Ten things that can seriously disturb your equilibrium in a public swimmingpool.
1. Swimming backstroke full tilt into the side of the pool and striking it with your head.
2. Swimming backstroke full tilt into chest/breasts/abdomen of someone who has chosen to hang and exercise from the side of the pool just where you would otherwise have rammed your head.
3. When you come up to breath, involutarily swallowing a lot more water than you really want. (Classic.)
4. Catching your big toe between two of the plastic discs on the floating lane barrier (painful) and tearing your toenail (excruciating).
5. Seeing something floating near the bottom of the pool and realising it is a sanitary towel/tampon/condom/piece of sticking plaster.
6. Discovering mid-length that the goggles protecting your eyes from the chlorine in the water have sprung a leak and are filling up with an exclusive eyebath just for you.
7. Being swum into by someone who ought to be looking where they are going.
8. Swimming yourself into some idiot who insists on getting in your way.
9. Finding yourself swimming behind someone so heavily dosed with perfume or aftershave that they trail it behind them like the smoke plume from a ship’s funnel.
10. When none of the above are disturbing you … Dreaming, or getting too involved in the debate you are having in your head so you: Swim backstroke full tilt into … Involutarily swallow … Catch your toe … Get swum into by … Etc.
Some of the above originally appeared in my Twitter stream at the beginning of December.