I’ve been spending some time in Los Angeles recently.
The land of traffic!
There’s an interesting phenomenon here when driving. Many people are competitive. It’s a race!
A race to work.
A race to get somewhere on time.
A race to get home to relax.
Get out of my way, you’re slowing me down.
The pool can be similar.
If you’ve ever done lap swimming in these pools that block off 3 lanes, “Slow-Medium-Fast”, and you’re in there with 8 other people “about the same speed”.
But that never works out, and soon enough, someone is at your feet, and next, you’re at someone else’s feet.
And then you look over, and there’s a guy in the “Slow” lane going faster than you.
The experience could be as anxiety-producing as… an LA traffic jam!
In these situations, it’s important to remember a few things:
1. Keep your focus on your own stroke, and what your goals of that day are. If you’re doing a nice, easy warmup, and an old lady is passing you in the next lane- let it be!
2. Think of the crowded lane as practice for an open water race, where everyone bunches up before the first buoy, and things can get a little chaotic.
3. Keep it in perspective. The “guy in the next lane” could have been a former Olympian. Or college athlete. The person in front of you going slow in the fast lane could be warming up or cooling down, or focusing on some aspect of their stroke.
Overall, I recommend checking your emotions, and your ego, at the door of your pool. Picture that everyone in that pool is there to help you in some way, whether that is to push you just a little more, or help you to slow down and focus on technique.
Befriend the water (and the traffic grrrr!)!