It’s an intriguing thing the different speeds people go at in pools. It’s almost as bad as road rage, and happens all the time. David Wilkie’s little brush with controversy shows it’s a problem that needs to be handled by the sports centre, not the swimmers. I once swam in the famous North Sydney Olympic Pool where a swimmer was unceremoniously moved from one lane to the other for going a bit slow. To be fair they have the luxury of space, which most pools in the UK do not. But despite his chagrin he did what he was told without any fuss.
We all know stories of people who have clearly not read the unwritten rulebook on lane etiquette, and it’s often quite funny. But for most it’s a right faff for a fast swimmer to dodge and weave around a breaststroker (no offence intended) or someone performing an exotic inconsistent drill. But surely the slower swimmer “wants” to keep out the way don’t they?
The answer normally relies on deft diplomatic skills being applied to the situation and a kind exchange of words – which is easier said than done. So come on sports centres and pool management – step up to the mark, get your lifeguards trained and become known as the go-to-place for decent and well-policed lane swimming. It’ll pay you back many times over to have a thriving cohort of keen lane swimmers boosting your coffers. Or, and of course I would say this, give the pool a miss and get outdoors – you’ll never have this problem.
Tom is one of the two co-founders of Henley Swim, and has been involved in organising mass-participation swimming events for over 10 years.