Thursday, July 14, 2011

Failing a Swim Test

Yesterday I took Koley to a local pool.  You have to pay to get in and they only let you swim for an hour and a half before the blow the whistle, make everyone get out of the pool, and recharge you if you want to get back in.  Sorta lame- but with a little one- and it being a real scorcher yesterday- I knew an hour and a half would be just the ticket.  I brought my little neighbor girl, Jasmine, with me.
The pool is roped off in 3 sections and forms an "L".  The shorter bottom part of the "L" is the kiddie section.  It goes from 2-3 feet.  Then when you start up the long leg of the "L" about three quarters of it is for adolescents I guess (?)  it's 4-5 feet.  And then there is one more rope and past that rope it goes up to 10 feet and there is a diving board.  I know, heaven on earth, right?  That's where I like to hang out.  Or did before the Kole-one.  The deep end.  Where the wild things are.
In order to go into the deep end or jump off the diving board you have to pass a swimming test.  I'm not kidding.  No matter how old you are you have to wait in line by the lifeguard and then swim the width of the pool.  Which might be 20 feet?  Piece of cake.  Piece of crumb cake.  (name that movie Julie and Andi)
So...yesterday I am there and I give Koley to Jasmine because I want to do a cannonball.  And, lucky me, there is no line for the swimming test.  Now, one more thing... I had a pool growing up.  I know how to swim.  I know the strokes.  I swam everyday I was in Germany for exercise.  I swim laps.  I'm an astute swimmer and find this test to be silly and ridiculous if you are over let's say 12 years old.  I ask if I can take the test and the girl (maybe 16...dressed like she's 19..all tan with her tank hanging off one shoulder... and HUGE glasses.. chewing on a straw) anyway, she nods.  I swim effortlessly from one side of the pool to the other.  Perfect strokes, even breathing, loving that water gliding over me.  I even showed off a little and did one of those flip kicks like the Olympians do on the other side to head back.  I mean A+ job right?
I stop and look up at the lifeguard smiling.
"You have to do it again.  You didn't keep your head in the water," she informed me.
What?!  Didn't keep my he- "Excuse me?"
"You have to re-take it.  You need to keep your head down in the water."
"Why would you want me to keep my head in the water?  I can't breathe like that.  I was taught to turn with the strokes (pantomimes stroke and head turn) it makes sense.  The point of swimming is being able to keep your head above the water not in it."  That was my defense atleast.

She raised her eyebrows.  "I'm not letting you in the deep end until you pass."
"I just passed."
"No.  You didn't.  Like I said you didn't keep your head in the water.  You failed."

I look around.  A line of kids is forming.  And they are watching me.  Fine.
I head back across the pool with my head flat down in the water but it feels so unnatural.  And I can't breathe or see and I don't know where I am.  I feel like I am flopping like a hooked fish.  I tread water for a second while I glance up to see how far I have to go.  "HEAD DOWN!"  Eeeeks! Swim swim swim.  I reached the other side and paused for a second.  Touched the bottom and started back.  I ran right into the wall because again- I had no idea where I was in the pool.
I was angry and embarrassed.  There were about 10 kids in line all looking at me.  Waiting for me to get out of their way so they can start having fun.  I doubt any of them know how to swim the right way.  They might be able to stay afloat but hey are not English Channel material
The lifeguard says, "You touched the ground."
"Yes.  I did for like a second."
"And you stopped in the middle."
"I didn't know where I was."
"You have to re-take it."
"You have to re-take it."
"I'm not re-taking this stupid test.  I know how to swim.  I think I have proved that.  When I go off the diving board I know I'll be able to swim to the side.  Trust me!  I can swim and I'm not swimming across this pool for a THIRD time!"
"Then, I'm going to kick you out and not let you swim at all.  Rules are rules, ma'am."

I was fuming.  1.  I hate it when people (especially people younger than me) call me ma'am.  I'm not even in my late twenties yet!  That hardly qualifies me as a "ma'am."  2.  Rules are rules but this one is so stupid.  I get that they don't want little kids not knowing how to get from the middle of the pool to the side of the pool in the deep end.  Safety first and bravo.  But I'm a qualified swimmer.  And, yes, I touched at the edge, and I stopped to see where I was- but I made it there and back without drowning.  That should be a gold star and a "Pass."  3.  Quit humiliating me.

I didn't say any of that to her.  I just glared. All the kids in line started splashing impatiently.
I simply started back across the pool.  Head down.  Feet up.  Pissed off.

I only went off the dumb diving board once.
And that lifeguard girl stared at me the whole time.


Poulsen Family said...

Is this story real?! You seriously have to pass a test to swim at the pool? Wow.
Funny how there's a pool on every corner here and not one lifeguard at any of them.
If you live closer I would let you come swim at ours, without a test.

SkippyMom said...

Being a pool wife and having my husband {Pooldad] work in this business for over 30 years I have to agree with the test idea. Even for adults - sorry, but with that said:

NOT with the extremes that this chick lifeguard took it to. You PASSED the first time. You need to speak to someone higher up - and you can also go online and research what the ASPA says [American Spa and Pool Association] about the rules and regulations for passing a swim test. I used to work for them and I am sure they have the definitive ruling on this.

I find this ridiculous and the girl was way out of her authority to demand that you re do and then fail you.

I will ask Pooldad tonight when he gets home and see what he says.

vicks27 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vicks27 said...


SkippyMom said...

The website is - good luck.

I would seriously talk to her boss. The way you described it you passed the first time.

Julia said...

I love that pool. For this story especially.

Brett and Tiffany said...

Holy FUNNY! Well, it was to read, probably not for you! I would have FAILED! I am not a good swimmer!

Patty said...

@Poulsen Family- Yes it's real! Maybe one day we will live closer.

@Skippy Mom (and Pooldad)- I agree with the tests and in water safety 100%! I don't agree with snobby lifeguards pushing their power. Thanks for the website.

@Vicky- Ding! Ding! Ding!

@Jules a bug Stinkweeder- Remember when me you and Andi were the ONLY ones there? We got to take our tests simultaneously!

@Brett and Tiff- It wasn't funny then but I have been laughing about it ever since. And trust me- you would have passed. I saw some not completely legit swimmers passing.

Ashley said...

That's ridiculous! Is this the Ammon pool? Also, is this little miss Jasmine Utley you took with you? I taught her in third grade. She is a sweetie!