By Mike Gustafson//Contributor | Wednesday, September 27, 2017
When you’re a swimmer, you hear weird things. You know you’re a swimmer when you hear these weird things, and you don’t think of them as weird at all. You think of them as normal. Every day musings heard from the gutter, pool deck, or during warm-ups. They are comments said almost every day.
“This pool is slow.”
“Sorry I breathed into the wall.”
“Fly and die, last one fast one!”
They are secret code — comments only (usually) swimmers understand. It’s just what happens when you’ve been locked away in a concrete pool for hours, weeks, months, and years of your life. You invent new phrases, new ways of describing things. It is a swimmer’s world, with a swimmer’s own language.
Below are just a few of the many, many odd things you’ll hear on a pool deck…
1. “Leave on the top.”
Only swimmers refer to a clock as having tops and bottoms, and how one should leave on a top or a bottom. Occasionally I’ve said to friends when sitting at a restaurant, “Let’s just leave on the top.” Long, confused stares ensue.
2. “This water feels fast.”
The aquatic consumed masses rate water as feeling fast, slow, or say something like, ‘I can really feel this water today.’ For everyone else, and non-swimmers, water just feels like water.
3. “Green hair, don’t care.”
Actually, most my friends’ hair turned a pleasant dead blonde color. Not necessarily the color of a healthy blonde, but more like the color of dying, dying hair.
4. “If you touch my foot without passing again, I’ll end you.”
Normally I’d be concerned if some stranger was touching your foot. In swimming, it’s just another adventure in a crowded warm-up.
5. “8 100s breathe every 3-5–7-9 each 25, descend every one through four then five through eight, negative split.”
Swimmers can understand exactly what this would mean. No one else can. It’s a secret coded language.
6. “This is my second dinner. [Bite.] Of three.”
This is usually uttered in reference to the second dinner of a pending three. The swimmer who articulates this is not proud, nor satisfied, but tired and exhausted of the constant eating required to maintain the swimmer lifestyle.
7. “I’m leaking again.”
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