They are out there; in our pools, on our teams, and in our lanes.
The swimmers who, for whichever of the following reasons, have a particularly adept way of making us go a little crazy.
Here are 12 ways that our swimmers drive us a little mental:
1. Hot Breath Harry. At the wall after every rep, every set, every single lap you are being breathed on by the swimmer next to you. Seemingly out of shape all season long this swimmer is blind to the fact they are breathing all over your face and ears. On another note you know what they had for lunch.
2. The Outhouse. It’s a frustrating reality that a lot of swimmers pee in the pool. What’s worse than this? Being told by your lane-mate that he or she is freely peeing—and celebrating it. It’s nasty. Just…stop.
3. Sandbaggin’ Sally. We all know this swimmer. Heck, they probably are more than fully aware that they do it, but keep doing it anyways. For 95% of the main set they will cruise along towards the rear of the lane, quietly biding their time. On the last rep out will come a superhuman effort, a near PB, crushing the lane-mates in one Sammy-save-up moment of glory.
4. The American Standard. We have all been there at some point. But there seems to be that one swimmer who is always afflicted with a 15-minute bathroom trip just as the main set is getting jotted up on the whiteboard. (So named after the toilet manufacturer.)
5. The Expectations Manager. Managing expectations is what this swimmer is all about. As a result they refuse to go first in the lane (even though they are the fastest swimmer in the pool). And they’ll will bemoan the set at hand (and then lap everybody). By setting the bar low they can never be disappointed.
6. The Equipment Failure. Fixing goggles is a great way to procrastinate starting the big set at hand. So is spending a few minutes tugging at the drawstring that mysteriously and suddenly recoiled into the depths of your suit. Loose earplugs that refused to stay in place was always my sure-fire way to get a couple minutes extra rest where necessary.
7. Nah, you go ahead. Is there anything more irritating than having a swimmer on your butt for the duration of practice? Consistently grazing and scratching at your feet, tucking in behind your wake to coast over the course of practice? And yet, when you get to the wall, and ask them to go ahead, they’ll say, “No, you go ahead.”
8. The No Show. This swimmer attends practice infrequently to the point that there it is cause for sarcastic celebration when they actually do show up. To make things more infuriating, because this swimmer is perma-tapered they usually end up swimming really fast at practice, sowing doubt in the preparation in other swimmers.
9. Scuba Steve. When it comes time to doing the main set, this swimmer will test his hiding and breath-holding skills by hiding in the depths of the pool. Hoping that coach, being on the far side of the pool, won’t notice, Scuba Steve will sink to the bottom, and spend the main set smiling and waving at you as you swim along.
10. The Bad Driver. Swimming provides a good preview for how kids will drive on the road. Can they swim in a proper circle? Can they merge? Can they pass without careening into fellow swimmers? Pushing off right before a faster swimmer is coming into the wall to turn should be considered a healthy-sized demerit for the young driver’s exam.
11. The T-Hugger. At the end of a length, whether it is during practice, or during meet warm-up, it’s custom to move over to the corner of the lane to allow other swimmers to do thinks like turns. It never ceases to amaze when someone gets flipped turn on for hanging on the wall in the middle of the lane, and then turn around with a “what was that for?” look on their face.
12. The Redo. You worked your little tail off for the whole main set. Kept the breathing pattern. Did 3 perfect little dolphin kicks off every wall. And squeaked under your target interval. As you revel in your post-main set glory, those awful words come out of coach’s mouth, “Do it again!” Turns out, lil Mikey at the end of the lane didn’t hold the breathing patterns, no dolphin kicks, and sat out half the reps, insuring the whole lane/group gets to redo the entire main set.