Friday, October 8, 2010

Lightning - an open water swimmers enemy

How many times have open water races or training sessions been cut short or even called off because of lightning? It's only happened to me a handful of times but its been so inconvenient that if Mother Nature were right in front of me I'd give her a piece of my mind!

Actually lightning is a problem for both open water swimmers, and pool swimmers. I just don't recall ever being kicked out of a pool because of lightning before swimming at Layton. So Layton has a bubble up for a roof, and sure enough they kicked everyone out of the pool. Luckily for me I was more than half way through my workout instead of just starting it. Here's what I actually did:

1000 yards warmup nice and easy
I got a flu shot yesterday and my right arm is a little tender so it was nice to do an easy warmup that got the soreness relieved a little.
800 free pull
600 - 12 x 50's alternate between drill and back on 1:00
400 - 4 x 100's build on 1:40 (get under 1:20 on all)
200 IM fast (2:50)
200 IM easy
400 - 4 x 100's kick with fins on 2:00
500 - 4 x 150's free on 2:15.

4100 yards total

I was 50 yards into my last set of 150s when they blew the whistle so I wasn't able to complete the 4th set so that's why its 500 total instead of 600.

Thats a total of 4100 yards today. I had planned on 7100. I wasn't too upset because I'm planning to swim tonight while Austin and Jacob are at the club. So I'll get in plenty of swimming today anyway.

Anyway so I get out and go to the showers and put shampoo in my hair when one of the male lifeguards walks in and says, "I hate to do this to you, but we can't let people take showers either." I was like "Are you serious?" I've never been told in my lifeguarding days to prevent people from taking showers during a thunderstorm. In fact, when I was at Deseret Gym, we NEVER closed the pool from what I recall due to a thunderstorm. OK so maybe Layton's wimpy bubble roof can't withstand a lightning bolt. Whatever. But prevent showers? Cmon! I said, "How about if I take a leak is that OK?" He laughed and said, "No not that either". So I quickly rinsed the soap out of my hair and got dressed.

Here's the National Weather Service's official recommendations on lightning safety. OK. So maybe we should have closed the pools when there was a thunderstorm outside. And they even recommend not taking a shower, talking on the phone or working on computers.

So here's the funny thing, so Layton's overly cautious lifeguard that was enjoying the time off duty. He was playing the arcade game in the lobby with both hands holding fake guns, that were connected to the arcade machine with metal cords, shooting monsters on the screen. If you're gonna take advantage of the policy and kick patrons out, don't look like your really enjoying the opportunity to be off duty while everyone leaves the facility in a pissed off mood. Especially if the policy is to protect people from getting shocked and the same paragraph that suggests no swimming, also says no computers or video games.

I walked to the car and it wasn't even raining, but to the west was a nasty looking dark glob of a cloud. I've looked all over on Snopes and on the web and there has never been a documented case where someone has been shocked while taking a shower that I could find. But there HAS to be some basis for the weather services suggestions. I guess it's the rebel in me that questions authority, but I dislike being inconvenienced because of something that is rare or unlikely to happen.
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