Tag Archives: circle swimming

HOW TO: Lane swimming etiquette

Following last week’s rant, here’s a quick round up of lane swimming etiquette:

Lane direction signs

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.

Lane rage

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 you be in the fast lane?

I did an hour time trial in the Watershed yesterday.

By now in Carrick most (but definetely not all) of the people who use the lane know me. Some have learned and some have refused to learn.

Recently I was in a lane for an hour, maybe six people swam in the lane at some point. Some thought they were great (swim behind me for a length, turn in front of me, you know the score, always men). One guy got in the lane before I turned and decided to start swimming underwater in front and below me. Only one woman had a clue.

I’ve certainly never claimed to be the fastest swimmer. But I know how to circle swim, and unfortunately most pool lifeguards in my experience don’t.

Of course many of the pools we swim in have only one lane at best. Let’s make it simple. You probably shouldn’t be in the (fast) lane if:

  • You don’t know how far a 25′ is.
  • You don’t know what circle swimming is or how to do it.
  • You’re wearing board shorts.
  • You’re wearing a “cute” bikini that you got for the beach.
  • You’re not wearing goggles.
  • You use a pull buoy as a pillow while doing backstroke kick.
  • You don’t know what a pull buoy is.
  • You’re doing side stroke.
  • You’re doing some hopping movement down the lane or have to stand up.
  • You’re wearing a mask.
  • You’re wearing a snorkle.
  • You’re wearing a shower cap. Or a bubble cap.
  • Or a towel. I swear there’s a woman in Carrick who wears a towel in the water.
  • You hold your nose when you go under water.
  • You have your cap on sideways.
  • When asked if you’re fast you answer, “Of course! Look at me!”
  • You swim with your head above water, 100% of the time.
  • The lifeguard has to watch you closely because your swimming looks an awful lot like drowning.
  • You think that when someone faster than you passes you, they’re being rude.

I think printing & laminating a few of these and leaving them by the lane end wouldn’t be a terrible idea.

Almost all this list came from here.

Edit: If you came here from H2O open you might want to read my response to Furious Bob: [Should slow swimmers really have the right of way in lane swimming?]