10 Things Our Swimmers Hate

Frustration….and the source of irritation is?

Being a swimmer has its ups and downs. Whether we like it or not, swimming becomes our identity. With the territory comes unspoken codes of conduct, called lap swimming etiquette, and when broken, can cause some dissension on the team. Although everyone is different in the water, we all have the same things that makes our blood boil. Here are some sources of annoyance that makes swimmers blood boil.

1. Leaving the wall early during a set.

In the swimming world, there’s an unsaid rule that everyone follows: never leave the wall earlier than five seconds behind the person in front of you.You’re told by the coach to go ‘Red Top’ on the clock for a 100m sprint. The second arm sweeps round, 5, 4, 3, 2… and boom! The person in the next lane is off 2 secs early. Swimming so closely leads to unnecessary drafting and just being inside the person’s bubble in front of you. Those who don’t follow that rule have it out for themselves. Premature ejection. You, not wanting to lose, sprint to catch them and end up going so hard you emerge from the water looking like a melting waxwork. At the end the coach shouts everyone’s rep times but doesn’t add the extra seconds they pinched, and they ‘beat’ you by three-hundredths of a second.

2. When someone touches your feet.


Just like leaving early, touching the person’s feet in front of you seems to be one of the most annoying things among swimmers. You all set off on reps and the coach tells you to leave 5secs between swimmers. They just left two seconds earlier instead of five before hurtling after you to get on your toes. Although we share lanes with our teammates and sometimes they can become a little packed, there is no reason to be touching each other’s feet. It is irritating and messes up their stroke and their flip turn as well. Mind the gap If you’re going to swim faster than me, go ahead of me. Don’t stay on my feet unless you have a death wish.

3. People don’t let you pass

On another note, some people take you trying to pass them as a race. Well, it is not. We’re all good at different things in the water, and sometimes we forget to go in front of someone. So instead of touching their feet, we try to make a pass. This becomes a game we don’t exactly want to play, and most of the time, we end up losing. You’re swimming close to the lane rope, being considerate to other swimmers. But one person in your lane swims down the middle, either clattering your hand with theirs or making you clatter the lane rope. They’re unaware of their lane hogging but you think they should know better, so rather than say anything you spend endless lengths trying to clump them as you pass. PLEASE MOVE OVER….

4. When people turn around in the middle of the pool…or just stop!

While people who don’t let you pass are over-achievers, those who chose to turn around in the middle of the pool really pull strings as well. Instead of wasting energy to make a pass, they stop in the middle of the pool, take a good deep breath and turn around without finishing the length. This messes up intervals and confuses other people in the lane as well. Only sometimes is it a better option than trying to pass the impossible-to-pass teammate.

Lap lanes are intended for swimmers to swim laps, hence the name, but other swimmers enjoying the pool tend to wander into the lanes or simply don’t adhere to the designated areas. It is frustrating and breaks rhythm.

5. Pulling on the lane rope

Especially the back-stroker’s- this one’s for you! We’ve all fallen victim to this at one point or another during a swim practice. It’s hard to not pull on the lane line when your legs are giving out only half way through a tough set. The extra boost is nice every once and a while, but it can quickly become addictive if used untastefully. Before you know it, every once in a while becomes every length of backstroke you swim. Suddenly, you’ve been disqualified in the 100 back during a meet. Now, to face your angry coach…say no more.

6. Blitzkrieg… (or Sally Saver)….a very quick, intimidating attack.


Not at all intended against Michael Phelps in photos above…

We all know that teammate who saves their energy for the very last 50 of the sprint set. Picture this: you’ve given the set your all and your legs and arms are numb. You’re just pushing to finish when suddenly, out of nowhere, your teammate that’s been taking it easy the whole session, zooms past you and touches the wall in what seems like record time for the end of a set. That, friends, is a ‘blitzkrieger’ at it’s finest. Sure, it’s hard giving 100 percent all of the time, but pushing ourselves even when it gets hard is so worth it!

7. Questions and story tellers during hard sets

Sometimes it’s nice to have talkative teammates. They can give us energy, positivety and motivation. Other times, however, this can go south – especially when you’re in the middle of a hard set. Moreover, these teammates tend to not listen when coach is explaining something and have no idea what’s going on. Sure, we want to hear their story, but is this really the best time? Not to mention, how do they even have enough oxygen to talk? The coach tells you all that the set is 16 x 50m off 45secs. At the end of the first 50m the person in the next lane says, ‘What are these off?’ At the end of the next 50m they say ‘How many is it?’ At the end of the next 50m they say ‘How many have we done?’ At the end of the next 50m you say ‘SHUT UP!’ (in your head).

8. The “I have cramp” stretchers


We all have that teammate who coincidentally gets a cramp in the middle of a hard set. While we’re dying, they hop out of the pool and stretch for 10 minutes or so until right before the sets ends. Then, they jump back in the water swimming faster than ever, touching our toes and trying to pass you. Suddenly, everything about the situation is irritating. We all have a cramp, kid, we all do.

9. Negativity

Everyone knows that negativity spreads far more quickly than positivity. It takes one Negative person to completely ruin a set for everyone, and negativity is difficult to bounce back from. It’s hard to be positive all the time, but sometimes positivity, is the only way to keep going. Leaning back on our teammates can help keep us going when sets get hard. Plus, there isn’t anything to gain from being negative. Sure, you may not be making your paces, but verbally showing your frustration isn’t going to magically help you swim faster, is it? Be positive, uplifting and encouraging. Try finding the best in every situation instead of sulking on the negative! Be a critical thinker not a critical person.

10. Did you win?


This can be one of the most complex questions to answer, especially for people who don’t understand swimming. Winning is a lot harder than people think it is, so when we don’t win, we try to find ways to explain how we did in terms of personal goal. This can be difficult to do. We cut time on our best race and beat out someone who always seems to swim faster than us. While to us that’s considered a self-victory, it’s not exactly classified as a win on paper. So, instead of spending time trying to explain what it means to win, we simply settle with saying “it’s complicated.” AND THEY STILL ASK????




Special thanks to Isabelle Robuck & Swimmingworldmagazine



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