A Staten Island triathlete and endurance coach ventures into the ultramarathon realm where there are seemingly no limits to human endurance. In 2013, he successfully finished the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning (picture of 2013 Grand Slam finishers above; I'm second from right), becoming only the 282nd person (since its beginnings in 1986) and only the fourth New Yorker to finish four of the oldest and most prestigious 100 mile ultramarathons in the U.S. in only 10 weeks.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dear Sharer of Swim Lane - We Need To Talk

This is an open letter to all swimmers, especially those unfortunate enough to share a lane with me and wander into my half:


Dear fellow swimmer:

     It's real early, we're both starting our busy days, and we rightfully choose to get in a nice workout in before our days really start. I commend you for this; it's not easy for a lot of people to wake up early to swim.

     Sometimes the pool gets real busy. I understand that. And when it does, we can be forced to share a lane together. I also understand that, and I accommodate all those swimmers who choose to do so.

     But my definition of "sharing" is an equal 50/50 arrangement, also known as, "I stay on my half, and you stay on yours". Now believe me, you might not be as skilled as me when it comes to swimming. Not many people do. I'm not saying this to be egotistical, but you can definitely see how fast I am in the water as you approach my lane. I also do these big flip turns at the end of the lanes that help with my speed in the pool.

     So, if you look at the overall picture, you can easily tell that I am a competitive swimmer.

     So if you choose my lane, it is really for both of our health that you really adhere to staying on your side of the pool.

      There are a couple of ground rules that I expect from you though. Read these please, because you will really piss off a competitive swimmer like me otherwise.

      1) If you don't see me stopping as you approach my lane, the chances are that I'm doing long distance sets. DON'T INTERRUPT ME! Don't wave a kickboard in front of my face; don't block my way with your body; don't try to splash me to get my attention. If I'm doing a timed set I won't hesitate to bull right over you so that I can continue on. I've been known to do that on occasion.

     The right way to approach me is to slip into the lane when I'm on the other side, and STAY ON ONE SIDE until I pass by once. Don't start swimming immediately; I probably do not know you're there yet. Wait for me to pass once before you start. Don't worry, I will DEFINITELY notice you. I will then casually move over to the other side so that you can do your laps.

    2) Stay on YOUR side of the lane. Now I do understand that some swimmers might lack the skill to staying straight in the lane, but hey, you saw how fast I can go, and still YOU CHOSE MY LANE. You can easily get both of us injured if you stray on over to my side. If you're not confident of your stroke being true, you could have chosen another lane with a more casual swimmer. Sharing with a casual swimmer will reduce any chances of injury if you stray from your side of the lane.

     I've now had a couple of occasions where an errant swimmer jammed a part of their body on me as I passed (a shoulder in the past, and now a finger this morning). But hey, I'm not here to apologize. You knew damned well who you were swimming with. Maybe next time, either choose another lane or get your stroke straight before entering my lane again.

     3) No I will NOT stop my flip turns because of you. You don't like the splash? You don't like your hair getting wet? Well jeez, take a look around fellow swimmer, you're at a pool! You're SUPPOSED to get wet and get splashed. Live with it. If you don't like it, there are other places you can go where you don't have to worry about that stuff.

     Fellow swimmer, I'm really not that hard to work with, and I've shared lanes plenty of times with swimmers without any problems. But you need to respect what I'm doing in the water before you choose my lane to share with.

     Thank you.
    

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