I’ve swum laps in lots of pools around the world, but swimming in Germany takes the cake. It’s bizarre to the point of farce; it’s such a strange and chaotic experience that it actually becomes funny.
There’s usually one lane for lap swimming, and it never lives up to it’s name: Tempobahn, Schnellschwimm (fast swimming), or whatever. Everyone uses it, even those not swimming laps, and they swim all sorts of strokes at all sorts of speeds. The result is, no one is happy, and no one swims in their own rhythm. It’s all made worse by the complete lack of pool etiquette: keeping to the lane rope, waiting at the wall for faster swimmers, actually swimming and not crowding the wall, etc. There’s none of that. And in any given pool, there’s always one guy who just will not be passed. He’ll give everything, including swerving and kicking in your face, to keep you from passing him. And there’ll be a couple of people so slow it looks like they’re floating, not swimming; or, they’re swimming to stay afloat.
But having said all of that, I like swimming in Germany. And for me, those wave-pool Tempobahns are certainly better than being in a lane with 20 ultra-keen amateur triathletes churning out lap after lap like machines.