Spurred on by past experiences and a recent post by Andrew Hall i thought i'd write a little bit about public swimming.
Swimming with an organized group with swimmers your level, with a coach on deck is the perfect world. Everything flows well, no hold ups and we can get through a workout quite efficiency. However some may feel this is perhaps a little too much like a laboratory setting. World Champ Alistair Brownlee swims a lot of time in public lanes, sighting it is more 'real world' like. I believe he has a point to some extent.
Organized lane space undoubtedly has its purpose and without it you just simply cannot do the key tough sessions effectively. However, when you have that rolling/recovery swim on your schedule perhaps it is better to go during public times. Choose the time when most people will be out too, like lunch hour. This is perfect as everyone is in to get a workout in 30-45mins.
Here are some advantages i've found with public swimming:
- Develops sighting skills
- Acquire coping strategies to contact
- Forced rhythm changes/surges when passing
- Decision making skills enhanced
Swimming rage however can sometimes enter the picture in public lanes. According to this article it is a growing concern. I really like the identification of the different water species, pretty accurate! As bystanders it must really give lifeguards some amusement and material for conversation pieces.