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In my 30 years of triathlon, I have never encountered a rude triathlete until today! How did I know she was a triathlete? All the signs were there! The swim equipment laying at the end of her lane, her water bottle that had 70.3 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS written all over it, and the fact that she was swimming laps in her tri kit! After saying “hello” to my fellow swim friends in lanes 2 and 3, and attempting to say “hi” to this triathlete swimming next to me, she looked at me, didn’t say “hi” back, turned away, then looked back at me to say the words very loudly, “ARE YOU GOING TO RINSE OFF?” in a snarky tone, then disgustingly turned away as she rolled her eyes at me!
First, I was in shock! I didn’t know quite what to say at such a rude and inappropriate comment! She did not know me, and I had just attempted to be pleasant to say good morning to her.
After she left, everyone who was in the pool talked about what she said and what a rude comment she had made. Swimmers were talking about this for days, then the subject even hit social media with the subject of “do you rinse off before getting in the pool?” The results from the survey came back at 90% of the swimmers DO NOT rinse off before entering the pool. Which secretly made me feel better.
Then, this brought up the subject of courteous vs rude behavior with strangers that I wanted to address.
Perhaps this triathlete was having a bad day, or she had a medical condition that caused her to blurt out words. None-the-less, she should have apologized right away because her words hurt my feelings. For days this bothered me. She doesn’t know that I am an extremely clean person and takes pride in this. Afterall, my company creates premium personal care products for swimmers.
People need to be aware of what words always come out of their mouths when talking to strangers. Think twice about saying something negative to someone you do not know before it leaves your lips. Think, would you want this said to you?
Triathlon has always been a sport with positive energy around it due to the amazing people in this sport. Let’s keep it that way. Encourage those who might be entering this sport, who tend to be leaning towards the more negative side, to be more positive by showing them kindness and inclusion; maybe it will rub off. We can only try by using positive reinforcement.
In a nutshell, if I see her again at the pool, I will smile at her because that is who I am. I will just chalk it up to she had to lash out at someone because she was having a bad day, and I was the lucky target.