Tag Archives: etiquette

Lane Swimming Rules

My local pool only allows lane swimming at certain times, which means it can be hard to manage the diary to make sure that I can swim as much as I want to. So it is very annoying to then have your swim ruined by someone not following the ‘rules’.

That said, the rules haven’t been written down, they are just common sense. Unfortunately not everyone has common sense, so I thought I’d write them down here.

Of course, I’m only saying that these are the rules for the pool I swim in. Other pools may have a different set up, or a different culture.

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In this pool there are four 25m lanes. The lanes are split according to the speed you are swimming (from left to right as you’re stood at the shallow end) SLOW – FAST – MEDIUM – SLOW.

Here are the five rules for swimming during a lane swimming session.

1) Check Your Speed

– Enter the correct lane according to your speed.
– If you are constantly being overtaken – think about moving down a lane. If you are constantly overtaking – think about moving up a lane.
– Don’t forget that the speed is relative not absolute. The lane you were in last time is irrelevant, it’s all about how fast you are swimming today. And if you do drills or sprints that change your speed, consider changing lane too.
– Even if everyone is in the right lane different speed swimmers will need to mix. If someone is faster than you let them pass at the wall as soon as you can. If you are overtaking make sure you can touch and turn before the person you are overtaking touches, if not then hang back and wait until they let you through at the end of the length.

2) Give Way to Swimmers

– The session is for swimmers, so give way for people that are swimming. If you stop swimming, whether for 10 seconds or 10 minutes, then you must give way for swimmers.
– Don’t block the wall, not allowing people to turn.
– Don’t set off just in front of a turning swimmer (assume that every swimmer will be turning and setting off for another lap).

3) Go With the Flow

– The lanes are designated as alternately clockwise or anti-clockwise. This is so that people aren’t swimming towards each in opposite lanes and therefore reduces the chances of collisions.
– Respect this and if you are overtaking move back to the correct side of your lane as quickly as possible.

4) Shower

– Please shower before you enter the pool.
– Please shower again if you leave the pool to go to the toilet.
– It’s just common courtesy folks.

5) Don’t be a Dick

– If people that are swimming with you break any of the above rules, take a deep breath and carry on.
– DON’T intentionally overtake, blocking them off from turning.
– DON’T push off just ahead of them on purpose.
– DON’T speed up if someone is overtaking you.
– Just DON’T be a dick.
– Everyone is doing some sort of set. It will be different than yours, but no less important than yours. Don’t disrupt other people’s swims and just relax and enjoy yours.

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As I’m sure you’re all aware, rule 5 is the one that I break most often. People not respecting other swimmers can just wind me up and I struggle to take a deep breath and relax. I’ll try harder though.

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By the way, I’m tempted to print these out and pin them up around the leisure centre.

What are your thoughts about all of this?


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Don’t swim slow drills in the fast lane

It seems obvious to me, but if the lanes are assigned according to swimming speed that means it is based on the speed you are swimming *this* length. It’s not about how fast you normally swim; it’s not about how fast you swum earlier today; it’s not about how fast you can swim. It’s about how fast you are swimming right now. Therefore if you have some slow drills to do at the end of a sprint session, you might need to move lanes.

Don’t get me wrong, some people are fortunate enough to be able to do kick sets as quickly as many people can swim. I’m not saying that all drills have to be in the slow lane, nor am I saying that you can’t do any drills in the fast lane.

What I am saying is that the lane you are in should be based on your speed relative to the rest of the pool at any given time. It doesn’t matter what stroke you’re doing, or whether you’re doing drills. You should be in the appropriate lane.


I tried to have a ‘discussion’ about this with someone in the pool as we were swimming this lunchtime.

She was a good swimmer and probably the fastest in the lane while she was actually swimming. But after her set she finished with some very slow drills, which were taking her at least a minute to swim 25m. She did it while I was swimming with her a couple of weeks ago, but at that time the rest of the lane was empty, so it wasn’t too much of an issue. However, today the lane was still busy and so by being so slow in the lane she was disrupting everyone else.

I suggested she move lane, she didn’t seem to like the suggestion and continued with the drills. Grrr.

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As an aside, it’s funny how many people seem to define rude as just saying something they disagree with.

As I said, I mentioned that she should move lane – she didn’t like it and carried on. A little bit later she got out. When I saw her as I got out I went to speak to her to say that I didn’t mean to upset her. At which point she talked over me, told me other people were swimming slowly and called me rude.

Anyway, moving on.

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Don’t Be A Kn0b!

There’s a guy that sometimes swims in the fast lane at my local pool. He’s not a bad swimmer, I think he’s actually training up for a triathlon. However, he’s not that quick. He’s not slow enough to need to be in the medium lane, but he is often the slowest in the fast lane.

Now that wouldn’t normally be a problem… if he wasn’t a knob.

Unfortunately he just plods up and down the lane without ever letting people pass. The etiquette is quite simple – if someone is quicker than you, let them pass. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the middle of an important training set, because you know what – so are they!

I have mentioned this to him before and we came to a strange compromise – he suggested that if I wanted to pass him I should tap his toes. I wasn’t keen on the arrangement, but I agreed to it. So when I saw him today I made an effort to speed up a bit to make sure that I tapped him quickly so I wasn’t stuck behind him for another length.

For some reason however, instead of letting me turn and swim on, after waiting a couple of seconds he started to turn with me. So for a moment or two he was right on my toes. To do this once might have been simple poor timing, however to do it three consecutive times is just being a knob.

On top of that he was back to his old tricks and not letting anyone else pass. So when he turned into me for the fourth time I decided it was time to have a word.

All I tried to do was explain the etiquette, to explain that while he was trying to train hard, so were the rest of us and that everyone’s swim would be so much easier if he just behaved himself. But what I really wanted to say was… “stop being a knob.”


Filed under Swimming, Thoughts

Another Etiquette Post

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve not written much about swimming for a while, so I thought it was about time. In the run up to the Windermere swim I didn’t do too much pool swimming – it was too warm to train in and I just couldn’t get the distance up like I needed to. However, I’ve been back in the pool a couple of times since and I’m reminded why I don’t like it – mainly all the other swimmers!

I’ve written about etiquette in the pool before, but I think there are a few other annoyances I need to point out – I’m hoping that this will be the third and final post of the etiquette trilogy – however I reserve the right to do a George Lucas and randomly add three more at a later date. Anyway, the current crop of annoying pool users are:

Danglers – you know, the people who before getting into a lane to swim sit on the edge dangling their feet into the water. It’s hard to state just how off-putting this can be if you’re trying to turn in the lane. In fact the danglers probably take up more of the turning space by dangling than if they had jumped in and were standing in the water.

Half-lap turners – this is the group of people that feel the need to turn before the end of the lane. This is usually done as a way to get around other swimmers. However what it does do is usually mean that they just get in the way and break up the rhythm of everyone else. I could understand it if they have been following a dawdler for a while, but it usually done at the first available opportunity and just shows an arrogance and disregard for the other swimmers.

So, if you’re lane swimming please don’t commit any of these “crimes” (or these or these). Thanks.


Filed under Swimming