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 Award-winning business author and broadcaster

Leadership trainer and coach

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  • Writer's pictureAudrey Tang

AITA? "Lane Rage" - how do you deal with frustration?...asking for...well, me!

Updated: Jul 25, 2022

I had no idea that the "toe tap" was a swimmer's signal to let them pass...and everywhere I've recently read about it also mentions that it's not a commonly known UK behaviour, and people really don't like being touched!

But why was I reading about it? Because since starting my "Swim 22" challenge (swimming 22 miles over 3 months - which officially began on March 22nd this year, but I'd been "training" since January), I've moved from barely keeping up in the middle lane, to often leading the fast lane (of recreational swimmers)...and I'm getting "lane rage".

What is lane rage!?

It's a bit like how you feel if the person in front was driving at a solid 50 in the fast lane of a motorway.

But in practice, I'd describe it is a cross between my British - I'll say nothing - and a lack of awareness from other swimmers...and I have found myself seething at leisurely breast stroke swimmers, who simply won't wait at one end for me to go through. Yes I've complained to the staff - but it's different swimmers each time; yes I've "turned so I'm ahead" - which also sacrifices my timings which I'm trying to improve; and yes, I've even started trying to go at different times without sacrificing my day...and Yes I'm angry.

Which is ironic because swimming is one of the places where I've found I can put my ear plugs in and really just focus on my breathing - it's almost meditative.

Getting a little perspective

Of COURSE when it comes to knowing I can do 100m in 2.30 rather than 2.45 - it REALLY doesn't matter in the big scheme of things...especially as I know that time is nothing compared to proper swimmers (but it's good for me!) So I get it if you're reading this thinking Totally TA!!!

HOWEVER, at the same time, I also believe that some awareness from others is merited, not least because when I was starting out and was very aware of my speed (or lack of) - I would change down a lane, or certainly stop and let someone pass if I wasn't going to keep up.

But it's good to share!

Of course I understand that if the pool is busy, then all lanes will be busy and you make the best of it BUT if you are doing a "head above water breast stroke" and I am working on a 3-stroke-breathe freestyle and catching you - would you consider we might not be in the fast lane for the same reasons? ...and I think it's THAT which frustrates me. IS it too much to see when someone is catching you? Is it too hard to stop at the end and wait - especially if you're taking rest stops anyway? Or is it too hard to change lanes, especially when the pool is not crowded? I'm really asking here, because I do appreciate I'm new to this, and maybe I've just got a bit, well "big swim, small pool"!!

No tips, no tools from me - I'm asking YOUR advice...

If anyone has any suggestions to deal with questionable swimming lane etiquette - I would LOVE to hear from you, and if ITA - then please tell me!

(But voicing through this blog has helped me ease my frustration somewhat...journaling does help!)

To sponsor me: Support Audrey Tang in the Diabetes UK Swim22 2022 (I've just passed 7miles so far)

Dr Audrey Tang is a chartered psychologist and author with a specialty in the "how to take action", rather than just giving explanation and advice. Listen to her podcast Retrain Your Brain here; or her Radio Show "The Wellbeing Lounge", and catch her practical masterclasses Psych Back to Basics on DisruptiveTV & Energy Top Up for resilience. For self development tools based within positive psychology: click Her YouTube Channel . Twitter/IG @draudreyt

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