Monday, April 9, 2012

Less basic, but very commonsense lane etiquette

So, yesterday Keith posted a long comment on my basic lane etiquette post.  I've decided to repost it for those of you that don't read comments.  As I was reading it, I found myself nodding my head to a lot of it.  It seems so obvious.  So common sense.  Yet, you know what they say about common sense...

So, Keith, thanks for the guest post, even if you didn't do it on purpose.  ;)

Keith's lane etiquette tips:

Passing people, or having them pass you. Odd as it sounds, faster swimmers have the right of way. Slower swimmers stay out of their way. That means if you're coming up to the wall, pause a few seconds and let the faster swimmer through. When you do this, stand at the side of the lane and let them aim at the centre line.

It's common to indicate you want to pass by touching the feet of the person in front of you. Once. That tells the front person they should pause at the wall.

If you are circle swimming with 2 people in the lane passing any time is ok, just be really sure there are only 2 people in the lane. This is why it's considered polite to let all the people in the lane know you are joining them, and then fit into their pattern, or give them time to change from split to circles. If you're circle swimming, the only option for passing is at the wall.

Do not push off the wall in front of another swimmer if they are faster than you or even if you are the same speed. That will mess up their groove. The only time, and it's really the only time to push off in front of someone is if you are on the clock trying to make an interval, and you know beyond a shadow of a doubt you are faster. Even then, if they're just about to touch the wall, it's too late for you to push off.

Drafting can be fun for all involved, but you have to work it out with the person first, otherwise they'll know you're back there even if you don't touch them, and the polite ones will let you by.

Don't ever touch anyone else's pool toys unless it's to save them from floating into the pool. Don't even ask to borrow it, use the ones the pool supplies or bring your own.

Speeds. You are right when you say to figure out where you are. What this means most of the time is to time your potential lane mates and compare to what you plan on swimming. You do know, within a few seconds, what your pace is, right? Swimmers know. Floaties don't. I'd rather swim in a crowded lane at my speed, than be the third person for 3 different speeds.

If your workout has some slow stuff, such as a kick drill, consider moving into another lane for that if your current lane has people doing a fast freestyle. Either that or be really considerate about swimming up and down the lane hugged right against the lane ropes, and I mean really against them. That will give two people room to carry on beside you. (Get your minds out of the gutter!)

You will occasionally touch another person in the pool. Perhaps you've rapped knuckles, or touched bodies during breast or back stroke. The correct course is to apologize at the first opportunity. Even if your stroke is tighter than the clasp on Scrooge's wallet, and theirs looks like a wounded seagull trying to take off.

Attempt butterfly only when you are alone in the lane unless you really know how to do it.

Make sure your suit is suitable and properly tied up. Not see through. No ripped seams. No huge baggy shorts that float up and expose the junk. Shower before you get in the pool! We all pee in the lake or ocean, but a pool supplies toilets for a reason. Don't mess up the water chemistry, and don't swim when you are sick.


  1. thanks for the info! i'm steeling up the nerve to start lessons in the fall...and this will come in useful!

  2. I agree, it totally deserves its own post. Gonna share it with my hubby as he is getting back to (recreational) lane swimming. He is generally very courteous and common sense, but it would help remind him of the swim etiquette again.

    Awesome one, Keith!!

  3. Great advice! How do I get the flailers at my pool to read it? :-)

  4. All excellent tips! Thanks for sharing Keith and Deb!