Monday, June 29, 2009

Confessions of a Lap Lane Bully

They say the first step to becoming better is to admit your fault...

"Hi. My name is Kelly, and I am a lap lane bully."


I swim at the YMCA which is about 15-20 minutes from my house. There is only one pool, and very often just one or two (or no) lap lanes available for lap swimming due to other pool activities like water aerobics (don't get me started on this one) or swim lessons. During the summer, however, the pool schedule gets really crazy with the addition of the Y Summer Camp kids. They take up the entire pool every weekday morning except for Thursdays from 9:30 to 11:00 or 11:30. In addition to juggling the difficult pool schedule, I have to throw my children into the mix, since there is only childcare at the gym during certain hours.

The Bully Appears:

I was miraculously able to get myself and the boys to the gym at exactly 8:30, which is when Primetime (the childcare) opens. I was on the pool deck by 8:35...and the one lap lane available had two (very slow) swimmers in it already. Well, the lane was closing at 9:30, and, hey, I'm training, so as they both came to the wall I kindly said, "How about we circle swim so we can all get our workout in," or something of that nature. I made a point of not saying, "Is it okay if we circle swim?" because I was getting in no matter what.

One of the women happily agreed, but the other, whom I have seen swimming on many occasions and even had friendly conversation with, said, "I have back problems, so I can't circle swim. I only do backstroke." To this, I said nothing. Then she said with a huff, "I only have four laps left, so I guess I'll just get out."

Now here is where a very nice, understanding person would kindly say, "No, no...just go ahead and finish up." But I am not a nice understanding person...I am a lap lane bully. I also know for an almost-fact that it would have taken this woman close to 10 minutes to swim her four laps...she is very slow.

(Here's the thing...I have this pet peeve about just saying what you mean. If you want to stay in and finish your four laps, just say it. Don't play the martyr, so I will say what you want to hear. Just say what you mean!!)

I said, "Okay," and hopped in the lane. :) Then she told me the lane was only open until 9 anyway, and I told her that I had just checked and it was definitely open until 9:30!!

I went ahead and had a great workout in which I finished my yards assigned with several minutes to spare, so I even added an extra 100 before they kicked me out for the camp kids.

Locker Room Drama:

When I went back into the locker room, the martyr-woman was still getting ready. I was around the corner, so she couldn't see me as she proceeded to tell everyone (very loudly) about her terrible morning, including when someone came and said, "Can we circle swim?" (she said this in a very whiny know the voice I'm talking about.) "If I known the lane was open until 9:30, I would have just finished my 4 laps!" she continued.

Well, I popped my head around the corner, and said, "If you had just said you wanted to finish four laps that would have been fine. But you said you were done! Don't play the martyr, just say what you mean!"

She was shocked to see me and said, "I wasn't mad at you, I had just had a bad morning."

"Well, just because you had a bad morning doesn't mean you should come in and talk about other people and complain about your problems. We all are stuck with a crappy pool schedule. From now on, just say what you mean!"

One of the other women said something light and fleeting, and we all went about our business!

The Aftermath:

I will admit that I feel a little bit guilty about not offering to let her finish her swim, but I bet from now on she will just

say what she means!!!


  1. Girl I am with you. Say what you mean and mean what you say. When in training, I think we all turn into lane bullies since it is really the only sport where we are super restricted in training space.

  2. OMG, this woman just has typical chick issues. I hate it when people want others to give them permission to do something they probably don't want to do anyways. I am all about say what you mean, or live with the consequences. I am sad for you that you have to deal with the constant pool trauma, that's just no fun!

  3. LOL! I am seriously inspired ... and thankful that I have never not gotten a lane when I wanted one at my pool :) Maybe it is my insane dues, but I digress!

    I know the slow ladies you are talking about though. There are several that swim in the lane next to our Masters group and 4 laps could very well take them 10 minutes!

    Way to stand up for yourself - and great post!


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