I got yelled at in the pool today.
I had just started, only two laps in. And yes, I was passing people. But that happens in a community pool. You pass people, you get passed. I always try to pass carefully, without getting into the other person's space.
We have been having some problems recently this summer (it always seems to be worse in the summer) with very fast swimmers coming into the medium-speed lane and passing aggressively. Like, just taking over the center of the lane and zooming back and forth. So quickly that no one else can use that area to pass in.
Well, anyway, I was on my second lap, at the end of the pool, about to pass on the turn, when the woman I was going to pass popped up out of the water, hit the water with her arm, swore at me, and shouted, "You don't belong here! Go swim in the fast lane!"
I stared at her, said "calm down" or something brilliant like that, and swam away. Very fast. I tell you, I have never swum so fast as in those next ten laps.
But as I was swimming, aside from being angry and thinking of great come-backs/explanations, I thought, maybe she's right. Maybe it is time for me to move over into the fast zone. Maybe I am ready. I've gotten faster, I can swim farther than ever before. What am I waiting for?
And then I thought, if I move into the fast lane I'll only have to deal with people passing me (no big deal), and I won't have to deal with getting around people who don't know how to share the pool. Who swim on their back, wide-armed, slowly veering into the center. Who suddenly stop, ten feet away from the end, and swim over to the other side. Who stop and chat with their friends, taking up the entire length of the shallow end. Who get upset and swear at you when they get passed.
So I moved over. And it was great. I could swim evenly, smoothly, just focusing on my swimming and how things felt in the water, not worrying about having to get around people at every turn. For the first time I could really feel what it was like to get passed and pulled along a bit by that person's passing, how the texture of the water changed as I entered the deeper end, and changed again as I got near the edge of the pool. I felt strong and alive.
And I got passed --- smoothly and evenly --- and I passed a couple of people, and it was all easy and uninterrupted. No big deal.
I was having such a good time that I decided to just go for it and swim another quarter mile farther than I have before, for a mile and a half (54 laps). And it was hard, and I kept going, and told myself all the same things I do when I'm running and it's hard, and did all the same things and I got to the last quarter mile and I started counting down, nine laps to go, eight, seven...
And then I was done. And it was good. And it didn't matter that I got yelled at, or that I was going to be sore later that day. 'Cause I have graduated to the fast lane, and I never thought I'd be here. Boo-yah!