Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sharing a Lane - Did I Earn Bad Karma?

OK, so two of my more recent posts to this blog were about lane sharing (the pros and cons). Well, given my luck this AM, it seems I angered someone - Poseidon, the Greek god of the seas, perhaps?  Here's my story.

Started the day circle swimming with two other guys.  Third guy dropped out after about 15 minutes so second guy suggests we swim our respective sides (parallel).  I agree and quickly take my side for a full lap (up and back).  But upon my second flip turn, I have completely zoned out, forgotten the new parallel routine and am circle swimming again.  What good could come of this? you ask.

Well, I got what I deserve.  As I type this, I am sporting a "shiner" where the second guy hit me in the left eye (goggled fortunately) at full freestyle reach.  I got him on the top of his head in a similar stretch.  It felt like a boxing match, to tell the truth.  It didn't end there.  Momentum forced us both forward despite the punches and we slammed heads together - think rams fighting over the top of the mountain.

In the end, things worked out. We both shook it off and stayed to complete our workouts, and laughed it off when we were done.  My lane partner seemed concerned about the mark he'd left.  I just chalk it up say "my bad".

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Why You Can't Swim Like a New Fish - Blame the Old Fish

So you want to swim like Michael Phelps?  Do you have his genetic gifts?  Then you probably won't ever be able to swim like he does.  But lets not blame Michael.  Perhaps he's just underdeveloped.  Hows that?  Read on.

An article in Wired Magazine cites a study conducted by University of Ottowa researchers that finds that the loss of a gene known as actinodin found in fish may have been the cause of the transition of fish fins to limbs.

So does this mean when they figure out how to safely conduct gene transfers that we can get back to the way God first made us?  Just kidding, Texas!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sharing Your Lap Lane - Yes, there are Benefits

This past year I grew up.  Really.  I finally learned to share my lane and enjoy it.  In fact, I am known to the guards at the pool as someone who is happy to share my lane - given the swimmer doesn't fall into any of the 10 points in my prior post.  Here's why I am happy to share my lane:
  1. Lap swimming can be VERY boring.  Having someone else in the lane, even if you don't communicate with them verbally, keeps your mind a bit more stimulated just by the sheer fact that one must keep aware of where the lane partner is in the pool relative to one's self.
  2. Your lane partner can spur you to swim faster.  Who wants to be humiliated by someone in baggy trunks?
  3. Your lane partner can make you feel like a fast swimmer, even if you are not - this of course requires your lane partner be a slower swimmer than you.
  4. Your lane partner can provide you with a slip-stream if you want to swim along side them like a baby whale does it's momma.
  5. By having a lane partner, your lane is less likely to be chosen by the next crappy swimmer who wants to get in your lane. 

No, I didn't list 10 benefits.  I'm sure there are more, but jeez, I never thought there was one good reason before this year.  Give me a break!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ten Reasons Sharing Your Lap Lane Isn't for the Faint of Heart

Sharing a lap lane can be a real pain.  Here are a few of the reasons sharing a lane isn't for the weak of heart:
  1. the nail trimmer - hug the line too tight and nearly break your finger in the buoys
  2. the navigationally challenged - those who use the whole lane (usually not on purpose) due to poor navigation skills
  3. the leg men - those who use more of the sub-surface than you are expecting (they kick you)
  4. the ax men - those who use paddles and like to chop you when you go by (I never realized swimming was a blood sport until one of these hit me in the arm)
  5. the butterflies - these guys start the butterfly soon as you enter the pool area, just so you won't choose his lane (some even swim with their fists!)
  6. the loose rope - just when you've got a straight line going, the line floats into your path (see #1)
  7. the waterboarders - these are the swimmers who throw up a great swell as they pass, usually when you are inhaling
  8. the jet boats - these are the swimmers who use fins.  They blow by at high speed or if you're at the end of the lane and swimming circles, they force you to stop so they can go past - again and again and again - and they think they are faster than you when you know deep down they are just using them because they are really speed challenged
  9. the loose barges - these are the slow swimmers who generally fit the category of #2 and #3 as well.
  10. the endangered - these are the swimmers who apparently have a respirator ready at the end of the lane because they stop and recover for two minutes for each lap.

Feel free to add your favorites in the comments section!

In my next post, I'll touch on the advantages of sharing your lane.