Pssst…hey you. Yeah you! I’ve got a newsflash for you….

You are NOT Mark Spitz!

There is a public pool in my City. It opened 55 years ago and is still going strong. But it has limitations. It’s biggest problem is that it’s too small. It’s bigger problem is some of the people who come to use it. The pool does it’s best to cater to the needs of everyone who comes. There are hours for general swimming where anyone can do just about anything. There are always 2 lap lanes but the fact is that during general swim, these lanes are not immune to infiltration by non-competitive swimmers. There is a big shallow end that’s good for kids. At the other end is a diving board and slide. This part of the pool is very deep, mostly because there used to be a very high diving board! They took that away many years ago in the interest of safety. During the week, a mere 45 minutes is set aside from 12:15 to 1pm for “adult swim” only. On weekends, “adult swim” is from 11a-12p. And on Tuesday and Thursday mornings in July and half of August, early morning “adult swim” is from 7:30-8:15. Not much time for us “adults”. But we make the best of it.


I have been coming to this pool since day 1. As a kid, I spent many summer days camped out with my friends, keeping an eye on all the cute boys and making plans for what we all were going to do that night in the park. Simpler times for sure. I grew up and grew away from the pool as life took me in different directions and working for a living took over for summering in the pool. Close to 20 years ago, I re-discovered the pool and began going every day for adult swim. I worked nights at the time and a nice dip in the cool pool before bed was the perfect thing for a good day’s sleep.

I don’t swim. I can, for the most part but I just don’t. I run in the pool and do some variations of aerobic exercises as I run back and forth in the lane. It’s a great workout. No impact on the joints, gets your heart rate up and gives you great resistance in the water as you move back and forth. I simply love it. The lane closest to the shallow end is PERFECT for me and my exercise routine. The water comes to mid-chest and provides the absolute best possible combination of depth and resistance. But I don’t own the lane. And neither do you!

Over the years, there is a core group of people who come to adult swim. We all know each other and we all know where we prefer to “swim”. There is a flow to the pool and you kinda need to go with it.  But then Mark Spitz shows up. You know, the guy with the tiny Speedo, the skin tight swim cap, the flippers and hand flippers, goggles, stop watch and several additional swim aides. Mark is not a regular. In fact, he is often a day swimmer…obvious by the wrist band you get when you pay by the day.


Mark arrives after everyone else is in the pool, deep into their routines. And then Mark’s routine begins. He stretches, he adjusts his Speedo. stretches, adjusts, stretches, adjusts….and then despite HUGE letters of the pool deck saying “No Diving”, he dives in to a lane regardless of who else might be there. Every so often, Mark stands at the head of the lane I’m in and tells me in no uncertain terms, that the lane is for “lap swimming” and I need to get out of it and move over to the shallow end of the pool. I am polite and simply say that the pool is for whatever you want it to be and that I am happy to have him swim around me if he’d like. Mark tells me again the lanes are for swimming….and so I stop running and break into a breast stroke and ask, “Is this better?”. And I refuse to move. There have been times when Mark has approached the pool staff asking them to have me move. And he is told this will not happen. So Mark finds a space…adjusts his goggles, starts his timer and off he goes. One lap. Check timer. Readjust goggles. Put on flippers. Swim. One lap. Check timer. Fuss with goggles. Swim. Take off flippers. Drink flavored power water. Fuss with goggles. Swim. Flip turn. Breast stroke. Flip. Stop to adjust goggles. Butterfly stroke….because we ALL need to be impressed. Except nobody is impressed. Finally someone will vacate one of the two roped off lanes and Mark will make his way over to it. And then he fusses with all his stuff all over again. So much times is wasted on all this stuff….just swim! But no… are Mark Spitz! When your time is up, off you go and we likely will never see you again. We are oaky with that. Maybe you can find a pool somewhere that caters to the Mark Spitz type. Good luck with that. Because I have a newsflash for you….you are NOT Mark Spitz!


And for those of you of a younger generation…omit Mark Spitz and insert Michael Phelps!

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