Lap Swimming Etiquette

~Swim Right~

Lap swimming etiquette is something that escapes most recreational lap swimmers. It is simple to follow and will make your (and everyone else's) swimming experience more worthwhile.

lap swimming etiquetteI grew up swimming competitively with a team. As a result, we had 5-6 swimmers in the lane during our practices. Lap swimming etiquette was taught from day one and if you wanted to survive, you would observe it. Otherwise it was time to get out. 

Alas, many years have gone by and I wanted to return to the pool. Every now and then I get the urge to get wet, because swimming has become second nature. It was shocking to me to see how many 'swimmers' there are that do not understand the common courtesy that should be in lap swimming.

The rules with lap swimming etiquette are simple. It may take a few times to get them under your skin, but once there they will stay (I think the chemicals in the pool ingrain them into your mind). 

The Rules of the Pool

1. Use good gym etiquette and shower before you enter the pool. This may sound a bit silly, but a simple rinse will take off a lot of sweat and gunk that your body loves to collect.
2. As with anything athletic, use good sports etiquette and wear appropriate swimming attire for working out. Seriously, no string bikinis in the lap swimming area.
3. Along with the suits, wear appropriate hair and eye protection. Pull your hair up into a cap or a pony tail. Wear goggles. It does not do you any good to lap swim if you cannot see where you are going.
4. Once on deck, take a moment and gather important information. See where the lap swimming lanes are. Determine the slow, medium and fast lanes. Check swimmer numbers.
5. Once you have gathered your information, select the lane that is the closest match to your swimming level. Do not try to be a 'superswimmer' and jump in the fast lane when you should be in the slow lane. You will be fed to the pool sharks if you do.
6. Enter the pool at the shallow end. Slide into the pool, do not dive or jump in. Also it is good lap swimming etiquette to ask them if you can join when the other swimmer(s) rest.
7. If your lane has only two swimmers, you and another person, split the lane. This means that you each take a side of the lane and stay there. If you are on the right side of the lane, you will swim up and back on the right side.
8. If your lane has more than two swimmers, you all will need to circle swim. This is done by following each other on the right side of the lane down and back.
9. When you are circle swimming and you feel like the person in front of you is going too slowly, gently tap their toes/foot and back off until the end of the lane. This is the signal that you would like to pass them, called overtaking. Do not try to swim around them, this is bad lap swimming etiquette and a bit dangerous.
10. When you have received an overtake signal, at the end of the lane, stop and step off to the corner so that the other swimmer(s) can pass you.
11. If you are sharing a lane, do not work on other strokes. Some strokes take up a lot of lane space and could harm the other swimmer. There is nothing like ramming heads while doing the backstroke. It is not one of my favorite pains.
12. If you need to stop and rest during your workout, step off to the side, so that you are not in the way of the other swimmers.
13. Save the socializing for another time. If you are like me, when I am in the middle of a good workout, the last thing I want to do is talk about my life. There is a time and place for everything.

To sum it all up, use the golden rule and do unto other lap swimmers as you would have done to you. It makes sense to use lap swimming etiquette as it will enhance your workout and everyone else's too.

Happy Swimming!

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