I belong to a city recreation program. We have numerous gyms around the city and because I’m a resident it ends up being $20 a month. For me that’s a steal for a pool. Especially with both my husband and I participating in triathlons. However, with the aspect of a city pool, comes cluster time in the swim lanes every now and then. To be fair, it’s more often than not. While I appreciate the training for dodging people for IM open swim, sometimes it can be frustrating.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first to come unhinged when a kid jumps in the lane on top of me. I have learned to use that as an opportunity to teach the kids (it’s always kids) some swim lap ettiquite. You wouldn’t ram your car out into traffic and hope people see you, treat the swim lane the same way. Also? If your head position is correct in the water, you can’t see them coming at you anyway! I just try to be honest, explain that they need to make sure everyone in the lane knows they are getting in, while also explaining the danger of just jumping in.
Yesterday I was pretty lucky and got to split the lane with two different people during my swim (one for the first part, he got out then a lady got in.) When I had about 400 left, another woman stood at the end of the lane I was splitting. She looked at me when I hit the wall to grab my kick board and made some comment about how the woman I was sharing with should really be over in the leisure pool and that she was going to get in. She thought we were going to bond over being snarky and judging the woman in the water with me. She picked the wrong person as I don’t really get kicks out of judging someone’s pace.
It really irked me. I shook my head and said nothing (mostly because I wasn’t sure exactly how to respond quite honestly) and started my kick. After I came back down the lady I was splitting with said that we would be circling, I said okay and kept my kicking while thoughts just kept circling in my head about the woman being rude and judgemental.
Let me be frank, it is not okay to judge someone on their pace. It makes you look like an asshole. We all started somewhere and just because someone may be slower than you, doesn’t mean they aren’t working just as hard. I get so tired of seeing all the judging. It’s everywhere. Why can’t we just celebrate that we are all trying to be our best?
Triathlon is intimidating and I can’t imagine how hard it would be to try to be training for something like a first triathlon or swim race or whatever, and be subject to the judgement that this woman was giving the other woman. Why do we need to tear each other down to feel better about ourselves? The answer is we don’t need to. My achievements are based on my goals, and you reaching your goals doesn’t make mine less important or less impressive. I can be excited for you while still being excited for me.
I hope we all take the opportunity to be there for each other and work hard to lift each other up instead of tearing each other down. We are all part of the sports community. And as I said on twitter yesterday, our pace does not define us as an athlete, it is our dedication to making ourselves better.