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More Mean Girls

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

We weren't really mean yesterday, more catty after the fact. But seriously, you know there's a problem when even the coach comments on it.

So yesterday the Weird Guy (WG) was in my lane again and he was still weird. He continued to swim down the middle of the lane, and continued to not really seem to understand the workouts and to do his own thing part of the time.

The most obnoxious thing, though, was his sprinting through everything so that he was right on top of whoever happened to be in front of him. Yesterday, the swimmers in my lane were me, B, WG and another guy. Other guy went first, B went 2nd, I went 3rd and WG went 4th. Yes, we arranged the order without consulting him and just started the set.

Well, at the end of the first length, I did a flipturn and when I turned around, WG was RIGHT ON TOP OF ME. Ack!

I seriously thought he was going to punch me in the face. Accidentally, of course. It's common courtesy to give the person in front of you a little space, unless you're sure you can pass them. He was swimming as hard as he could, and couldn't pass me outright, but he was bound and determined to swim as close to my feet as possible.

The third time this happened, I stopped and basically asked him to back off. He said he would, but he didn't, so I just let him pass me after the next length, and I swam last.

Then he started doing the same thing to B.

During the next set, I had to stop at one point and wait for him to get ahead because I kept catching up to his feet. While I was stopped, our coach noticed me and asked, "Why don't you just pass him?" I laughed and told her I tried that, but then he would sprint and get right on top of me. She looked out to where he was swimming and observed, "Oh yeah...Now he's doing it to B too..."

See! It's not just us!

She said, "Well, there's always one in every group. I suggest you wait 10-15 seconds after he goes before you start."

I mean, there's only so much she can do when she's coaching adults, right?

In the locker room afterward, B and I were rehashing the workout and she told me that he kept hitting her feet the entire time she was swimming in front of him. The funny thing is, he sprints through the entire workout, which doesn't seem healthy to me. At the end of each set, we would stop and the other 3 of us would be breathing normally pretty quickly, but WG was panting all the time. I don't know if he has something to prove to himself, but for whatever reason he is bound and determined to keep up and to win, even if it means swimming way outside of his comfort zone.

It's so strange. I've never run into this behavior before.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    So this is the second time. Or is it more than that? He's either doing this on purpose, or he's doing it out of ignorance. If it's ignorance, then someone needs to take him aside and enlighten him. Ideally, it would be your coach, but if not, then I don't see why it shouldn't be you, or all three of you. You're a lawyer, you're used to reasoning with people.

    If he's doing it on purpose, that's actually a form of bullying and it should be stopped right away. After hearing yet another story yesterday of workplace bullying that resulted in the loss of the victim's job, I was reflecting on whether I've ever been bullied, and I concluded that no, I haven't, at least not seriously. And the reason why is that I don't take crap from anyone. The traditional answer to a school yard bully was always to give him a taste of his own medicine. And if I were in your position, that's exactly what I would have done. I like Egalitaire's suggestions. Especially the last one.
    2859 days ago
    I never knew swimming was a contact sport - probably should be wearing protective headgear.

    Not sure if it is ignorance or indifference on the part of your WG, but one solution is communication. The problem is any advice to WG is unsolicited (I am completely aware of the irony of talking about unsolicited advice while in the act of dispensing it), and unsolicited advice is often unwelcome.

    So the other alternative is to tell WG as clearly and unemotionally (emotionally clean) how his behaviour (no blame, just the facts, as in "when you come too close behind other swimmers", or to personalize "too close to me") impacts you eg. "when you get too close behind me I tend to lose my concentration and find it hard to enjoy my swim"

    And then offer one or more solutions

    1) stay back

    2) go first and stay out of our way

    3) find a lane that is more suitable to your style

    4) Curl up and ...... - saved that one for last.

    Stay Strong and Spark On
    2860 days ago
    I like Woubbie's suggestion.
    2860 days ago
    I don't know the swimming terminology, but could you oh-so-concernedly suggest that he drop back down to one of the slower lanes "because you seem to be a bit winded trying to keep up with us".
    2860 days ago
    He sounds like he is practicing drafting the swimmer in front of him - just like in car racing. I bet he wouldn't like being the first to go at all.
    2860 days ago
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