I walk into the pool area at the Y and suss out the various lanes. They’re marked “slow,” “moderate,” “fast,” and “speed.” The first thing I look for is occupancy. Other things being equal, I default to the lane with the fewest number of people in it. But it also matters how fast or slow they are swimming. And there are no absolute standards for this. I like “fast” the best, but some days I’m at home in the speed lane. Other days, I’m make out better in the moderate lane. It depends how I compare to the other swimmers who happen to be there at the time.
This kind of comparing is practical. But there is another, more insidious and pernicious form of comparison.
Still at the pool. Hey, she’s super fast. And look, she’s got amazing flip turns. And wait! She’s got a float thing between her legs…
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