Swim lane rage is the swimmer's equivalent of road rage, generally occurring when someone is blocked off or held up in their lane by a slower swimmer, or a swimmer who is not following the correct pool etiquette. Obviously, for the vast majority of people, the avoidance of arguments is a general aim in life, but there are several other reasons to try to avoid incidents of swim lane rage.
When training seriously for swimming competitions, such incidents of rage can be extremely stressful, generating tension within the body. This tension can then hinder a person's swimming technique and form, as well as their breathing, making it completely counter productive and a detriment to their training. However, by following some basic tips, it will be possible to fend off swim lane rage.
1. Dress for Competition
The most basic way to avoid confrontation is through your appearance in the pool. At any local swimming pool, it is usually fairly easy to spot those who are serious about swimming and the vast majority of recreational swimmers will simply avoid areas of the pool taken up by these people.Even if your swimming pace does not yet warrant people giving you so much space, your training will benefit from looking the part. A basic swimming hat, some mirrored goggles and a pair of Speedos will set you apart from the average, baggy-short wearing recreational swimmer and let people know that you are serious about your swimming.
2. Adapt Your Swimming
Some swimmers find that, rather than desperately trying to avoid slow swimmers, or packed areas of the pool, it is better to simply go in with a plan in mind for how to deal with such occasions. In this way, encountering slow swimmers will simply feel like another part of your training.
One such adaptation involves the use of drills. If you find yourself being held up in the pool, try using it as a cue to swim with one arm, or practice a stroke you are less adept at. This way, instead of generating fury, encountering slow swimmers will allow you to work on other, useful, aspects of your training.
3. Keep the Drawbacks in Mind
Another very simple way to avoid swim lane rage is to always keep in mind that it is counter productive to your training. The fact remains that, regardless of how frustrated you feel, your energy will be better spent doing the best you can with the conditions available and the time you have.
If you run into a congested area of the pool, or a slow-moving swimmer, consider using it as an opportunity to turn early, get ahead of them and practise an open pool start. While not necessarily ideal, this is a far better use of your time than arguing with another swimmer, or tensing up and ruining your practise session.
4. Change When or Where You Swim
If all else fails, and you feel that the conditions in your local pool are such that swim lane rage cannot be avoided, even with the above tips, then it may be time to consider making a more drastic change to your swimming sessions, such as when you swim, or where.
Try going along at a different time and assessing whether or not it is less busy. Ask someone if there is a better time to come along, when conditions will better suit your needs. Or use it as an excuse to join a more serious swimming club.