Monday, 22 February 2010

Pool Rage

I'm generally a mild-mannered person and like to think of myself as being fairly considerate and thoughtful of others. My motto is 'politeness maketh the person', and will even apologise to inanimate objects if I happen to bump into them.

I thought my consideration extended to Greens Health & Fitness Club, Giffnock, Glasgow , where I've been a member since October, 2007. I use the pool 3 to 4 times a week and really enjoy being in the water and having some relaxation in the steamroom and sauna. There's a nice group of regulars around the time I go and apart from it taking longer to get showered, shampooed and respectable looking before I leave than actually exercising and relaxing, it's generally a pleasurable, harmonious experience.

I swim in the slow lane and am the model of courtesy, making sure I wait in between lengths to allow any faster swimmers close behind me to go ahead.

I therefore found myself initially astonished and then enraged, to be stopped at the far end of the pool by a very young life guard who asked me to try not to splash fellow swimmers.

My routine in the pool, is to kick off underwater and stage submerged, using a back kick, until I run out of breath. The rest of the length is completed swimming the breaststroke, but without using my legs, as I have back problems and the breaststroke scissors kick is no longer an option. I don't batter like mad for these first few metres, but I like to at least use my leg muscles for part of the swim. And no one has ever remarked or complained about it - until now.

I seethingly finished my swim and pool exercises and stretches and marched over to the young man, whom I'd never seen before. I think he realised he'd been guilty of an error of judgement when he saw me storming towards him.

"I hope you didn't think I was being rude," he said, in response to my, "I've never heard such nonsense in all my life - this is a swimming pool, for goodness sake - if people are worried about the occasional splash, they shouldn't be in the water or, like the rest of us, they should get goggles!"

I pointed over to the water, where there was someone in the fast lane doing the butterfly stroke and sending waves of water cascading over the edge of the pool. There were also a couple of people doing the backstroke in the middle and slow lanes using kicks that must have been equally as vigorous as mine.

He apologised, and I stormed off for a shower. As I was going round to fill my water bottle before going into the steamroom, I could see (not that easily, since I had by now removed my 90 percent vision goggles) a yellow shape walking round towards me. He'd obviously realised he'd boobed big time.

He approached me again, and apologised for being rude. I pointed out, quite accurately, that he hadn't been at all rude - just very misguided and it was perhaps due to a swimmer with a problem who had complained. Well actually, he confessed, no one had complained - it was just that he had seen a couple of people appearing wary of being splashed by me. Of course, that nearly set me off again, and he very quickly tried to placate me by saying that he thought my technique in the water was very good and he apologised again.

It took several extra minutes of deep breathing exercises in the steamroom to calm me down and it was comforting to know that my astonishment was shared by a fellow regular.

So, my advice to fellow swimming pool users - expect to be splashed a little and, if it's a problem to you, get a pair of goggles!


  1. Good grief! Isn't being splashed a bit just a given if one is in a swimming pool with other swimmers around? I haven't been in a pool for a very long time, but there's still water involved, right?

    That young man must have been trying to show he was The Boss, and you just came in for his sorry attempt.

    Hope he's learned his lesson, and hope your next swimming experience is much more pleasant!

  2. You tell him, Sharon.

    I've done a wee bit of swimming in my time and my peeve is the "old dears" down at the local municipal who object to you swimming lengths in their pool and who wait until just the right moment...and swim directly across your path when they are doing breadths.

  3. Maybe he thought he was trying to look after everyone, SCB - but it was ludicrous. I do remember hating getting water in my eyes and wasn't keen to be splashed, but that was by kids mucking about and jumping into the water. And, I realised that the remedy lay with me - if it bothered me, then goggles was the answer.

    Yes, Michael, I do avoid being in the water just before the Aqua aerobics classes start, because the more mature ladies come swarming in and tend to dot themselves about the slow lane until it's time for them to decant to the fast lane, where the class takes place.

  4. He should see ME in a pool! That scene in Moby Dick where Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab finally harpoons the Great White Whale and Moby breaches is nothing compared with the water displacement that I cause when I'm in the swim!

  5. Some of the regulars had a good laugh about it when I told them this morning - after a very enjoyable swim in a sparsely populated pool.

    One of them put it down to the 'blue rinse brigade' and another to the foolish callow youth thinking it was the 1st April.

    Ah, now I know why you go to Greece for a few weeks every year, Brian - at least you won't cause the water to run out in the sea!

  6. Thanks, Rosemary.

    Anyone using the pool at the Erskine Bridge Hotel the weekend after next, beware!