So in January, after having a successful intro session of lessons with a local swim club, my friend and I joined the proper club for a one time weekly swim.
The first lesson went HORRIBLY. The lanes were over crowded and there was no structure to what paces or strokes/drills people were swimming. There were massive dudes who didn’t care if you were in front of them, they ran you over (leaving me with a MASSIVE welt on my forearm). I ended up leaving class early, fighting back tears and not really feeling like I want to go back.
The club manager emailed me a really patronizing email saying I’m the problem because I was swimming in a lane that was too fast for me and once I learned the ropes everything would be peachy. This was particularly frustrating I had admitted to the instructor that I’m new and not sure how this works or where I should be. Plus, general politeness would suggest to me that running over your swim club mates is not a good thing to do.
It made me want to go back and prove to her that the problem wasn’t my slowness, it was the anarchy and lack of general etiquette in the club. Once my anger subsided and I felt like I had proved myself…I felt a weird pressure to just swim like a banshee all the time and not take breaks and not stop and to go fast even when my body was telling me to slow down. The fact that the manager swam in my lane and made comments about how smart it is to take a rest if I did stop to adjust my swim cap or goggles didn’t really help things..and the pressure grew as I kept showing up …and not and my level of enjoyment of swimming decreased to an all time low.
I continued going with my friend through January and February until I went to Australia…but I dreaded going and only went because I made a commitment to my friend. I missed the fun of our old lessons…and I missed the structure and not feeling like I had to perform, but rather just do my best.
While I was in Australia, my friend continued to go to the club…and she experienced similar treatment…essentially a bit of what she called bullying…backhanded comments on “taking rests when you need them” and generally running her over as she tried to swim.
I went to go pick her up yesterday for our club and we sorta had a heart to heart about how we both miss enjoying our swimming and how the fun of it was gone since we joined the “proper” club. We decided yesterday, over coffees instead of swim drills, that we would be our own swim club and we would meet at an equidistant pool and swim by ourselves.
Best decision I made this year, I think. 🙂
Have you ever been made to feel like you don’t belong in a sports club as an adult? Let me know what happened and what you did in the comments.