Let's have a look-see and pull back the curtain. Let's begin with how to show everyone else that you are just pretending to be a real swimmer in a few simple steps...
Step 1: Wear a bikini (if female)/loose flowing swim trunks (if male). This, right here, is the biggest way to advertise that you are a pretend swimmer. If you show up with goggles and cap (thus, pretending that you are going to really swim a workout) and wear one of these taboo items, expect everyone to smile at you like you are riding a tricycle in the middle of the Tour de France. This is like wearing soccer shoes on the golf course. This is like wearing a dress to play basketball (especially if you are male). But worse. Don't be too surprised if people expect you to dog paddle the entire time you're in the water.
Step 2: Swim sidestroke/elementary backstroke/freestyle when an IM set is called. Okay, there are some exceptions. If you are tapering, have a knee/shoulder injury, or if your workout does not include IM (let's say you're doing a different level workout), you are wholeheartedly excused and should swim freestyle. If, however, you are pretending to do an IM workout and switch out breastroke for free (and race the breastrokers while doing it), you are a big fat idiot. This leads to step 3...
Step 3: Do a different workout than the people around you, then when you get to the wall ahead of them (because they swam all stroke and you didn't), look around like you are freakin' Michael Phelps and you just won your 8th Olympic gold medal. Do not be surprised if at some time people wonder if you are secretly a leg amputee who got really real-looking legs based on your behavior.
Step 4: Do not wait 5 seconds to go behind the person in front of you. Instead, wait 3.5 seconds, swim up their butt, and then yell an unhesitating "YES!" when they ask if you'd like to go first. Add to the horror by swimming free if it is an IM set. Then triple it when you get to the wall first and glance sideways at everyone in the utmost disdain and disgust. This is also the best way to make friends in the pool.
Step 5: Make a really wide stroke so that you hit everyone's hands while swimming. The only thing better than slicing your hand into a bloody stump with a lane marker is to get suckerpunched by a wild wide stroker.
Step 6: Do only part of the workout because you have no endurance, then when you decide to pick it up again, race all the people who are totally out of breath from doing exactly what is called. Resume your Michael Phelps rejoicing upon touching them out at the wall. (People who are actually doing races and tapering are expected to do only part of the workout - this is just for the people who want to do it for their own personal glory and status.)
Step 7: Get out of the pool at the hardest part of the workout to "go to the bathroom" (or take a nap, or walk around in the family locker rooms to see if everyone is following the rules, or to go sit in the sauna for a few minutes). Get back in the pool as everyone is finishing the last lap of that set with your chipper-fresh-as-a-daisy self, eager to hit up that next set and "win" it.
Step 8: Turn around before the wall. Yeah, I mean, it was a 100, but who wants to do a 100 when you can do an 87? Pull while doing it.
Step 9: Do an open turn for the express purpose to see how far you are ahead of the people in the lanes next to you. (Yes, we all look to see where we are in the pecking order and race like nobody's business, but for crying out loud, do it while you're in the middle of the pool like everyone else, not at the wall.) By this, I mean, fully stop at the wall, lift yourself up a bit to see all the swimmers, then launch off wildly after them. It's really cute.
Step 10: Whilst warming up or as a long set is going on, jump in and push off of the wall in front of the person who is already swimming, especially if you are slower than they are, so that when they flip turn, they have to cut their pace and do dolphin dives and sculling to give you an appropriate distance so they can actually resume swimming. If they push off the wall and splash you wildly when you stop, it was probably just an accident.
Well, that's mostly it. With these few helpful tips, you too can be the biggest dufis in the chlorine.
Who's ready for a pool party? (And yes, duh, of course I bring a cap and goggles to a pool party. Are we going to go swimming or wet standing? You said come over and "go swimming", so yeah, that's on you.)
Peace, love, and don't forget to pull on the lane markers,