5 Things That Rub Swimmers The Wrong Way (Other Than Suits)

Drone of U of Hawaii Team
Photo Courtesy: Jonas Gutzat

5 Things That Rub Swimmers The Wrong Way (Other Than Suits)

By Kate Santilena

BEEP, BEEP, BEEP! The alarm goes off again for another 5:30 a.m. practice. It’s still dark outside. As swimmers, we rise before the sun. Morning practices are rough, but the one thing that every swimmer dreads more than rolling out of bed this early is the initial jump into the pool. We stand along the edge of the pool, toes dangling over until we are either yelled at by the coach or convince ourselves we probably should not be the last one in the water. Either way, the shock of the water enveloping our bodies followed by that initial chill that runs down our spine forces us to sprint a lap just to warm ourselves again. This is just the beginning.

Sleeping at Dryland

Photo Courtesy: Jonas Gutzat

We could be having a fantastic practice or one that’s not worth talking about, but either way, that initial leap into the water is not the last thing that will irk a swimmer throughout practice. Here are five things that rub swimmers the wrong way in practice other than their swim suits:

1. Cheese-grating your fingers on the lane line

Although lane lines help keep things organized in the pool, they can also be some of the sharpest objects our fingers have ever encountered. As we are swimming and trying to stay as far away from our teammate on the other side of the lane as possible, we always seem to drift up against the lane line. We could be minding our own business still half asleep, but the moment our fingertips crash against that plastic, we wake right up.

2. Swimming down the middle of the lane

Middle of Pool

Photo Courtesy: Jonas Gutzat

As swimmers, we are familiar with a concept called circle swimming – swimming down one side of the lane and back on the other. In practice, this is a rule that saves swimmers from regular collisions. However, there always seems to be that one teammate who can’t quite figure it out. They see the black line at the bottom and swim right on top of it. If you seem to be the person with the most bruises from collisions on your team, you might just be the middle-of-the-lane swimmer.

3. Floaters

Mia looking away

Photo Courtesy: Jonas Gutzat

Swimming is a rough sport that pushes us like nothing else ever will. Sometimes when you exert yourself to the limit, you produce excessive mucus that you just has to let fly. Please, for the sake of your teammates, aim for the gutter and not the open pool. There is nothing nastier than swimming right through a massive, green lugie. Talk about gag.

4. The hunger games

Drone of U of Hawaii Team

Photo Courtesy: Jonas Gutzat

We have all been in a situation where there seems to be literally everyone in our lane and only one swimmer in the three lanes next to us. This is when it feels like every swimmer is in it for themselves. We might need to throw in a toe touch here and there to assert dominance. This scene is especially common during swim meet warm ups. If there is an option of going in a different lane – even if your best friend is not in it – do it. Who knows, maybe this can save your team from breaking into the next hunger games.

5. Sprinting warmup and warm down

Jumping in

Photo Courtesy: Jonas Gutzat

Warmup and warm down are some of a swimmer’s favorite times of practice. It is a chance to chill out after a hard practice – or in terms of warm up, a chance to get in the groove of things. Just as we take that deep breath, our teammate zooms by, knocking us over in their wake. We are left wondering: “Just why?”

Countless things irk swimmers day in and day out. Looking back on them, we laugh knowing no matter how many things rub us the wrong way throughout practice, we will still be jumping in that pool every morning for more.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.


  1. avatar

    I agree with everything you mention except the last. I am one who works through everything – warm-up and warm-down because I want to maximize the amount of swimming I do at high speed. if your warm-=up is 1000-1500 and your warm-down is 800-1000, you have spent, roughly, 30-40% of your practice swimming slow. Gives me an advantage by enhancing my physical conditioning.

  2. Hallie Stoffal

    #1 for sire! Crunched them on the lane rope last week.

  3. avatar

    The worst version of the middle of the lane swimmer is the black line swimmer with long arms who does fly and expects everyone coming from the opposite direction to duck down out of his way. Buddy, it’s your shoulder that’s going to get wrecked if we collide.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.