Does the incumbent swimmer have first choice of sides when splitting a lane (not circling)?

Does the incumbent swimmer have first choice of sides when splitting a lane (not circling)?

by Kevan Wong
(Dallas, TX)

I was splitting a lane with a fellow swimmer. I was on the wall. (ugh) I had to take a phone call and got out of the pool, telling the woman waiting for a lane that I would be back, but she could swim if she desired while I was away (tho this call would take only a minute or two max).


As I was finishing my call (and I was not more than 5' from the pool and watching the lanes) my lane partner left.

The woman got in and started swimming on the lane side (understandable) just as I was returning (drat!)

When I got in, I waited for her to return to the end and politely asked her if she would mind if I could swim against the lane and she against the wall (she was a very poor swimmer, doing backstroke in her cap and ear plugs, I am probably one of the fastest swimmers in this pool.)

She became indignant and said "NO! I WILL NOT! I have been waiting and this is MY side, WHY should I let you swim here? I cannot believe you are even ASKING me to switch sides. YOU left the pool, and I waited. This is MY SIDE!"

I then tried to tell her that actually, since I was the incumbent swimmer, I should have the choice once someone else enters the lane. She would have none of that and swam off.

I confronted her again at the other end (I was a little steamed at this point) and told her she was being unreasonable and rude, as she was a slower swimmer AND the "guest". She then got out and called management.

He said we had to share, but made no determination of who was in the right.

Can you help me? I think I am right, but will abide by your judgment.



Aug 20, 2011
Thanks!
by: Anonymous

Thank you for your input! I appreciate your time and effort!

Though I am too "nice" to tell the management, I will have your arguments in my arsenal should I swim across another unreasonable lane partner!

Aug 19, 2011
Lap Swimming Etiquette
by: Wendy (Modern Manners and Etiquette)

Thank you for your question.

Lap swimming etiquette is a little known etiquette, however when observed it helps everyone swim 'nicely'.

The etiquette with swimming is that the faster swimmer has the "right of way" in the lane. It is simple courtesy for the faster swimmer, who has spent the hours training.

Also, if a swimmer is exclusively doing backstroke, then they should take the wall. It is easier to keep their bearings in the water, rather than moving all over the lane.

Simple respect is warranted all of the time. Using good manners is the best way to show respect for yourself and those you come in contact with.

I hope this has helped you. Swimming is a fabulous way to keep in shape. Keep it up!

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