "intimidation" tactics is misplaced aggression, excess testosterone, or just showing off but, in my opinion, are rarely the best way to deal with these problems.

  15. #35
    Very Active Member aquageek's Avatar
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    Re: How do you deal with a slow non-stop swimmer in your lan

    Quote Originally Posted by jgale View Post
    ...excess testosterone...
    N/A

  16. #36
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    Re: How do you deal with a slow non-stop swimmer in your lan

    My team has a guy that wears an old, seriously big, nylon drag suit. It is so big, or maybe he just doesn't tie it, that you can see his butt crack when he stops on the wall, does a flip turn, swims breaststroke, etc. He has a decent body, but COME ON! I will NOT swim near him because I cannot stand to look at his butt crack throughout the whole practice.
    We don't just see a little crack, we see more than half of it, especially when he stops on the wall and makes sure that his backside is facing the oncoming swimmer.

    If talking to her doesn't work, pull out the dirty tricks and gross her out.

  17. #37
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    Re: How do you deal with a slow non-stop swimmer in your lan

    The fact is we all have to get along.

    Does she join the lane or do you all? If she joins, then yeah, someone should explain the rules of the road to her. Nicely. If you join her, then you have to accommodate to her pace. Sorry, faster swimmers don't own the pool.

    I'm appalled at how many of you would "swim fly", create turbulence or otherwise harass this woman.
    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." - Voltaire

  18. #38
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    Re: How do you deal with a slow non-stop swimmer in your lan

    I realize this is actually off-topic, because it wasn't a problem, but I like happy stories.

    Last Monday, I was in a lane with one of our slowest swimmers. This 55 year old had trouble completing a single lap when she started last summer, but tries to tackle whatever the coaches ask her to do. She even had the guts to race at Nationals and did a 40.8 in the 50 Free and 1:30 in the 100.

    It wasn't crowded, so people were picking lanes based on space, not speed. Another guy who is around the same speed as this 55 year old joined us, so we circled. It worked out fine, mainly because both are very nice people and 3 people in a LCM lane is still plenty of room even with a big range in workout pace. I told them not to stop when I come up on them, it's my job to go around and not interfere with their workout. They could do a 600 while I did an 800. At one point, Coach was working with both of them on technique & I was able to pitch in some help due to my underwater view of their strokes. As for my wake, the 55 year old thought it was helpful because she's talking about trying to tackle an OW.

  19. #39
    Distance Man tjrpatt's Avatar
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    Re: How do you deal with a slow non-stop swimmer in your lan

    Quote Originally Posted by Fresnoid View Post
    I realize this is actually off-topic, because it wasn't a problem, but I like happy stories.

    Last Monday, I was in a lane with one of our slowest swimmers. This 55 year old had trouble completing a single lap when she started last summer, but tries to tackle whatever the coaches ask her to do. She even had the guts to race at Nationals and did a 40.8 in the 50 Free and 1:30 in the 100.

    It wasn't crowded, so people were picking lanes based on space, not speed. Another guy who is around the same speed as this 55 year old joined us, so we circled. It worked out fine, mainly because both are very nice people and 3 people in a LCM lane is still plenty of room even with a big range in workout pace. I told them not to stop when I come up on them, it's my job to go around and not interfere with their workout. They could do a 600 while I did an 800. At one point, Coach was working with both of them on technique & I was able to pitch in some help due to my underwater view of their strokes. As for my wake, the 55 year old thought it was helpful because she's talking about trying to tackle an OW.
    Nice story.

    My lanemate is working on his freestyle tech. right now so he can go all out right so I will just pass him or he will stop at the wall. We have a system in pass right now. Slow people in LCM is not an issue because you have enough room to pass someone and you don't have to put extra energy pass them like you do in Short Course.

    Here is a story from my college days. One day, this former American U/1996 Olympian swimmer was training with us one day. It was me, a fellow teammate(another douche) and the Olympian. Why I was in this lane that day, I will never know because I was the very very slow one that day. The scholarship guys should have been in that lane, not me. Well, the Olympian was obviously lapping me like nobody's business. But, this douche later was telling people that I should stop at the wall when he was going to pass me. Sorry, I was raised at my age group program like that. Of course, he never said this to me. Just because you got 9th in the 1996 Olympics in the 400 IM, I wasn't going to stop my swimming so he could pass me the easy way. From the famous word of Whitney Houston, "Awwh! Hell to the Nawww!!!!" I guess that I was supposed to bend over backwards for him and ruin my practice efforts because the almighty was in my lane today.
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  20. #40
    Very Active Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    Re: How do you deal with a slow non-stop swimmer in your lan

    Turn in the middle of the pool so you can position yourself just in front of the swimmer and at least get part of your swimming done at your preferred speed. It does work better LCM than SCY, though; and it does screw up your own workout.

    I've also bagged my plans for fast intervals or other swims where my swim times were important and did drills/kick/offstrokes until the offender left.

    I have encountered some swimmers in public lap swim who are 2:30/50y with a wide scissors kick and flat arm recovery "freestyle". They are impossible to pass or even tap their toes without risking injury. It hurts even watching their technique.

    One facility "solved" this type of complaint by putting up signs limiting swim workouts to 15 minutes !!

    It is a very strong argument for training in an organized workout (USMS workout) or shifting your workout times. The folks who swim 6AM are an order of magnitude better caliber than those that swim at 6PM at the fitness club I sometimes swim at.

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