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Public Swim Sessions

Hello everyone,

Been reading the forum for ages and thought I would put up my first post........unfortunately a moan!

My regular club swim session was cancelled last night so I decided to go to my local pool for an 'adult only lane swim' - sounds good, no kids dive bombing on top of me.
The pool was split in half with a slow, medium slow, medium fast and fast lane with the rest being open to anyone.
I went into the fast lane to get some good training in before the relays at the weekend - to find 6-7 people already in there. Fair enough I don't expect it to be my own private lane. Then the fun began!
There was only 1 other gentleman who was actually swimming lengths, the rest were doing 2 lengths (slowly) then stopping for a rest taking up the entire wall so I couldn't turn. We were then joined by 2 girls who decided to swim sssllllooowww breaststroke and then kicking on their back extremly slowly and zig zagging down the lane.

Long story short my session was poop, it cost me £2.90 for a 45 min swim which I could barely swim in, and there was no sort of monitoring of the lanes to boot out people in the wrong lane. When I did mention to a couple of blokes that they would be better in the other lane I got a look that could kill and thought I was going to get a beating.

Is this just me being impatient or does it happen all over??



ps. next post will be a happier one


  • 45CDO45CDO Posts: 44
    It certainly happens at my local pool - very frustrating - although it's only £2.80 - so I feel better now )
  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    It's normal. It's best not to plan your sessions in too much detail - as the plans tend to go out of the window. You have to be flexible and fit in with what's available. Work on technique, do some drills - e.g. one hand.

    I have to go to public sessions all the time as I am away from home so much.

    Best value: Aidrie, Scotland: £2:50. A lovely light pool, plenty of space in the evening. Top value. Clean, not too warm and hardly anyone in it.

    Worst value: My local pool. Costs £3:60, and is only 23m long. Which is annoying. In the morning it's not too bad. Water is too warm though. In the evening you can't see the water for all the bodies floating up and down. Sunday morning, at 8:30, a group arrive. They swim one length. Then spend the next half hour standing in the shallow end (about 4 or them) completely blocking a lane, and do nothing. I've graduated to the fast lane now, so am not so bothered. The worst thing about this busy pool is that it is under threat of closure. Mainly the reason why I go to it, to be honest.
  • jibby26jibby26 Posts: 261
    grandyville wrote:
    Hello everyone,

    There was only 1 other gentleman who was actually swimming lengths, the rest were doing 2 lengths (slowly) then stopping for a rest taking up the entire wall so I couldn't turn.
    There is always enough wall to get one foot on for a push off. Your guarunteed they will make space for you on you next length if you try it as well.
  • risris Posts: 1,002
    happens everywhere, although my local pool is reasonably good for lane etiquette in the fast lane at 9pm on a monday night. my other half goes on a lunchtime and gets really annoyed with the people who are in the wrong lanes or tit about sitting at end end yapping.

    a quiet word is the civilised response, and just hope they take it in the spirit it is intended. i'm less civilised and tap feet if i need to.
  • Welcome to my world.

    One major problem I have is that although I choose to swim in the 'fast' or 'performance' lane; I am a girl, which automatically means that apparently I can't swim. So I get the boys starting off in front of me to do their splashy, mad and awfully slow version of crawl, holding me up and inevitably stopping, exhausted, after 2 lengths. However, despite the fact that I'm clearly not stopping and am actually quite swift, they will still insist on starting out again - right in front of me.

    'She may be quick, and she may swim 1500 without a break, but I'm male and so have priority because I must be a better swimmer'.

    I touch toes, spin round in front of them without touching the end, rush out in front before they can get there etc. It's an art.

    Please could someone build me my own 50m pool. And no chlorine while you're at it.

    Rant over.

  • TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    I am a an absolute shi*t when its comes to those situations, I hate to admit it but I often intimidate people to get out of the lane. I often find a few well placed tumble turns get them to move at the end, lots of splashing! I also swim up and down the middle of the lane, and I have on a number of occasions politely asked someone to go in the slow lane!
  • gunforhiregunforhire Posts: 457
    get up early?
    I went at 7am this morning. 4 lanes with not more than 3 people in each.
  • my gym pool is actually pretty good for this, unless you attempt to swim in the chav hours (1800 to 2000). Mornings are pretty awesome, the last time i went in there I managed to swim for an hour with no more than 1 other person coming into my lane, sweet!!

    But i do agree with the posts, people who swim like a lunatic for 1 length and then stop for 30 seconds and then do it again, what the hell are they achieving other than annoying me? Although being 6`2" and having very short hair does come in handy in certain situations, it is amazing what a stare can do!!
  • BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    I'm with gfh... my pool is lovely at 6:30 or after 9pm. When I swim near work (Staines) at lunchtime I just accept that it isn't going to be a long steady effort swim. I'll do nice slow drills... single arm, catch up, leg drills etc... or if the fast lane starts to clear maybe some faster stuff in small sets: 10 x 50m off 1 min, often.

    *EDIT* Oh dear. Just realised that doing sets of 2 lengths off 1min would make me hated by blurredgirl and BotP... sorry guys!
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    I get this so often in my pool i have just come to accept it, what makes it worse is that 4 nights a week the pool is used for the swimming club/lessons so half oof it is closed leaving only the breaststroke, slow and medium lanes. I don't know what it costs as i have a yearly membership which covers it, but the bnumber of times i have had to cut short a swim or tread water as some slow breaststroking muppet in the medium lane ambles up the pool and there is no space to overtake is ridiculous. Unfortnately there is nothing which seems to stop it in my pool. I have asked people politely, tapped toes everything but swim over people, although i did elbow one bloke in the face yesterday - but that was accidental. It should hopefully teach him not to swim slow breaststroke down the middle of the lane so it all worked out well.
  • 55ant55ant Posts: 22
    im pretty lucky as im a swimming teacher but also relief manager at my local leisure centre, so if i want to swim i can open up the pool early and have the whole six lane 25m pool to myself (and my wetsuit/tri stuff if i want!) plus then i can just hop out and go straight in to the gym!!

    if people are going slow tell the lifeguard, fast lane for fast people, at my work i changed it for a while to have strokes under the signs, ie slow/breastroke and fast/crawl, worked ok. maybe there should be a constant bleep test to see if your allowed in the fast lane?
  • nivaghnivagh Posts: 595
    it must be a mark of how common a problem it is and how annoying we find it that this thread re-surfaces (no pun intended) so often.

    I find the same problems up where I live - I use two LA pools run by Bassetlaw District council. My principal gripe is the water temperature, which is probably great if you have a blue rinse and like to swim gently, but if you're doing anything more, leads to discomfort and overheating.

    I have changed the times at which I swim in order to get the best chance of doing the sessions I want to - the earlier in the morning the more "serious" the swimmers seem to be and the more understanding they are of wetiquette. The school holidays are however a particularly bad time for floundering swimmers (ok, pun intended that time) though. If people are really blocking the lane I have mentioned that they should maybe change, but othertimes I just adapt my session to do drills, or change lane. I don't overtake because it's too much effort!
    I deal with people standing chatting in the shallows and blocking the lane by doing tumble turns. If they don't want to get wet they shouldn't go swimming!

    The most annoying thing is people swimming breastroke and taking up the entire lane with their legs. I really don't want my ribs raked by an old bloke's toenails. Bleurgh.
  • aoneill69aoneill69 Posts: 206
    no one mentioned the word 'nemesis' yet?....whole new world to me many months ago
    ...however now have multiple coping tactics from... 'forgot original session and do as much as possible without gettting too worked up'.....all the way thru to 'swift kick/elbow upon turn or via the middle lane' which will shift the beggars....
  • diddsdidds Posts: 655
    just ask reception for your money back - you paid to be able to swim "fast" in a "fast" lane and it was unavailable to you.

    Speak to the manager about it.

    make suyre they understand that as a member of a tri club [1] it is obviously pointless you recommending their facilities to the other members.


    [1] They won't know whether you are or not!
  • diddsdidds Posts: 655
    i sjhould have added... ask the life guards politiely first to "enforce" the arrangement. If they won;t, or can't, at that juncture ask fro money back and speak to the manager.

  • IronABSIronABS Posts: 66
    I'll name and shame the pool i train at - The Manchester Aquatics Centre - To be fair though it is usually just about timing it right, i swim there from 6.30am Tuesdays & Thursdays (sometimes Mondays) and its fine at these times as real swimmers who actually want to train and swim turn up at these times. Everyone understands "Pool Etiquette" i.e. fast lane for fast swimmers, if your foot is tapped let the faster swimmer through etc. However, i also train there on a Sunday night around 19.30ish and this is where you get your wall hoggers, people hanging on the lane ropes and the clowns who just want to mess around. These people invariably hang around the slow lane, but this pushes slower swimmers into faster lanes so they can swim without hassle.

    The worst thing about the Aquatics Centre is that it is never ever fully open. When there is 50m lane swimming only half the pool is ever open (1 slow lane - the size of 2 normal lanes, 1 medium lane and 1 fast lane) the remaining 4 lanes are closed. Now sometimes this is due to club swimmers training which is fair enough, however too often the public are squeezed into 3 lanes with the remaining lanes closed and empty. I've questioned the management on this (as i'm a member of the centre paying £20 per month for the use of half a pool) and they say it is down to the lack of lifeguards available for duty. Health & Safety gone mad in my eyes i'd be happy to sign a waiver stating it's my own fault if i drown just to be able to have use of the empty lanes, even share it with some like minded swimmers.

    I've also enquired about hiring a lane for private use but guess what you cant do this without a qualified coach!!

    So i give up and keep on plowing down the lanes if i come up behind a slower swimmer i give them the benefit of the doubt and tap them on the foot, if they dont let me through then i'll power past them on the next length squeezing them into the lane rope...
  • I just wrote a long rant about how there are very few things that make me as angry as slow swimmers in the fast lane [particularly the TW*T at my pool who insists on swimming alternate lengths crawl and brest and never moves out of the way despite polite requests and foot tapping!!], however for the sake of your collective sanity I decided to keep my ravings to myself. There are a couple of things I will still mention though...

    Firstly it is my understanding that foot tapping counts as polite pool etiquette, and that having been tapped the slower swimmer should continue to the end of their length and then stop to let the faster swimmer pass on the turn. Do people agree with me on this? I think a major problem is that most people have no idea how to behave in a pool, and that this could be helped by signs detailing some simple "etiquette rules"

    Secondly what is the consensus on how speed is defined, top down or bottom up? Should it be decided by the speed of the top few and everyone else distributes themselves below this (top down)? or should it be decided by how busy the slower lanes are so that at busy times even the fast lane is full of grannies (bottom up)?

    As much as I would like the top down approach at busy times I have some (limited) sympathy at busy times... for this reason I always have a t-shirt and baggy shorts in my swim bag to act as drag. Then even at the slowest of times I can pull on my T-shirt and shorts and not have to swim over the top of everyone else!

    Finally I have to dash now but will someone please create a thread where we can reach a consensus opinion on what is and what isn't good pool etiquette. I would suggest that this would (a) be very informative and (b) could be shown to pools in an attempt to get them to put up etiquette signs around the pool.

    p.s. A final solution is that my sister used to be a national level butterfly swimmer. She is terrifyingly fast and when I train with her, getting her to do a few 100m sprints butterfly at busy times is a sure fire way to clear the lane... for a small fee I would be prepared to rent her out to any other frustrated swimmers in the Oxford/Cardiff areas.
  • 55ant55ant Posts: 22
    In response to the 'health and safety gone mad' quote, you have hit the nail on the head.

    In my centre we have gone from 3 pools with 2 lifeguards, to only being allowed one pool with two lifeguards! 3 if we have swimming lessons, and 5! (Yes 5!!!!) If it is a fun swim.

    now at lets say an average pay of 6.50 per hour per lifeguard that’s a fair bit of money, but then you need to add more staff as lifeguards can legally only be on poolside for 60 minutes (90 in exceptional circumstances) so the more lifeguards you need on poolside the more you need to let them off! Add to this uniform, training staff etc

    if the centre has half the pool closed it is not usually their decision, if they are in a big company it will be the head of health and safety, add this to tight budgets in an industry where breaking even is tough and you can see that opening one lane for one swimmer to swim fast just doesn’t make financial sense, which is how these public facilities are run now, by people who don’t swim or use the gym, or even live in the same county, they just sit in an office with a calculator.

    Basically health and safety is crippling public facilities by making companies shoot themselves in the foot.

    cheers Europe. Now where the hell am i going to swim! a lake, hmmm......
  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    55ant wrote:

    cheers Europe. Now where the hell am i going to swim! a lake, hmmm......
    Nothing to do with Europe. Everything to do with "Have you ever been injured in an accident that wasn't you fault?". Councils are a soft target. Lots of money, it's public money, so less painful to part with. Councils are concerned with reputation - it's bad form to be seen to resisting paying out compo. And it's bound to get masses of headlines in the local press.

    The real effect is caused by insurance - if the councils don't do all these silly things, then they can't get the insurance cover. No insurance, no swim.

    But it is the trough swilling low life solicitor scum, dangling get rich quick promises in front of the no-brow shopping channel watching chav masses that are the real culprits.

    Relevant European Directives in last 10 years? Zero*.
    Increase in number of claims/prosecutions/legal actions? 10,000,000% *
    Increase in restrictions on claims/insurance premiums? 100,000,000%*
    Increase in people watching shopping channels? 100000000000000%*

    *These numbers are completely made up, in true tabloid style
  • nivaghnivagh Posts: 595
    Public money is easier to part with? I certainly hope that's not the case. Any councillor who thinks so has their brain disconnected because it's their own tax money!

    Personally I want the council to resist paying out millions to people whose genetic predisposition is to slip on fallen leaves in a rainstorm in the Autumn when they've had a gallon of ale and then decline any responsibility for their own actions.
    That's my tax money you're throwing at scrounging scum! it would be nice if you defended yourselves with some common sense rather than dropping your pants for the lawyers.

    *disclaimer* - I work in public procurement - it's my job to spend your money
  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262

  • IronABSIronABS Posts: 66
    ewanamacdonald - Your understanding of pool etiquette is correct and is how i see it - and you are right there are too many people turning up for lane swims who are totally ignorant of it - every leisure centre that offers serious lane swims should have leaflets or posters about it
  • transittransit Posts: 163
    During a recent swim session a lifeguard wanted to put a lane rope in to use one edge of the pool for staff training, however, I was mid 500m set so he did the obvious thing.....he waited til I was in full flow and then chucked the rope and floats on top of me, aaaahh, IDIOT!

    On the postive side, I made them reopen the pool tonight at 8.30 as they thought noone else wanted to swim and had closed it so I had it to myself for over an hour.

    Do occasionally get annoying swimmers but not too often, use to in old pool, as mentioned earlier, a bit of butterfly never hurts, oh, yes it does!
  • diddsdidds Posts: 655
    "add this to tight budgets in an industry where breaking even is tough and you can see that opening one lane for one swimmer to swim fast just doesn’t make financial sense"

    sorry 55ant... I just don't follow that.

    The 4 lanes are still full of water being filtered and cleaned and heated etc... so where's the saving?

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