Response Time

I had two recent experiences at the pool, which sharply contrasted each other. How I respond to situations is something of a work in progress for me. I cannot say that I am even doing particularly well, but in taking a moment to reflect, I hope to learn.

R has always slightly intimidated me. I have warmed up to her over the years, but we do not have the same relationship as I do with the other women. At the end of practice, she gave me frank advice about flip turning to the side to allow space for everyone else behind me. 

My normal response is defence, but I realized that it was an extraordinary moment! Her advice was proof that I had achieved my latest mini goal. Her husband smiled at me, and I realized that he, too, recognized my vast improvement. It was a moment to be proud of. 

I smiled and said, “Thank you.”

The other moment was handled differently. I was at the end of the lane, in a new pool, and someone approached the lane and said to the lifeguard,

“I guess I should have gotten here sooner. My fast lane is all crowded. Should I kick them out? Would you support my moving them out? They don’t seem very fast.” 

It was so rude, considering that I was standing right there, in the lane. Regardless of how fast anyone was, kicking them out, in a three lane pool, where the other lanes were not at all conducive for lap swimming, would have been unconscionably rude. If you are that fast, swim around everyone else and time your take offs accordingly. 

I decided that he wasn’t worth engaging, and, instead, I burst forth from wall, watching my form and gathering speed. “I’ll show him,” I thought.

He wound up swimming in the medium lane. 

In either situation, what would you have done? How can we take a moment, in the heat of the moment, to gauge the situation and decide upon the appropriate response? 


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