Thursday, May 12, 2016

Swim Season 2016

Marcus and Agata seem to have been waiting for this moment forever.   Yes, well I'm referring to the start of the 2016 Swim Season and in particular the opening of our closest, local, 50 Metre Swimming Pool.

A love Hate Relationship
Of the three sports that we oh so happy with, namely Running, Cycling and Swimming,  I still regret to say that Swimming comes in a far third.

We find it very difficult to overcome our natural aversion or annoyance with it because ...

- Other people seem so much faster and more elegant than us
- Swimming looks easy but is in fact difficult to do well
- Usually there are a lot of OTHER people clogging up OUR pool
- Other people often have no idea of swim etiquette:  I'll mention 2 easy ones: Stopping to let you overtake at lane end, not swinging arms out whilst swimming and hitting, sometimes painfully other swimmers as you cross.

In the Rain
Since by definition, you get wet whilst Swimming, it is the ideal exercise to participate whilst it is heavily raining.  For Marcus and Agata, we never cycle during heavy rain and long runs (say over 90 minutes) in the rain are not regarded as fun.   On a rainy day then, Swimming is just ideal!

The Advantages of Swimming
So I always have to remind myself of the big advantages

- Swimming allows for differing abilities.   Lanes are divided according to ability, so fast and beginners should be able to share a laned pool without conflict
- People is open to those who are overweight, they can swim too, and hopefully as their training continues they become more trim and less of the fat!
- It's a non cardio activity (at least for Marcus!),  so you can do it whilst tired
- It generates little washing: At session end you have just a towel and maybe trunks to stick in the washing machine
- It is all over in about an hour, the limit of Marcus' normal swim session boredom threshold, whilst a cycle or run might go on for hours
- You get a free shower out of the deal, meaning saving costs from the home shower which we bear for a run or a cycle
- Kit prices: Just swimming trunks and maybe a wetsuit.  Far cheaper and less complex and less expensive than Cycling or Running.  For Cycling in particular, you can spend  ,000's Thousands on a Bike, and need to upgrade it yearly.  Swimming is thus accessible to most people even on a budget.
- It's economical: Our local yearly swim pass is under 300 CHF, and let's say you swim 50 times per year this is just 6 CHF a swim, which in Swiss terms is a bargain
- Good in the rain as noted above
- Finally, I'll also point out that pools attract lots of smiling and fit looking people,  this provides a nice atmosphere

Which Pool?

Whilst indoor pools in Lausanne are open all year around the outdoor pool choices are open briefly and for 50metres we have

- Bellerive Pool
- Often overcrowded
- Pool staff tend to close pool if raining.  Unbelievable!
- No Wetsuits or protective long clothing allowed

- Pully

To Marcus there is absolutely no comparison.  It has to be Pully since

- Friendly Staff
- Rarely overcrowded, though best avoid Weekends or Holidays when people have a lemming like tendency to attend
- Triathlon Friendly:  Bellerive has banned wetsuits or long sleeved clothing.   

Marcus needs to wear long clothing to protect his fragile skin, and they just won't allow it.  So I can only go swimming at Bellerive in the rain or on cloudy days.  Ridiculous.   

Conversely Pully always allows wetsuits and the pool is a main venue for the Pully Tri club

The Swim Pass
For our Swiss canton of Vaud and for Lausanne a yearly Swim pass is about 250 CHF.   Just fantastic value and it allows you to use and of the local pools, indoor or out.

Comparing to the cost of a gym and you'll realise that Swimming is so much better value.

Here you see the /Do I really have to go/ look of Marcus.  I mean I know I will enjoy it eventually!

That beautiful moment when you reset the Pool Size on your GPS watch to its 50 Metre setting.  Blissful!

 A few Km later.
 Oh so happy!

 Pully pool is next to the lake.  Just fantastic views all around.

 An almost totally empty pool.   Now that is my kind of pool!

Today I chose an old, normally retired but thick and warm wetsuit.  On May 11th the first day of pool opening I guessed right that the water might be a little cold.  This 3.8mm thick suit saved the day.

And So
If you live in Lausanne I highly recommend you to purchase a yearly swimming pass, which is a cost efficient way to exercise, have a great time, and support the Lausanne canton.

And Pully pool, with its 50metre, heated outside pool, usually rif raff free, provides a wonderful environment for you to improve your swimming, and really enjoy this full body exercise.