The indoor pool at the downtown Y has been closed for the past two days while they do some work to it. This meant I only was able to indoor cycle Monday evening and last night I decided to take my chances and swim laps at the new Smyrna YMCA.
I wish now I'd just skipped it and done some work on the equipment downtown instead.
One of my big fears when it comes to swimming laps is running into another person while doing my workout. I try to be aware of what's going on around me, but sometimes you in the rhythm, breathing correctly and making sure you're swimming in a straight line that you can't be aware of every developing situation outside the pool. Last night, as I was swimming, a little girl decided to hop in the lane with me. I was totally unaware of this--until I hit her in the water.
I immediately stopped and was concerned for her and myself. Thank heaven, we were both fine, though I was bit upset. After I made sure she was OK, I firmly told her to get out of my lap lane and not get back in.
I didn't cuss, I didn't yell, but I was direct and to the point. I then went and tried to calm down and see if I needed to alert the lifeguard that they should vacate the pool. Thankfully, this was not the case.
Now, in this situation, you might expect that maybe, just maybe the lifeguard staff would maybe, just maybe stop whatever they're doing and make sure we were OK. NEVER HAPPENED. I had to get out and go the head of the aquatic center to tell her about the incident or else no one there would know. Seems to me that at the least the Y would want to make sure everyone was safe and no one was hurt.
I went and told the head of the aquatic department about what had happened and then told her what I thought of the lifeguard staff--totally unprofessional and a total disregard for doing their job. It's not just one incident, it's a lot of things. I had a good frend in Knoxville who was a guard for the Y. She told me that you can test a lifeguard staff as a lap swimmer to see if you're safe. YOu swim a bit, get into a rhythm and then stop....go totally quiet for a minute and see if the lifeguard will glance over and make eye contact. I did this last night before the incident and then after and NEVER got any eye contact. Never looked over. So, I could be drowning and maybe they'd figure it out...maybe not. I don't want the lifeguards to watch me and exclude keeping everyone else safe, but I would like it if they acted like they gave a damn about my safety while in the pool. I'm a paying customer to use the Y and I have certain expectations of the staff--the whole not drowning thing being one of them. I pay their salary by my dues and fees to be a member and I expect them to be professional and do their job.
I was told the staff was young and learning, and I retorted with--well, I don't want to be the one who teaches them a hard lesson if something happens and I drown. I was told it would be addressed but I've raised these issues before and was told that reforms would be made--and I'm not seeing it.
So, I'm sending a letter to the head of the YMCA. I am being vocal--polite, but firm and not backing down--until this matter is resolved.
On one level, I want the Y to be safe for me and everyone who uses it. On a selfish level, I just don't need the guilt trip and potential heart attack from running into anyone else in the lap lane. I go to the Y to swim laps and unwind from my day, not get more wound up than when I started.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/01/2006 09:34:00 AM