Pool etiquette, part 3: Your pet peeves

Credit: Al Bello/Allsport
Since writing the two-part - and evidently somewhat popular - swimming etiquette articles a few months back, I have been inundated with requests for a third follow-up from readers and swimming friends alike.

Apparently I left out several other pet peeves and do's-or-don'ts in my initial rantings, so here is a final word from other frustrated swimmers at pools far and wide --

From Kelly of Washington, D.C.:

People with lots of cologne/perfume who don't shower before entering the pool.

Even worse, if I may add, are those who don't shower before entering the pool, period, whether they wear cologne or not. A pool is for swimming, not bathing or personal hygiene!

And while on the subject, I know that it is de rigeur for self-important swimmers to bypass the bathroom and pee in the pool so as not to break up the routine of their workout, but there are others in your lane who don't appreciate it! We all know how important it is to stay hydrated during activity, but dehydrating oneself in the pool is tacky and in poor taste, to say the least!

Kelly also disagreed with my earlier take on sharing a lane and the age-old dilemma of "splitting" vs. "circling:"

I am puzzled by one rule, however. You say that if you are joined by a second swimmer, you should circle rather than split. This is not customary in my pool. Almost everyone splits until a third person enters the lane. I think there was once a list of rules on the wall that actually spelled this out. If the first swimmer is resting, I ask if she/he wants to circle or split, and he/she always says split. Even when I have the lane to myself, I usually swim to one side so I don't have to be stopped to have this fascinating discussion.

Kelly, you are correct in assuming that two people should split a lane if the pool isn't crowded, but my initial advice stemmed from the idea that by circling, you would avoid further collisions with a third swimmer who chose to join you without advance notice. You also would avoid the possibility of being stopped, since you would already be circling.

By all means, if both of you prefer splitting, go ahead, but if you are swimming butterfly or breaststroke it is easier to circle and avoid banging limbs.

From Doug in North Carolina:

People with too much equipment. One lady at my pool has a full wetsuit, earplugs, a nose plug, goggles, hand paddles, and flippers. Usually these people are very slow.

In addition, these equipment junkies think they are getting a better workout, but with 11 different flotation devices affixed to their person they are hardly doing anything but getting wet and creating major problems for anyone within their wingspan.

Note to those who favor full battalion regalia: If you are wearing a pull buoy between your legs, there is absolutely no point to wearing flippers on your feet! And if you are wearing paddles, there is absolutely no point in using a kickboard (I am not kidding, I have seen it all)!

A few people mentioned:

- swimmers who grunt with every stroke.

Yes, we have all heard them, grunting (or moo-ing) their way back and forth. While this is a country that was built on the free speech ideals of the First Amendment, a line needs to be drawn somewhere. I suggest drawing it at swimmers who not only grunt (live and let live) but also seem to reek garlic from every pore. There is definitely a correlation between swimmers who make sounds and those that emanate last night's pasta Bolognese.

Although I guess it is too much to ask someone to brush their teeth and shower prior to entering the pool, it sure would make things more pleasant for the rest of us.

I could not help adding another pet peeve which has plagued me before, and I am certain a few of you can relate; the swimmers who don?t bother to clip their toenails and then slice open your leg while doing the sidestroke with one well-placed scissor-kick! Please!

A swimmer I know who shall remain nameless laminated my last etiquette article and posted it on the locker room door of his local pool. While I hope this doesn?t inspire a pile of hate mail or a car bomb on my new truck, I must say I was flattered that finally, somewhere, I could venture to believe I was making a difference in the world.

At the very least, I was convinced that there were readers out there who could finally feel my pain - in some cases, literally!

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