Counting laps

It has taken me a while, but I have finally come up with a system for counting my laps in the pool.  Once I started swimming more than just a couple laps at a time, I needed a way to keep track of the number of laps I did.  I quickly learned that just simply counting them with numbers didn’t work.  I would lose track of what number I was on, especially if I was also doing math in my head trying to keep track of how many more laps I need, or how many laps equal how many meters.  The fact that so many numbers were floating around, I couldn’t remember whether I had done 9 laps or I had 9 more laps to go.  Short of carrying an abacus with me to the pool (can you imagine what those lifeguards and swim teams would think of that?!), I had to come up with a new plan.

So, I use letters of the alphabet.  It’s another ordered system that’s so ingrained, and I can’t confuse it with the math I’m doing in my head.  So I first started out just using the actual letter; Lap E = Lap 5, and so on.  But I wanted another creative way to keep it straight in my head so I didn’t have to think so hard.  (Have I mentioned I have a terrible short term memory?)

Now, I use the letters of the alphabet, but for each lap I come up with something that starts with that letter, sticking with a theme.  For example, during one swim I will think of animals that start with the different letters, or unique last names, foods, or $10 SAT words (Remuneration anyone?).  It gets a little tougher when you get to some letters like J, Q, and X.  However, this is also a great way to keep my brain working as well while I’m swimming, and maybe working on that poor short-term memory with puzzles.  Here, if I get into the zone and forget what letter I’m on, I just have to think of what was the last animal name in my head, etc.

But a word to the wise, do not start thinking ahead of the next letter until you’re on that lap, you may think you’ve already done that lap.  Also, beware using the food theme.  We all know swimming can make you pretty hungry, then add in a session where you think of nothing but food names and you’ll be the NOSH MONSTER by the time you get out of the pool.

What do you use to keep track of laps?

Or am I the only one who has trouble with this?

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5 Responses

  1. bahaha, love your use of nosh monster!

  2. I have to count by 50, 100, etc. If I just try counting 1, 2, 3 I get totally messed up. I also agree with you about not thinking ahead. I try not to think of the next distance until I’ve made the turn and it is complete!

    • I tried doing the counting thing too for a while, but then I would get confused with 450 and 550, or if I stopped for a break, I couldn’t remember where I left off. Normally I don’t have this much trouble with numbers, I calculate my pace over and over while I run, but swimming is a different story.

  3. ooh, this would be handy for skating, especially since i am always trying to get my 25 lap time down. i could stop on y!

  4. This is a good idea. I always get confused what lap I’m on, like I start to question of this is 15 or is it really 16? I’m going to try this!!

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