Following last week’s rant, here’s a quick round up of lane swimming etiquette:
Rule 1: Never get in an occupied lane if another is empty.
Rule 2: Never get into an occupied land without letting the person/people already swimming know you are entering.Do this by dangling your legs into the water or standing to the side at the end of the lane when they are turning.
Rule 3: If there is only one other person in the lane, the lane can be split with each person taking half the lane. But you *must* explicitly agree this. Otherwise assume lane/circle swimming.
Rule 4: Once a third person joins, circle swimming must start. Make sure both people know you are joining.
Rule 5: Circle swimming is dictated by the fastest person present, not the slowest, biggest, or first in. Take note of the swimmer’s speeds before you enter. Direction is often pool specific. Check for direction signs or ask.
Rule 6: Tap feet to pass. The person whose feet are being tapped moves out of the way to the corner at the lane end. Do NOT speed up if you are being passed.
Rule 7: Move to the side of the lane end to allow faster people to pass. Allow them to turn at the centre of the lane wall. if there are more than one, allow all faster swimmers behind you to pass.
Rule 8: Do NOT turn or push off in front of faster swimmers. Faster swimmers should allow slower swimmers as much time as possible before starting.
Rule 9: Do NOT start swimming immediately behind another swimmer. They will not know you are there when they are turning. Injuries will result.
Rule 10: Swimmers resting at lane end should stay as far to the side of the lane as possible.
Rule 11: If the lane has a few swimmers doing long-axis strokes (front crawl, back stroke) do NOT do short axis strokes (Breastroke, fly)
Rule 12: Be polite. Communicate. Do your best to explain the etiquette. Remember most lifeguards don’t seem to know these. Most pools don’t have them posted.
Edit: given a renewed interest in this post (again), I realise this is a long list though, and impractical therefore.
Giving it some thought, I wondered what would be an effective but much shorter list of three essential rules? How about these three?
One: Never get into an occupied land without letting the person/people already swimming know you are entering. Do this by dangling your legs into the water or standing to the side at the end of the lane when they are turning. Never stand in the centre of a lane.
Two: Fastest person present has right of way. Note other swimmer’s speeds before you enter. Direction is usually pool AND lane specific.
Three: Do NOT start, turn or push off in front of faster swimmers. Faster swimmers should allow slower swimmers as much time as possible before starting. Don’t turn into oncoming swimmers.
But is even that brief enough?
Surely we can have a Golden Rule of lane swimming. I propose:
Be aware of what is going on around you.
Edit: clarified rules 2 and 3.
- Should slow swimmers have the right of way in lane swimming? Really? (loneswimmer.com)
- Should you be in the fast lane? (loneswimmer.com)
- Swimming Etiquette (owswimming.com)