This year’s Swimathon weekend is/was this weekend with plenty of options for those wanting to take part. Here in York, we had a choice of 3 different pools (Waterworld, Energise and Yearsley), 3 different distances (5k, 2.5k or 1 mile) and a choice of whether to swim any of the distances as an individual or in a team. The 1 mile was a new challenge added this year for Sport Relief.
As usual, I chose the full distance of 5k as an individual and after lots of inner debate decided to return to Energise for the swim. I say that I debated with myself as to where to swim because each pool has its fors and againsts. I swim/train at Waterworld as, for me and the time I go swimming, it is quieter so I’m not slowing others down or being slowed down, it is also closer to work. However, the pool is only 17m long which means lots of turns and a total of 294 lengths! It is hard enough to keep count for 200 let alone an extra 94 and I’m sure my husband can’t count (that’s another story). Energise is where I went for my swim last year and I was not impressed by the lane etiquette of two of the swimmers (as discussed in last year’s blog Swimathon 2011). However, the distance is 200 lengths and the organisation of the swim was good. Yearsley is a 50m pool which means that the swim would have been 100 lengths and much easier for counting. However, it is a Victorian building and the changing rooms are along the edge of the poolside so I wasn’t sure whether or not there would be sufficient facilities for all the swimmers taking part. I may think about it for next year.
The organisation of the session by the staff at Energise was, again, good. However, the swim itself was, again, hampered in the first half by swimmers who don’t know good lane etiquette. This year I was sharing a lane with 3 children and 4 men. Now, I don’t have anything against swimming with children, I’ve done it before and on that occasion the young lad was faster than me! However, on this occasion, the children were all swimming breast-stroke and were quite a lot slower than myself and the 4 men sharing the lane. Let me put the speed into perspective, I didn’t start my swim until they had finished the first length and I caught them up halfway down the 2nd. If they had stopped every 2 lengths to let the other faster swimmers through, I wouldn’t have a problem with swimming in the same lane as them but, however, they didn’t. They looked over their shoulder at the end of each length and then pushed off the wall to start again without letting us go first. So, this year, we had swimmers overtaking slower swimmers and nearly crashing into each other.
When the lanes started thinning out, lifeguards moved swimmers to other lanes so that slower swimmers weren’t holding up faster ones. With about 70 lengths to go, I was moved to another lane with faster swimmers in as I am, apparently, “quite a nifty swimmer”. This was fine, until I discovered that the gentleman I was sharing the lane with didn’t have a clue about lane etiquette either. He was swimming backstroke, again I don’t have a problem with that, but after every 10 lengths or so I’d catch him up and be swimming over his feet and he would just carry on. Also, his backstroke pull was very wide and I got hit in the side/legs quite a lot – ouch! – so I didn’t want to try to overtake him.
It took me 1 hour 5 minutes to do the first 100 lengths and 52 minutes for the second half.