Friday, April 17, 2009

Meet The Masters

Rerunning this for all of my Masters friends doing the state meet this weekend: GOOD LUCK! (originally posted 3/9/08)

It’s a mixed bag at masters, isn’t it? Different ages, sizes, body shapes, people in different places, points, speeds of their life. But no matter where you swim there are certain people that are just the same. Characters and personalities that always appear at the pool. I know all of us in blogger land are trying to be polite, complaint-free, dainty ladies so this isn’t so much a complaint as it is a public service announcement. A roll call of the riff raff you might find in your lane. Here goes:

The Phenom: Swimming since the womb. Came out with goggles and flippers on. Massive shoulders with a lean waist. Former national champion still capable of swimming a :57 at the end of a 90 minute practice with no dive.


The Slacker: Will never lead. Exits the pool at least twice during a lactate set of 10 x 50 on the :45 for a bathroom break. Always late and last in the pool if they get in at all.

The Sandbagger: Also will never lead. When they are finally coerced into leading the lane (as in, you will lead this lane or get out of this lane) they end up lapping the lane because they’ve been sitting in your draft for two years building up enough energy to blow past you on the first 100 of the set.

The Loudmouth: Big, loud, burly, typically female, always has something to say about the set or always badgering the person in the next lane. Keeps it real. If you’re slow they’ll tell you. If they’re slow, you better not say.

The Snob: I won’t swim in a lane with you because I think I’m faster than you even though I’m not really faster than you.

Lane Bait: The token hottie with pink flowery swimsuit and matching cap; nobody cares how slow or fast she is, she’s always welcome in the lane.


The Excuse Maker: I’m tired, I just ran, I swam yesterday, my arms hurt. Makes excuses more than they make the interval. If you find this person in your lane, switch now. Switch fast.

The Flipper: Puts on flippers for any set of IM but refuses to lead. Annoying. Leaves tremendous wake in path so those of us left behind sans flipper end up drinking half the pool.


The Pregnant Lady: Do not be fooled. Do not let this woman in your lane. She will swim faster than you. What she lacks in svelteness these days she has made up for with superhuman baby powered buoyancy. Put paddles and a pull buoy on her and she’s leading the lane with her heart rate never leaving Zone-negative-1.

The Guy That Really Needs New Shorts: Enough said.

The Triathlete: Seal mask, one speed and always swimming on trashed legs. Often congregates in lane with other triathletes talking about stroke count, slide and glide drills, and why they never get fast. Psst…..quick talking and start swimming! That’s how you get fast!

Tugboat Tom: World’s largest man that leaves world’s most massive turbulence and wake. Do not attempt to butterfly behind this man when he is also butterflying. DO NOT. Excellent lanemate for practicing open water skills.

Rico: His name might be Flavio or might be Luis but he’s the foreigner displaced in your town and proof that no matter what language you speak there is a shared language in “on the :50” or “5 x 50 descend”.

The Perennial Puller: Does everything with a pull buoy between their legs. Why? Just ‘cuz.

Big Bob: Every team has a Big Bob. The guy that stands over 6 feet tall that could be out of the pool for 6 months and still swim a 100 in :56. The guy that just glides down the lane. Wears the dorkiest goggles and baggiest shorts but still kicks everyone’s ass.

The Early Exit: Has never stayed for a full practice.

The Late Arrival: Has never showed up on time for practice. A 60 minute practice, they arrive 15 minutes late to warm up in the middle of your mainset. Brilliant.

The “I Don’t Do IM”: See The Triathlete.

The Editor: Always making changes to the workout. I don’t feel like swimming IM today or I’m going to go on the minute instead or I’m going to pull this one. If you want to write your own workouts swim in your own lane.

The Tub Toy: Person that refuses to swim entire practice without relying on some sort of toy at some point; pull buoy, fins, paddles, floaties for their arms.

The Wall Flower: For no reason just stops in the middle of set and stands at the wall in most inconvenient position while you continue with set. Has become known as the person that “always stops at the wall” and no one knows why.

The Has Been: Seriously dude I don’t care what you swam in high school you’re 45 years old let it go and show me what you can swim now (and I mean for more than 100 yards).

The Cramp: 50 minutes into the 60 minute practice they are on deck stretching their calf – always. Part of you feels sorry for them. The other part says – good, there’s only 10 minutes left.

The Chatterbox: Confuses swim hour with social hour. While they chit chat away the rest of the pool is half through the warm up. Shut your trap, swim your laps and stay on pace.

The Rabbit: Blows out the warm up then slowly starts to fizzle and fade. Good thing you left your best swim in the first 1000 yards!

The Dark Horse: Warms up slow, slowly ekes through the mainset then all of a sudden at 4000 yards they bolt and start lapping the lane.

The Whiner: I can’t do it, I’ll never make that interval, I’m too slow, this is too hard. HEY! HTFU. Quit your complaining. Now lead the lane.

Jugs Magoo: Kind of like The Pregnant Lady except not pregnant but displaying super human buoyancy powered by big boobs.

The Motorboat: It’s like a Bermuda Triangle of bubbles when you are in their draft. You are not sure you will ever see your way out. Or even see the wall.

Bass Ackwards: Freakish ability to match your freestyle speed with backstroke.

The Bad Mood: Always in a bad mood. ALWAYS. If in your lane will try to also put you in a bad mood. Says nothing good about swimming and always calls themselves slow. Agree with them, then switch lanes.

The Commander: You want this person in your lane. Will keep you honest, always knows when to leave on the next interval, cutting swim short is never an option, goes all the way. If the coach says “do it on the 3:00” they say “let’s try 2:55”.

Not Human: The guy that can do no breath fly.

The Ragdoll: No idea of where their body exists in space and time. Most likely to swim over the black line and depaddle you every 50 yards. Do not attempt to swim with this person during sets of IM.

The Kid: Anyone under 25 that swims with the team. Isn't there a kids team?

The Jackhole: The guy that dives in with a giant splash covering you in ass cold water while you sit at the edge of the pool slowly putting one inch of your body at a time into the ass cold water. The only word missing from jackhole is – ass.

The Overachiever: Anyone that swims at practice before 6 am, see also Not Human.

The Open Turner: See The Triathlete.

The Swirling Vortex: Not so much a person but a lane – any time you find yourself swimming against the wall with more than 3 other swimmers. Add extra swirl if you are doing a set of IM.

“You Don’t Want To Swim With Them”: Every team has one. The person that you approach to swim in a lane with while the coach secretly shakes their head and widens their eyes to warn you that under no circumstances do you want to swim with this person because of erratic behavior, ie., The WallFlower, The Tub Toy, The Editor.

The Snotter/Spitter/Pisser: You may have seen it or you just have a feeling that they are leaving something from their body in this pool.

The Tow Rope: Always right on your feet but will never take over the lead; similar to The Sandbagger.

The Newbie: New to masters, new to the pool, heck new to this world. No idea what it means to swim 100's on the 1:45 or to send off on the :30. "Descend" is what you do when you walk down stairs. "Making the interval" is something you do in math class. Help this person, will you? Because we have all been there.

Each person adds more to each swim practice. Without them, practice would be missing the fun and flavor of mixed personalities. With them, it becomes an entertaining experience reminding you that everyone brings something different to the pool though they all come for the same reason - to swim!

16 comments:

Andrea said...

I think you forgot one: The Newbie. The girl that doesn't know what lane to get into, lane etiquette, or what 100 on the 2:05 means. But she shows up anyway because she knows that masters will make her a better swimmer and is willing to make mistakes in order to learn.

I'm the newbie.

Beth said...

This is awesome Liz! I could think of someone on my masters team for each of your definitions. What about that person that pushes off the wall 0.0005 seconds right after you and you can feel them on your toes the entire workout? Do they have a name? :)

Pedergraham said...

OK--I officialy snorted snot b/c I was laughing so hard, but at the same time reading very nervously and hoping not to find a description of myself in there. I have to admit I am one of those that, while almost always on time, can generally be regarded to be the last one in...but, I do what the coach says, keep my negativity to myself, and long ago lost my fins somewhere in the basement.
-Danielle

Karl McCracken said...

Scarily good observation - I spotted myself more than once in this list, and not in a flattering light.

The big question though, is which one is Elizabeth?

E.L.F. said...

We have all been at least THREE of these personalities at some point during our "swim career". Guilty of being "I Don't Do IM", "The Tub Toy" and "The Dark Horse."

Laura said...

Hilarious! I can definitely pinpoint most of these swimming types in our local masters team - the triathlete lanes are full of "I don't do IM" people, which isn't a criticism as I fall in there too.
Here's another - the superstar racer who jumps in a slower lane claiming that he's injured and needs to recover, then laps the whole lane so no one can keep up.

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

Wunderbargain! Love it! Again - your ability to observe other people is uncanny. My poor sister is on her phone, trying to have a conversation - and here I am, nearly peeing myself with laugher. Thankfully, all the coffee has been consumed. Mostexcellent. How would you classify open water swimmers?

Crazy?

Shark bait?

Hhhhmmmmmm. :)

I hear there's a baby tiger shark in la jolla cove looking for us.

TriGirl Kate O said...

What a riot! We have plenty of all those types on our masters team--and I too qualify in more than one category (but I won't say which).

Kellye Mills said...

I admit... I'm not 15 min late, but rarely get in a warm up!! I'll work on that :)

And if I get boobs... will that make me faster?? They could advertise in triathlete magazine as a speed enhancement tool!! :)

My least favorite... a version of the tow rope. That not only pushes off of the wall 1 sec after you leave and gets right on your toes, but then acts snobby about the fact that they think they're faster than you because they don't get the whole drafting thing!!

AGA said...

Aw man, I am always the snotter...and when I actually went to masters I couldn't keep up with the pregnant lady.

Gee, I love the pool;)

Benson said...

Great observations and descriptions. I am a few of those myself but most often the Commander. I love to swim as prescribed. I'm also a triathlete WHO DOES IM. My fly is a bit weak but I'll tap your toes otherwise.

Good for Andrea. She'll be a fish in no time.

Bob Mitera said...

Ok...I am several of these. Most recently...the dark horse but I feel a touch of has been and rabbit coming on for San Diego.

Shan said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA OMG how this post resonated with me! I think I might have seen every personality you listed at one point or another...

That's the best part of swimming masters - such a mixed bag of personalities!!

Great post!!!

Bryan said...

Hilarious!

Sherry said...

We don't even have a master's practice around here, but I can clearly imagine each one of these types of people... and I fit into more than a few categories.

This morning... I was "The Excuse Maker" on my bike ride. *gulp*

Molly said...

I'm going to take it as a compliment that my swim friend says I'm a combination of the Open Turner and the Commander. I like being the Commander :p