Go Ahead: Talk to the Guy in the Speedo


Very few guys wear the real deal Speedo to the local pool anymore. Maybe they’re scared of what others will say? I don’t know. Recently, I have noticed more board shorts for the less serious athletes and more jammers for many of the guys. Women’s swimwear hasn’t changed much over the years in contrast. No matter what the swim attire, pool etiquette associated with who wears what creates a pecking order for lane preference. Seeking an open pool lane can be a challenge when swimmers don’t want to stop their workout to talk to you, but I muscle my way in anyway and cheerfully say, “Let’s circle swim!” Not everyone likes that.

I don’t care. No one should have to wait more than a few minutes to swim just because swimmers insist on splitting the lane. Splitting the lane is when two swimmers share a lane by only swimming on one side instead of the usual counter-clockwise swim around the black line. Swimming is the same as driving: stay to the right of the line. And, I always offer to circle swim. When circle swimming, give each swimmer at least half a pool length before starting to swim, and if you have to pass, pass on the left.

In addition to circle swimming, I also talk to everyone: the woman in the two-piece, the old man barely staying afloat but somehow doing laps to spite gravity, the eight-months pregnant woman who is crushing her laps, and the guy who wants to learn how to swim. There is one guy at my local YMCA who does actually wear a real deal Speedo. Shocking, right? I have seen him a few times at the pool since I recognize many of the regulars. He’s a super fast swimmer who laps me during my workout. I wanted to talk to him to see if he was a coach, if he had a coach, how long he has been swimming, and, well, just to talk to another serious athlete. He was wearing a Speedo after all. We finished our workouts at about the same time. I walked by him and asked if he had a good workout.

“I got 2600 in,” he said.

“Nice! I just finished 3000, but you were lapping me the whole time,” I replied. I didn’t mean to brag that I swam more than he did, but sometimes my mouth is faster than my brain. By chatting with him poolside, I found out lots of information about how often he coaches and what his triathlon coach is like. Winning!

I also spoke with the woman swimming in the lane next to me who was recovering from a basketball injury, and I briefly spoke to the woman sharing my lane—she noticed that I had my Atlantic City 70.3 cap since she was wearing the same one. I wanted to talk to her more, but she was intent on swimming for an hour nonstop. Bummer. We were wearing the same watch too! Twinsies!

So, go and talk to that guy in the Speedo, the 90 year old from India, and the mom just getting a few laps done because you never know what you’ll learn.