Now that swim season is over, I have my afternoons wide open! This has made for prime training time, and especially for getting swims in since the pool is right across the street from the school I work at :) Ben is taking full advantage of this new opening in my schedule and now has me swimming 3-4 times a week! This alone is big for me, because even with Ironman training I only did 2x a week.
I am now one of the regulars at that time of day on any given weekday. There are very few people there that time of day, and one of the others is this older man (65-70 I would guess?) with a thick German accent. He always tries to make small talk and I try to always be friendly, but honestly, his accent makes it hard to understand him, and I also have a swim cap over my ears and sometimes even water in my ears, so I just try to make general conversation and pretend I heard what he said. I also just wanna get my set done some days!
Anyhow, this man has been more talkative lately. He knows that I coach the high school team there. He likes to talk about the sport in general and clearly has some knowledge of it since he talks about Olympic prospects, and their recent times and their coaches. He is super friendly. Lately he has decided to start giving me unsolicited feedback (all positive). He will say when I come to the wall "nice hand positioning" or " you are very streamlined". Yesterday was a little strange though. He asked me why I was breathing more frequently on my 100s than I had been the week before. Alrighty then! He has clearly been watching me very carefully. I am not sure what to think of this, but I just go with it and try to be polite. He then gets out of the pool, pulls up a chair, and busts out a stopwatch! What the? He sits at the end of my lane and looks down to see my workout written down. I continue about my set, and I was doing some 100s. He says, "You were at a 1:38 for the last one. Lets pick it up for the last two." Well, now I have to bust out some hot 100s! Once that was over (and I posted a 1:33 and a 1:35 for the last two) I had 10x25s. He then was like, " You did a 20 on that last one. I think you could do an :18 if you tried." Um okay? Because I'm not already busting my arse, right? Of course, I didn't say this, but I had to push it some! When some guy with a German accent is yelling your splits at you, you just GO!
At the end of my workout, I hit stop on my Garmin and realized I posted the fastest average 100 time EVER. 1:37. What the heck? Can I please have him yell at me more often?
I was on the fence about how to take this. First off, it sort of creeps me out to know anyone is watching me that closely. But then again, I have to remember that people of his generation and people from Europe tend to not have the personal boundaries that I have, and he could very well be an old school swim coach that is just being friendly and enjoying talking about the sport with someone else in it. Ken's first response to this was "You have a pool stalker!" followed by a laugh. However, none of his critiques have been inappropriate (in fact they are very technical in nature, and things an average Joe swimming laps wouldn't know), like he isn't watching my flip turns or suggesting naked yoga in the sauna. So as long as he is friendly, I will continue to be as well.
The more I have thought about it, I am completely intrigued and bound and determined to know his story. He probably has a pretty cool one!