How To Not Look Like A Fool At The Pool
Now that you have your gear ready, are mentally prepared and you’ve found a place to swim and have scheduled in your first workout, what do you do when you first get to the pool to train for your sprint triathlon swim? I’m sure not everyone is like me, but I had just a tiny bit of pride when I first began and did not want people to think I was a total newbie in the pool.
But wait! Before we get into how to start swimming, what happens when you show up at the pool and it’s jam packed!? When I was a beginner and this happened to me, I’d turn and walk the other way acting like I was looking for the steam room.
You can do one of two things at a busy pool: wait or share a lane. And since we’re all busy and don’t have time to lose, go ahead and join in the fun. Honestly, sharing a lane is no big deal at all…as long as you can swim in a straight line! All you have to do is sit with your legs dangling in the lane.
I know your first few pool session will still feel intimidating, but the truth is, no one thinks it’s a bigger deal than you do, so just jump in – literally!
Unless the swimmer is in the middle of some kind of timed set, they will most likely stop and ask you if you’d like to join in. You then say, “Yes, thanks. Would you like to circle or split lanes?” That will make you look like a seasoned vet in the pool.
Of course next you need to know what those mean…quick! It’s really quite simple: circling is when you stay on the right side of the lane, almost like traffic on the highway. Splitting a lane is just what it sounds like, where you take a side and I stay on my side.
Tips to make you NOT look like a beginner!
When I’m sharing a lane, I like to practice sighting every now and then. If I see that I’m about to pass another swimmer on the other side, I’ll glide for a second and make sure I’m hugging my side of the lane to avoid whacking arms mid stroke…ouch!
Some busy pools have lanes set up with various speeds. For example, they start slower on one end of the pool and gradually get faster. If you’re unsure, just ask a lifeguard.
One key here is to be predictable. Just like if you were cycling in a group of other riders, you’d would never stop suddenly, so don’t do that in the pool. And always stay on your side of the lane.
So find a pool and dive in!