I did lengths tonight at the community pool – in the slow lane. There were four or five of us hugging the edge or so I thought, trying not to bump into one another. But every so often I would feel myself whacked by the opposite swimmer usually on my back, sometimes on my arm or leg, hardly conducive to the euphoric state I try to achieve while in the water.
Finally I looked to see who it was. It was a tall, slender man with very long arms doing a back stroke, a breast stroke and occasionally a front crawl. And I noticed mildly outraged, he was not hugging the edge, following pool etiquette – rather he was practically hogging the whole of our narrow lane to himself, smack in the middle of it!
When I spoke to him, I said I think you just hit me as you passed (as he had just done - he didn't deny it) - I suggested politely but firmly that he could move over a little. He apologized but refused to move over because then his arms would hit the wall but he promised to be ‘more careful’. “I guess it’s because” he said, “I’m faster than you” – which apparently was true. So I suggested that he swim in the faster, ‘medium slow’ lane next to us, but he refused saying he’d been swimming in this lane for years. And this was where he belonged, in the slow lane.