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Monday, September 10, 2012

How countries can be compared to swimming pool etiquette: Guest Post from Bex from This 'n' That

         Summer swim weather may be about over for most of us in the Northern Hemisphere, but there are always indoor pools for the year-round swimmer.  Bex can be sometimes be found at her blog This 'n' That.  She can also be sometimes found in her adopted country of Greece.  

How countries can be compared to swimming pool etiquette

        Wait, let me explain this one.

        So there I am, sitting with my croissant and coffee, checking my emails in the morning and surfing Facebook (addictive isn’t it?) when I happen across a post from my friend in the UK.  She’s p*ssed because off she trotted to her local swimming pool and the man next to her wasn’t keeping to his LANE.  And he was SPLASHING her, and not keeping to the CORRECT SIDE of his lane, and how DARE he not keep to his lane.

       It got me smiling and thinking.  I replied to her Status Update with what now, in retrospect, seems to be a rather sarcastic comment by saying  “Ohhhhh!  How terribly British!  All this mentions of correct ways to swim, lanes, etc.  Try coming to Greece – swimming is SO much more fun!”

       Now back to my point.  It got me thinking how swimming pool etiquette is pretty similar to how a country is run.  Think about it: the UK is efficient, runs along rules which, most of the time, work and keep people in order, knowing what they can and can’t do.  Pretty much like when swimming and keeping to the correct side of your lane, please.

       Then there’s Greece.  Ahhhh Greece: chaos reigns.  But it’s a sort of nostalgic chaos if that makes sense.  Out of this chaos of people swimming wily nilly in the pools bumping into each other, riding around not wearing their crash helmets on bikes, occasionally making their strong feelings felt in public (too right!) and generally sticking two fingers up to authority, there emerges a weird sort of respect and order for each other.  People stick together more.

        Paradoxically, to actually gain entry into a public pool in Greece is like trying to get access to the Oval Office of the White House: you need a gynaecologist report and dermatological certificate to certify you are ‘clean’ enough to swim in their pools (not hotel pools).  But back we come to the Greece lack of respect for rules:  all one needs to do is pay the Dr and he gives you a clean bill of health anyway (not that I’ve ever done that – ahem).

UK Public pool (note how civilized everyone is??)

    Note the comparison? To be fair to the Greeks,  I think they might be tourists 
(what IS it about sunshine that drives them to do crazy things??)    Source
          Visit Bex at This 'n' That
          What's the pool etiquette like where you are?  Do you go swimming during the winter?  Are you looking forward to the Fall season?

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  1. Good post. Fortunately there is no winter where I live in Malaysia, so we can go swimming year-round. Yeah, people splash and stare at me the white man which kind of reflects the 'anything can' attitude of Malaysia!

  2. Great post Bex, I personally hate nothing more than somebody not keeping to their lane and I can definitely see the similarities between blogging and swimming now you've pointed them out for us. I love swimming though.

  3. Interesting post. I don't swim, so I can't share any experiences of what the pools are like around here.

  4. Great post, as you say in the UK we are pretty well up to standard. As a none swimmer I have not personally come across any other countries swimming pools.


  5. I think the American pools tend to be more on the Greek side of the line. ;)

  6. not(i hope) to sound like a pool snob--but i do not like public pools--and i am not sure of the proper rules in one haha--great post!

  7. The metaphor works! I'm a beach person, so I only have to duck those surf boards. No lanes! Very few rules for swimmers.

    Loved the post.

  8. I live in the Caribbean, the land of perpetual summer. I prefer the beach where there are no rules, and I have my own swimming pool- no rules there either.

  9. I'm so glad I have my own pool. In the USA public pools are too crowded for anyone to care about splashing.

  10. I've never been a fan of overly public pools. Even the community one in our neighborhood I've never been in. I actually never go swimming, though I should--it's good exercise.


  11. Ha, terribly British is the right way to describe it alright. It'd be nice to have a little bit of chaos now and again.

  12. Glad you could all relate to this post in some way - yes, Greek style (aka CHAOS!) is my preference, but chaos can get exhausting as well.
    How about anyone else? Can you notice any similarities in any sport to the way your society functions?

  13. P.S. For more interesting Greek observations and cultural differences, check out my other blog at:


  14. I am just going to strut round the pool in my white budgie smugglers :-)

  15. We've got the best of both worlds. Our neighborhood pool complex has a nice proper lap pool (with separated lanes and the associated etiquette)and a full pool where the only rules involve safety (and peeing).


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