Okay, here’s a question. What do you think is the BIGGEST challenge in swim training? You might think its gaining a feel for the water, or perhaps bi-lateral breathing, or maybe even getting a training plan together. Nope, no, got that sorted, nooooo. Its even simpler than that. For me, the biggest challenge I face is actually getting to the pool and getting into the water.
I was part of a swim relay and swam the English Channel in 2014 and I get very excited and want to jump in water when near a large stretch of it (perhaps I was a labrador in a previous life). I’ve done a few other marathon swims over the years and really, really loved them so you may think its really odd that I can’t herd myself into the pool. Its even more worrying when you realise that you’ve got to get in the water as you’ve signed up for two marathon swims in the summer.
Like any of the swimmers I’m lucky enough to have made friends with over recent years, I suffer from a local pool – lovely though it is – that doesn’t seem to really care about the people that use its facilities. It wants to be seen to accommodate the public at large, but it doesn’t really seem to accommodate the folks who want to swim. One of my best friends who happens to be one of the best swimmers I have ever seen, was told off at her local pool for going too fast.
I’ve laughed out loud at the Facebook post a friend of mine posted after a particularly ridiculous Swim Rage incident. Like him, I have ended up in the pool reception, dripping water everywhere clothed only in hat and cossie ranting because of the behaviour of other swimmers and the abject lack of discipline asserted by the lump of blubber – more commonly known as a life guard – slumped in its high chair doing nothing to keep the pool safe. I’ve commiserated with other friends who’ve bemoaned the fact that their pool has banned the use of fins and I’ve also been abused myself. I was punched – on purpose – by a man because I swam past him. We have all experienced other pool users who seem to regard people who wear swimming hats as weirdos whose sole use in a pool is to be the butt of abuse.
This is all on top of feeling a little bit shy. I don’t belong to a club and swim on my own. It can be incredibly intimidating when there are lots of other people around – and then there are the ‘swimmers’ – you know who you are, people – who want to hog a lane all to themselves and splash and thrash and tutt when you join their lane. Then they bust their guts to overtake you – only to fail on some occasions – and then just make life plain awkward when all you want to do is peacefully do your own thing.
Now that I have got myself into a stew and raked up all my hurt feelings, I’ve got to get back in the water…. Maybe my New Year’s Resolution should be to grow a pair….