I took part in the Swimathon 2011 in raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care on Sunday 10 April 2011. I finished in a time of 1 hour 52 minutes which is a personal best for me, whoop!
However, I could have completed the 5,000m faster. I completed the first 100 lengths (2,500m) in 60 minutes which means that I came back in the second half in 52 minutes (8 minutes faster!). How does that work? Surely I should have been too tired to finish faster? I would say it was down to good pacing but it wasn’t. It was down to the fact that during the first half I had to keep stopping at the end of each length (or two) to let slower swimmers get further down the length before I started again. We had two swimmers in our lane who, I suspect, had over-estimated their speed and put down a faster estimated time of completing their swim than they should have. Fortunately, they were only completing 1,500m and 2,500m rather than the full 5,000m swim. Anyway, these two swimmers were quite slow compared to the other 4 in the lane (including me) but they would not stop at the end of the lane to let anyone else pass or if they did they’d only let one person pass and then the rest of us would be stuck behind them. In the end, we had to resort to trying to get passed them whilst swimming down the lane! Not a good position to be in and not good lane etiquette.
Also, one of these two slower swimmers also insisted on doing a tumble turn at the end of each length even though she was swimming breast-stroke! She also looked over her shoulder every time to check that she wasn’t going to hit anyone so would have seen the queue forming behind her. So you’d think. It all came to a head when two of the other swimmers were having a break to the sides of the lane, leaving enough room for swimmers to turn, when this woman did a tumble turn (having checked over her shoulder and seen me coming) straight into my path. I had to stand up to avoid being hit!
Now, going back to these two swimmers who didn’t let us pass. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that you will have swimmers of different speeds in a lane and I fully expect to have faster and slower swimmers with me. I actually don’t consider myself to be a fast swimmer (it takes me just under 30s to swim 25m). However, it is my understanding that, during lane swimming, if you are a slower swimmer and you see someone finishing close to you then you let them pass. If you are a faster swimmer, you can tap a slower swimmer on the foot to let them know you are there and they should let you pass at the end of the length. Most of what I have found regarding lane swimming etiquette confirms this, including the web articles below.
Bradford Swimming Club
Mountain View Masters Swim and Social Club
Anyway, all in all I had a great time and the event was well organised by Energise in York. My husband counted my lengths and my son was on hand to let me know when I had got half way, had 50 lengths to go and 10 lengths to go. I was also complemented on my technique by another swimmer who said I was an elegant swimmer.
I hope to do the event again next year but would appreciate it if participants would anticipate a slower swimming speed and finishing time rather than faster and learn about lane etiquette.
I am now in training for the next fundraiser. Running now as we are coming into the (supposedly) Summer. I am taking part in the Race for Life on 19 June 2011 for Cancer Research. I am doing the 5k as a warm up for my main event and fundraiser. The big one for me will be the Run For All 10k on 31 July 2011.