I have spent many years swimming to train and swimming for pleasure, but I have found that swimmers have many commonalities when it comes to pet peeves about the exercise. When I was younger, my parents thought I was exaggerating just to have something to complain about, but, as an adult, I have plenty of support to justify my annoyed whining.
1) Swim Caps
You can become accustomed to your swim cap, but breaking in a new one is a nightmare. Straight from the factory, caps are coated on the inside with a powdery substance that makes keeping the cap on your head a problem for half a dozen wears.
2) Traffic in Lap Lanes
Lap lanes are intended for swimmers to swim laps, hence the name, but other swimmers enjoying the pool tend to wander into the lanes or simply don’t adhere to the designated areas. I hate having to swim around an errant 8 year-old with a pool noodle. It is frustrating and breaks my rhythm.
First, you need to find the sweet spot for the fit. Too loose, and water seeps in. Too tight, and you’re in for a serious headache. Even goggles that fit well, will leave indentations around your eyes that make you look as though you’ve been in a fight.
Swimming out in a lake can be a nice change of pace, but there are other hazards that you won’t find in a pool. The problem usually stems from lake revelers on water vehicles. Boaters and jet skiers generally don’t pay attention enough to avoid swimmers, so you have to constantly be aware of everything around you while you’re swimming.
5) Challenges to Race
When people discover that you swim regularly or for sport, they want to challenge you to a race. If I’m in a good mood, I’ll roll my eyes, hop in the water, and smoke them, but this is typically more of an annoyance than anything else.
We shave to give us an extra edge in the water. Body hair creates more resistance in the water, so we remove it (from everywhere) to be faster. I hate explaining to curious friends why my arms are shaved!
7) Prying Questions and Rude Comments
I understand that people are curious about unfamiliar things, but, the problem is, most people are downright rude about swimming culture. Questions and comments about my body, diet, routine, ability, and swimming style are not welcome and should be considered off limits unless you are my coach.
8) Heated Pools
Swimming in a heated a pool is a nice treat if it’s winter, you don’t swim often, and you aren’t planning on swimming seriously. Warm water is not conducive to the expert swimmer who prefers water hovering around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
9) Putting on a Damp Swimsuit
Squeezing into a swimsuit isn’t always fun, but putting on a swimsuit that hasn’t had enough time to dry completely is akin to torture, at least until you get into the pool.
10) The Olympics
If swimming is your thing, you swim year-round, but no one really cares until the Olympics roll around. I hate when people all of a sudden have an interest in something they couldn’t care less about the rest of the time.
11) Food Intake
In order to keep up our energy levels, swimmers consume a lot of food. This isn’t a problem as we will burn those calories off, so don’t treat us like we have an eating disorder.
12) Tan Lines
Unless you’re swimming in the dark, tan lines will be your faithful companion, so you have to be mindful of what you wear out on the town.
13) The Effects of Chlorine on Your Hair
Chlorine is necessary, but it has some unpleasant drawbacks. I hate the way chlorine feels in my hair at the end of the day. Before it’s washed, it has that stiff, frizzled feel to it. Another problem is that chlorine can turn your hair a greenish tint. You also have to be careful about dying your hair if you plan on swimming in chlorine regularly, because certain hair dyes and chlorine can create some bizarre color issues.
14) Loose Hair in the Water
Swimming into loose hair that’s floating on the surface of the pool has to be what I hate the most, but I would think everyone feels the same about this one.
15) Water in Your Ears
Swimming and spending time in the water increases the risk of getting water in your eyes. This is fairly common among swimmers, but the problem is no less concerning.
16) Wet Hair
If you have long hair and spend a great deal of time swimming, you are going to be wet a lot. This means that you have very little time to dry your hair. For long hair, the solution to the problem tends to be wrapping your hair in a bun, but that means your hair is almost permanently damp throughout the day.
17) Early Mornings
Swimming takes discipline and, unfortunately, requires the swimmer to rise early to get in some swim time. While the rest of the world slumbers, we’re swimming in relative privacy until the regular crowds begin rushing in.
18) Locker Rooms
You need to store your stuff somewhere while you’re swimming, but the locker room is not my favorite place. Unless you swim in a fancy facility, these locker rooms are old, often littered with debris, and everything is damp.
19) The Smell of Chlorine
Chlorine is a smell most swimmers enjoy, otherwise swimming in a pool would be unbearable. However, swimmers smell like chlorine all of the time as it gets in their hair, dries on their skins, and permeates their clothes.
20) Dirty Pool Water
A problem that cannot be avoided is dirty pool water. Swimming in a pool means you share the space with other people swimming in that pool and bring with them any germs, debris, bodily fluids, and other unpleasantness. Always shower after swimming!
Are there other aspects you hate when swimming? Write these aspects in the comments.