How is swimming like blogging?

I swim 3-4 times a week in a local private pool. Normally swimming is pleasant. Sometimes, my routine swim is disrupted and I lose my inner calmness. Losing a peaceful mind is the last thing I need in the evening.

I’ve been affected by some selfish swimmers. Their inconsiderate behaviours include lane hogging, edge hogging (stretching out their arms, ah, just relaxing), shouting or playing ball game in the middle of the pool, doing the backstroke badly in a crowded pool with no sense of direction, kicking people without even apologising when doing the breaststroke incorrectly.

I wonder why some people lack the common sense in using the pool. However, what’s common sense? Who created the rules? What I consider as common sense may not be the common sense of certain loud or inconsiderate swimmers. Our purposes are different. While I swim as a form of exercise for relaxation, these people relax by doing nothing in the water. I go there to ‘work’, but they go there to chat, socialise, soak — everything apart from the main purpose of a swimming pool – swimming.

I tried to seek sympathy from my husband. However, he shows the typical spirit of British fairness by not taking his wife’s side. He thinks that the hotel guests paid for their accommodations and the facilities, so they could claim the swimming pool as theirs, be joyous and behave like typical over-excited tourists.

What about me, a regular paying client to the health club? I argued my rights.

Swimmer and blogger: Understanding the rules

Swimming and blogging play a big part in my life. I can see how my expectations to both swimming and blogging are connected. I expect swimmers to be respectful and considerate. For example, just leave a lane for competent swimmers by not taking over the whole pool. If you’re very fat, it’s more important that you stay within your lane. If you don’t wear a Sat Nav on your forehead, refrain from the backstroke altogether in a crowded pool. If you hit me by accident, just say ‘sorry’ and I’ll be fine.

I expect swimmers to understand their goal. A swimming pool is for swimming. Does it need further explanations? A swimming pool is not a King’s Arms pub. If you are ‘edge hogging,’ arms stretching, chatting, soaking, your belly is never going to become smaller, your arms are never going to be like Michelle Obama’s toned arms, and you’ve also taken the tiny precious space that I need to hit the wall.

These rules of understanding your goal, be respectful and considerate are applicable to blogging. I write and I share my views in words. Do I have a goal? Yes, I would like to better myself in writing. If I persevere, I’m more likely to improve, to write well and to train myself to think more sharply. If I just stand around like the ‘edge hoggers’, without even trying, being too ‘relaxed’, I’m not likely to get the writing toned arms, am I?

I would like to have more wonderful news to share about my swimming in the future. I hope that all swimmers do swim, and if they can’t swim well, they can take time to learn how to breathe, kick, stretch in a good rhythm properly. Success is achievable. It took me many years of practice to become a competent swimmer. If they try hard enough, they’ll get healthier, and with everybody swimming, a friendlier and more energetic atmosphere in the pool will be generated. 

In blogging, I’m trying as hard too.

You can find more Blog Exercises on . This is a year-long challenge to help you flex your blogging muscles.

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16 thoughts on “How is swimming like blogging?

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      Hogging is terrible. It is inconsiderate and people who behave like this lacks social awareness. Many years ago, I swam in a fast lane, and apparently, I wasn’t fast enough, and I was told off by some stronger swimmers. I wasn’t aware that I was slow then. That was me — hogging other people’s lane. Later I moved to the medium lane, and everybody was happy. I learnt my lesson.

  1. Ruby

    This is an example of an economic principle – that of “ownership” of a limited resource. The theory is that one group has the rights to the resource; the other group has to pay for those rights to be waived. Classic example is the river that the local inhabitants want to draw fresh water from, but the factory wants to use for waste disposal. Either the inhabitants have to pay for the factory to stop using the river (the factory has the rights) or the factory has to pay to clean up the river (the inhabitants have the rights). Or they come to some agreement (the factory moves the waste outlet to below where the fresh water is drawn. And that’s about as much as I can remember

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      Excellent point, Ruby. You never fail to impress me with your philosophical thoughts.

      You talk about the ownership of a limited resource. I feel that there’s another reason to the conflict: the regulars vs the new comers.

      We, the fee-paying, regular swimmers are used to the hidden rules of using the facilities. We know each other well and we know each other’s preference. Some of the regulars don’t swim much either, but at least they’re not in the way. I found that new comers may have got too excited by their holiday, or they may have forgotten that it’s a private pool (open to the public) instead of a sizzling beach in Spain.

      The two groups have different expectations of the outcome of swimming.

      Perhaps I should learn to accept disappointment and be a bit less grumpy in life in general.

  2. timethief

    I will speak on the other side of this issue. Unless you pay to use a lap pool to do nothing but to swim laps like an automaton then I think your complaints are petty. Swimming pools are great places to socialize, make friends and have fun in the water. Not everyone is using them the way you want to do who are you to stand in judgement over them? I think you ought to make choice to address your need and that means finding a lap pool where you can pay to use a lane exclusively to swim your laps.

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      Thank you for your feedback, timethief. It’s always interesting to see two sides of a story. If I could find a clean pool with flexible opening time locally, then I would definitely switch so that I could do lane swimming. It would be more satisfying too. Excellent advice from you!

      However, I couldn’t find such a place. At the moment, this private pool is the best for me though its pool is small, with occasionally very disruptive swimmers (or non swimmers).

      I think the ways people use the pool reflects different understanding of the purpose of a swimming pool. Serious swimming vs swimming (or non swimming) as socialising. When the two clash, it’s unpleasant for everyone. I’m sure those play (or soak) in the water for fun would also feel uncomfortable by real swimmers around them too.

      The best situation would be a compromise, and self-regulating. The other day, the manager of the club had to come to the pool to speak to some people nicely. If some people had been a bit more considerate and self-regulating, the manager wouldn’t have had to do so.

      Thank you for your comment.

  3. timethief

    Hi there,
    I’m so sorry I didn’t realize you have no alternative lap pool locations to go to. Maybe approaching the manager could result in a time set aside for those who want to swim without socializing. You have nothing to lose from asking and everything to gain so why not approach him or her?

    Best wishes

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      Hi timethief,

      I’m lucky that the past weeks, my swimming was very good. Actually there’s a public pool with lane swimming near me, but it’s not as clean, the changing room is very unhygienic, and the opening time is short and not flexible.

      Thanks for your advice, and I’ll definitely ask the manager. “Nothing to lose.” Currently, a small area is reserved for children learning 1-to-1 swimming. I often think that if everyone is sensible, be more respectful, and have a bit of awareness — just look around, then everybody will be happy with the limited space, and the manager can enjoy his cup of tea in his office!

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  5. fisefton

    I can’t believe that I only just found your blog. I love it!

    I chose to become a member of a gym with 2 or 3 lanes roped off for “swimmers” for this reason. If I go swimming with my son we use the general swimming area even though we are trying to swim laps and do try to keep out of the way of other swimmers. However, I have found that lane swimmers don’t always have common sense or know lane etiquette either. I used to swim in the medium swimmers lane until I was spending more time treading water than swimming as the slower swimmers wouldn’t let me past, so moved up to the fast swimmers lane. There was a swimmer in the fast lane who I think was in that lane because he was swimming front crawl but I kept catching him easily whilst swimming breaststroke! Lanes are designated by speed, not stroke. OK, rant over.

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      This really makes me laugh. You really understood my points and my frustration.

      Once I tried to overtake some slow swimmers, but I didn’t overtake fast enough and there was a lot of tension. Lesson learnt. I told myself that unless I’m confident, I shouldn’t overtake. Sometimes swimming behind slow people makes me learn to be a bit patient.

      Ultimately, I think swimming pool is for swimming, and people should really develop some good common sense. I think we expect cyclists to observe the road traffic while on the road too, so it’s the same for all swimmers and non-swimmers, when you’re in the water, there are rules and boundaries, so that everybody is safe and happy.

      In my Swimathon in 2009, I was behind a very slow man. He was in his own world happily swimming very slowly. Once I changed to another path, everything was ok. Speed is not a problem. If the pool is regulated, it’s such a lovely place for people of all swimming abilities. A bit like blogging, isn’t it?

      Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

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  10. liz allen

    I am someone who, becuase of physical problems, has to do a modified backstrocke. I did not ask for the physical problems. I do my best to be aware of others and actually adapt to others very well. The challenge when swimming with a backstroker, even a more competent one, is they cannot precisely place their hands. You know how some trucks on the road will say “wide load”, right? Backstrokers have as much right to swim laps as everybody else. It is every swimmers responsibility to do their best to adapt to others in the lane and, at the same time, try to “forgive those who trespass against”. I adapt to crowded pools very well, but ’twas not ever thus. It took years of work, practice and coming home upset and crying at the way i was yelled at by other swimmers to get to where i am now. So, you see the notion that i should restrict my swimming because of the way I am is offensive. How can you learn without practice? This is why I prefer to circle swim, by the way: better chance to practice true lane sharing and more room on the sides. I also must add that swimming backstroke is not the only prerequisite for swimming wide. Please be advised the regulation pool width is 8.25 feet. Very few conform to that standard.


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