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Swimming Pools - or am I just too bad to share?

Musing about swimming in Germany

We are now over a year back in Germany, and I have gotten used to running here (just out the door and switch on GPS and go!), and cycling here (ditto), but swimming remains a challenge. First thing is that there are weird opening times. Swimming early in the morning - well, no, we open at 10am. Maybe one day per week at 7am, but then everyone wants to swim. Fridays they are closed for the public, or I come at 1pm, only to find a fairly full pool, again. Today (Saturday) was crowded because everyone wanted to pre-burn Christmas calories - maybe...

The other issue is pool organization: At our beautiful YMCA pool there were lap lanes. If people wanted to seim together they just chose a lane together. Here there is one separated lap lane for swimmers (front crawl, only, please) and every triathlete crowds in there. In Bruchsal there is a second, wider, lane, originally for schools and sometimes occupied by them, but constantly there - if no school and no club is there one can share with  other swimmers of every speed. Swimming in circles, passing if necessary.

In Waghaeusel ther only is one swimmer's lane, that's it.

What they do with the rest of the pool: Every other swimmer, starting from the kid learning to swim, the ladies chatting while (zig zag) swimming, the gentlemen backstroking, the other ladies who don't like their hair wet, share three quarters of the pool. Front crawl doesn't work there, for one doesn't see forward and always has to make sure the whole area in front is free, and no one may zigzag in. Space per person is much larger here than in the swimmer's lanes.

Usually I hit the fast-crawl-stroke lane, and for I am a slow crawl stroker people tend to pass me. Still, that's not very nice of me to put everyone else in danger of head-bumping. So today I went to the wider lane and passed the slower breast- and backstrokers, but this is like street traffic, far from a relaxed workout.

When I shared lanes at our YMCA in Des Plaines, I didn't mind, it kind of gave a bit the feeling of the tri-start-whirl pool. But for there's only one other person in the lane one can easily avoid collisions. Here you almost can't.

So sometimes I take the half-hour-plus drive to the 50m-pool in Karlsruhe. They have a similar system, but usually there are 2-4 lap lanes one can use. And people distribute better over the pool length. Sharing isn't so difficult here because passing doesn't mean automatically risking to bump into someone on the 25-m stretch. Yet, it's a half-hour-plus drive and, oecologically minded,  I never believed in driving far for a workout.

I know I am ranting at a high level but I wonder why the pools aren't more swimmer-friendly around here...Or maybe I just haven't learned to share...