Monday, 6 March 2017

Tales from the fast lane- Part 1


I am very grateful that at the moment that the pool I swim in is unusually quiet, and that today I've been able to have a lane to myself, so when I am swimming I can concentrate on my stroke, rather than focussing on the possibility of someone kicking me. I have learnt though, over the last couple of years, that just because there are free lanes (plural) it doesn't always mean that you actually get one to yourself. Some people just want to share!

One such occasion happened just after the morning rush. The pool was empty except for myself and another lady at the other end of the pool, when an older lady arrived. She entered via the steps of the fast lane, where I was swimming and stayed there. She began doing some quite technical stretches using every resource handy to her - the steps, the hand railing, the rope. It was all very impressive, in fact one such stretch I was worried that she would require assistance to un-pleat her legs it looked so complicated. It is usual in my pool that when someone enters the lane you are already in, you stop and establish whether you will keep to a side (usually when there's just two) or rotate. I stopped, and asked her if she minded keeping sides, or alternatively she might prefer another lane where there was more room i.e., one of the other empty three lanes. She declined the other lane offer, but thankfully agreed to keep sides. I set off again only to find her on my return lap in the middle of the lane doing back stroke. The less selfish person would have given the lady the lane and moved, but unfortunately I wasn't feeling very benevolent on this particular day. I just felt hacked off. So making my point (I really wish I'd not bothered and moved) I carried on.

The lady had an impressive repertoire of strokes, some I'm not entirely sure have a recognised name,
but got her from one end of the pool to the other safely none the less. My swim was becoming less and less enjoyable, and more of a self inflicted challenge. The lady weaved her way from side to side, up the middle and across our lane, whilst the others remained empty. It became quite a feat of navigation at times, however after studying her training pattern for the previous (and long) half an hour (it became almost obsessive), I was pretty confident I knew where she was headed. I was tempted to move after several near misses, but by the time I had seen reason I had only a handful of lengths to go, and this is when the incident occurred. I had managed to navigate my way past her many, many times, and only once made contact with no blood being shed and no bones broken, however she suddenly pulled out an unexpected manoeuvre as I was about to overtake her (on my side). She went from her side to the middle leaving me nowhere to go - nowhere that is except under her... And that's exactly where I went. I have no idea why, I have no idea at all, only when I was under her there was no going back, or to the side or to the front, as once I had committed to this unusual manoeuvre, she decided to go faster. There I was in a compromised position, running out of room, running out of air and running out of steam, whilst the lady was completely oblivious, or so I thought.

We reached the end of the pool with synchronised timing. I emerged from the deep gasping for air and decided to finally threw the towel in and call it a day. After I had caught my breath and was about to get out, the old lady stopped her swim and said to me with no hint of irony "these lanes are really far too narrow to be swimming under water like that dear. It's really quite dangerous." I couldn't have agreed more!

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