1.The butterfly guy
Alan is 6' 5", 18 stone and has spent 12 hours of the last week on the Central line. These things combined mean that, when he hits the lido on a Sunday morning keen to get rid of some latent rage, he has the ability to cause unprecedented amounts of watery destruction. Naturally, he opts for the most obnoxious of swimming strokes: the butterfly. Huge arms whack the water, tree-trunk legs thrash out: swimming next to him is like white water rafting without a raft.
2. The poser
Alex’s spiritual animal is the cat. An elegant, sleek Abyssinian, to be precise. This manifests itself most visibly on Saturday afternoon when Alex likes nothing better than to stretch out his limbs in the sun, poolside. Like his feline soulmates he goes nowhere near the water. Unlike his feline soulmates his summertime posing and posting fails to whip the internet into a frenzy.
3. The fast person in the slow lane
Angela came second in Leamington Spa’s under-14s swimming competition, a disappointment that continues to weigh heavily on her soul. But she’s found ways of dealing with such early life failure. She does some brisk laps in the slow lane of Tooting lido. Screw the grannies, screw Roger and his bad knee, screw the nervous beginner, Angela overtakes them all. Who needs therapy when 20 minutes of passive aggressive swimming feels so good?
4. The slow person in the fast lane
Janine was the winner of Leamington Spa’s under-14s swimming competition and as a result is pretty confident about how amazing her front crawl is. What Janine hasn’t clocked yet is that her swimming skills peaked remarkably early in life and now, aged 30, her pace is more akin to that of an aquatic snail, ie very very slow. It’s a misunderstanding that leads to a traffic jam in lane three of Tooting’s lido with levels of rage to match the M2" on the Friday before a bank holiday.
5. The child
Eddie is seven years old. He’s worked out that while his father faffs about with a locker at the start of their session at London Fields lido, there’s a three-and-a-half-minute window of unsupervised time in which to cause some serious mayhem. Four spectacular cannonballs later and Eddie has pissed off every single individual in the pool. His father joins him and wonders why everyone is sending evils in their direction, ‘East Londoners are just so grumpy!’ he thinks.
By Gail Tolley, who lives life in the fast lane. Just really, really slowly. Deal with it.