The Swimmer’s Nemesis

Posted on February 14, 2014. Filed under: swim |

I didn’t plan to write a blog this evening.

I write for a variety of reasons – to update friends and family, to keep a record for myself and, most importantly because I am too damned lazy to be a spree killer.  Today I came close.  This evening I have had to write a cathartic blog to purge my soul of the kind of darkness that only comes from a close encounter with one of life’s true cockspanners.

I am a swimmer.  It’s a bold statement but relative to my running and cycling it is at least realistic.  IMG_20140130_124048And if there is one thing that really gets to a swimmer it is poor lane etiquette.  It might seem petty to the landlubber but there is a whole chlorinated ecosystem that must be respected or we will descend into savages.

Almost three years to the day since I wrote about my swimming pool nemesis, who I called Mrs Bannatyne, I had a similar experience.  And, I shit you not, it was the same “crabbit, moaning, wizzened old prune”.  Think Madge from Benidorm, but without the Shopmobility scooter and the (comparatively) attractive personality.

A couple of weeks ago she complained about me using hand paddles. I know this because the staff told me and had invited her to swim at times that I wasn’t in.  That does not endear her to me much.

I will not dwell on this. I will merely present the facts and I would be grateful if you could validate my rage by adding a comment if some bottom-dwelling lane territorialist has spoilt your swim with similarly unacceptable behaviour.


We are at a 25 metre swimming pool mid afternoon on a Friday.  We have no lifeguard.  There are two lanes roped off for lane swimming – one marked fast, one marked slow. There are two people in the whole pool.


The grumpy old prune arrives poolside and showers.  She surveys the pool.  Does she:

a) go into the “slow” lane which is invitingly empty with mirror flat water; or

b) go into the “fast” lane occupied by an Ironman and a Channel swimmer doing hard 400m repeats?

Oh yes she bloody did.  WTF was going through her tiny mind?  And worse than that she slapped her way through 50 metres (her stroke has not improved in 3 years) in the centre of the lane and when she got to the shallow end, she looked at channel swimmer and I like we had both just taken a huge shit in HER lane.

That was it. Rudeness and stupidity.

Let’s start the campaign to get rude cockspanners out of polite swimmer’s lanes in the comments below!


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13 Responses to “The Swimmer’s Nemesis”

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Ha ha ha this is so true! There is a guy in our pool who zig zags across the whole pool, he does back stroke and basically smashes his way through the pool hitting every other swimmer! At some point my patience will disappear and I’ll have to slap him in the face with a float


You can imagine what they would say if you behaved like that anywhere else in the gym!

I think we should wait till they are all in, get out and chuck in a toaster.


Sounds like a plan !!


It is by far the biggest downside to swimming – a downside that you virtually never encounter on bike or run, and if you do it’s easy to resolve.

At swimming it’s impossible to resolve without confrontation at some level, and pool lifeguards never want to manage a pool layout they may have chosen.

I do own a gas powered speargun as it happens…..taking it has at times become tempting.


I could test it for you.

If the spear would penetrate her wrinkled hide.


Oh dear DC…it sounds like you need to get a job, for starters that’ll put paid to the mid afternoon swims! I fear I may have been that ‘Madge’ type character @ Tullos pool in Aberdeen many moons ago. Having gone for a lunchtime swim, I headed for the quietest lane (in my defence there were no signs)…& found myself in with some of you fit type folk…however I was promptly informed of my error & asked to get in with the rest of the slowcoaches. Probably not the sympathetic post you were looking for…happy paddling!


If you were in my lane you would know about it.

And why on earth would I want to work on Friday afternoons? Ya clown!


…I fear I would (know about it!) & right enuf…I’ll get my coat (or should that be speedos)

I’ve not unleashed the big blue whale in the UK for sometime…& it could be sometime yet. I don’t Hazleheid is quite ready for me yet!


COMPLETELY sympathise. I was a competitive swimmer until I was 16 and trained 6 times a week. This was my WORST nightmare and I very nearly punched a woman in the head several times due to her ignorance. I’ll bail you out, pal.


I didn’t know you were a swimmer Bean! It makes you a better person with shoulders that no-one should argue with.

The offer of bail if very kind but I hope if the attending five – oh have ever swum before they will taper her right in the bingo wings!


I ALWAYS go for the slow lane. Cos all the old biddies and super fast folk are in the fast lane of course.
One solution….. if there’s no lifeguard. Swap the signage and enter the new fast swim lane. When Mrs Wrinkly appears and makes her assessment that she’s the fastest wrinkly in town. Swap lane and the signs back to what they were and carry on without the Mrs Wrinkly in the wrong lane. And nooooo officer, I’ve never ever ever done that myself, ehem, cough…..noooo!! Big grin.


I’ve never done that *innocent face*.

Liked by 1 person

I am enraged for you.

You are right. She is wrong. Swim with sharp elbows in the future…no harm in bossing the lane a little


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