‘Social’ Swimming vs ‘Serious’ Swimming

I am not by nature an active person, as I think I’ve mentioned. I’m inherently very lazy, I’ve always been hopeless at all sports and in school I was always the kid who was last to be picked for teams in gym class.

Nevertheless, I do attempt to keep up an exercise regime, more out of fear than any aspiration of reward. Given my dislike of sports and my fondness for chocolate and cakes, I fear that if I don’t make a concerted effort to exercise occasionally and eat sensibly, I will end up a 300lb counch potato who dies prematurely from some horrible obesity-related disease.

The key to an exercise regime seems to be routine. I quite enjoy swimming, and so every Sunday morning I go first thing to the sports centre and do half an hour of laps in their swimming pool before returning home to enjoy my breakfast (as swimming always makes me hungry). I have missed many weeks, but this activity has been part of my Sunday routine for the last twelve years or so. Of late I’ve started walking to the sports centre (which is a half hour round trip) to get that bit of extra exercise in too. I can then feel less guilty about sitting around at home for the rest of the day.

The pool is at our local council run sports centre and it’s a pretty good one. There are generally swimming lanes in use on Sundays, so if you want to swim continuous lengths you use those, and if you are social swimmer who wants to splash about with your loved ones, you stay in the other half of the pool.

This is a good arrangement and keeps everyone happy, but there are a few occasions when a couple of the ‘social’ swimmers decide to pretend to be ‘serious’ swimmers. They generally enter the swim lane in pairs, and hang about for ten minutes chatting, blocking the end of the lane. They will then swim one length and hang about at the other end of the lane, chatting for another ten minutes, before doing another length and then deciding they’ve had their exercise quote for the day.

Now, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using swimming as a social activity. But as the lanes are there to allow both ‘serious’ swimmers and ‘social’ swimmers to use the pool without hindrance, it’s only polite to stay in your designated section. After all, the social swimmers get very annoyed when the lane swimmers use the other bit of the pool, and start barging between them and their offspring.

On the other hand, the social swimmers causing congestion in the swim lanes may well be intending to be serious swimmers, and taking on board the well-known recommendation that exercising with a friend makes it more fun. I’m not disputing this either, but if you exercise with a friend, you do need to remember that you’re there to exercise, not to chat.

Me, I tend to exercise alone. I get a bit grumpy and wouldn’t be very good company. I prefer to keep my exercise sessions separate from my social activities.


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