- You might "split" a lane or you might "circle swim".
- You can split a lane if there are only 2 people in the lane, as it means you each swim up and down the same side of the lane.
- If there are more then 2 people, you must circle swim. Even if there are only 2 people, if it is likely to get busier, it is polite to circle swim anyways. This means that everyone swims down one side and back up the other. At my pool, the sign says you stay on the right. Some pools, it alternates per lane. This information is almost always on a sign near the pool. Read the sign. If there is not one, ask the lifeguard.
- Some pools have signs designating speeds. If there are no signs, try to join a lane where the people are going the closest to your speed. Even with signs, remember that speed is relative. I have nights where I am the fastest in the pool, but there are times I'm among the slowest. Take a moment to figure out where you fit in speed-wise on a given day.
- Five year olds do not belong in lane swim. I'm sorry. They just don't. I have kids. I love kids. I am not anti-kid, but there are some places they don't belong. Lane swim is one of them. The only kids that should be in lane swim are the super serious ones who are capable of doing it properly and have the ability and maturity to do so. And, don't get me wrong. I've swam in the same lane as some of those kids and they have smoked me. They weren't 5 years old.
- It is polite to let people know you are joining their lane. If you don't ask, make sure you know how they are swimming (circle or split) prior to joining. If someone is swimming down the middle (which isn't very polite) or you need them to switch from splitting to circle swimming, you must make sure they know you're there.
Saturday nights at my pool tend to be among the quietest nights there. When it's that slow, the lanes get split with two people per lane - if that. Often you get a lane to yourself.
Last night, about 10 minutes into lane swim, there were 5 people in the pool (there are 4 lanes). I was in a lane by myself, so I was swimming up and down one side so that if somebody wanted to join, they would see that I was leaving it open.
I had a long set, and wasn't stopping much. I turned around at the wall, started swimming back and almost had a heart attack, as I was on a collision course with a kid and an elderly man. I quickly corrected course. However, in the few strokes it took to reach them, I quickly calculated that this was going to be a problem. This was a kid. Maybe 5 years old, wearing a life jacket. Probably taking 2 plus minutes to swim the length of the pool. The man was walking. Seriously?
This is actually a night where I was the fastest one in the pool. So, you choose the lane with the fastest person, who is doing front crawl at 4 times the speed you intend to travel? So, I stopped and started asking them to split the lane rather then circle swim. Normally, I would never ask people to do this when there are over 2 people in the lane, but this Grandfather and kid (who should have been in bed) were obviously not really "swimming". Yes, totally judgemental of me, I know.
He totally did not get the concept. Initially he thought I was just telling him how to circle swim. I tried to explain it again. Not getting it. Then, a woman (who turned out to be the mother) joins the lane and starts doing a very slow breast stroke.
I give up trying to explain anything and just make the decision to move over a lane. The woman asks me what the problem was. At this point, I've already decided to switch lanes, so I try to give a very brief explanation. She also has no concept of why it's not okay for three people to jump into the lane of someone working out and go a quarter their speed.
Okay, so there are 4 lanes, 2 others of which only have 1 person, and somehow it's okay for three people to join one lane? Sorry, but if you want a lane to yourself, arrive at the beginning of lane swim. Don't just hop in and try to screw up somebody else's workout. If they had even had marginal politeness and touched base with me prior to jumping in, I probably would have just switched lanes right off the bat, without as much annoyance.
In the end, they got their lane to themselves, and I joined the woman in the lane next to me. I got a good training session in, with a brief annoying interruption.
I promise, at least a couple more months before I rant about another person that totally lacks lane etiquette...
Any other etiquette that the experienced swimmers would like to add?
Was I totally out of line?