I wrote the following before two things happened:
1. Covid, fortunately mild but with a cough and exercise intolerance that lasted weeks
2. Renting a house down south for the month of February, a new experience for this North of the Arctic Circle girl. It was winter when we arrived, now it's a little spring-like, and nice at the beach. For an hour or two. With a sweatshirt and pants. These southern people embrace it though, so there's that.
In my retirement I have enjoyed belonging again to an athletic club and have been doing lap swimming regularly, the only exercise that doesn't tax my knee. I've also attended some water aerobic type classes but there is only one instructor that really seems to want you to have a good workout. It's filled with old ladies who love to chat with each other. I get that it's social, but I really just think it's rude to have conversations when the instructor is pouring her heart into a class and others are trying to get something out of it besides a social interaction and not getting your hair wet. Change my mind. I'll fight you. I still have a lot of unresolved anger, but I'm working on that, I promise.
The good thing about my facility is that I have to reserve a lap lane in advance, which motivates me and creates some accountability. I'm partial to lane 4 (of 5), in late morning, when the sun is nice and the staff have cut the overhead lights. Because laps are boring, and I'm swimming about 50-55 minutes (up to 64 laps in a 25 meter pool, yay me), I purchased an inexpensive waterproof MP3 player with earbuds that also keep out water out of my ears. After 15 or 18 laps, it gets easier. I can block out the neighboring lap swimmers, enjoying a kind of sensory zen.
Well. Most of the time.
There is one swimmer I really hate to swim next to. She is quite a bit younger, very fit and focused.
I call her the Water Buffalo, Water Buff for short.
I don't know if it is a training method, but she literally SLAPS the water with each stoke, She is trying to punish it. She is an angry elf. "I hate you water. I will kill you"
As if this violence isn't distracting enough, sometimes she puts on a pair of slappy plastic hand paddle thingies, or some slappy plastic fins on her feet. The worst is when she does this awkward kind of angry hybrid breast/butterfly stroke. It doesn't move very far. It is fairly intense. All of her techniques have in common they are loud and create a lot of splash.
I mostly try to ignore her, but Water Buf displaces a lot of water splashy-splash in my direction, which I find VERY distracting.
Me, I like to try to slide through the water as easily and hydrodynamically as possible, concentrating on the elements of my swimming: breathing, rotation, stroke, pull, kick; a different focus every few laps. I'm not strict or structured as I lack formal swim training. I've just always enjoyed it, and music makes it enjoyable. My playlist is only a few albums of favorites. Mostly f rom the 1970's, don't judge. If you've never exercised to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young or James Taylor, I can't even talk to you.
I think I will offer Water Buff the use of my MP3 player. She seems like she could use a few laps of "So Far".