[INFOGRAPHIC] A Visual Guide To Lane Swimming Etiquette

Photo of Black Eye receieved from a kick while wearing Swedish type swimming Goggles

Swedish Goggles black eye – Is this what they mean when they say “elite goggles”?

A Guide to Lane Swimming Etiquette

For three years, a guide to lane swimming etiquette has been this site’s most consistently popular post, rarely out of the Top Five most popular posts at any single time, still read hundreds or sometimes even thousands of times every week.

It is heartening that swimmers around the world are bound by a similar frustration with the Furious Bob‘s of the pool-swimming world.

Despite writing that article, I’ve been sporting a fine Swedish Goggles black eye recently, inflicted by a kick from someone who shouldn’t even have been in a swim lane. Received only two days after I had yet another conversation with a lifeguard who couldn’t understand the need to curtail the seven swimmers in the lane, including the lady who was unable to swim a single length. And didn’t comprehend that safety wasn’t just about watching for children who are drowning. There’s an added irony in that of course. Does it matter if we actual swimmers share and understand a lane etiquette that will work for almost everyone, if the Furious Bob’s and lifeguards and pool management fail to understand and implement such?

By the way, that photo on the side also illustrates the most obvious downside of Swedish Goggles, and why I never wear them when open water racing. (Where the chances of getting a kick to the face are more predictable than should be the case in the pool).

I don’t know how to make it better for us all. We can only try one swimmer and one pool at a time. Educating your pool management certainly helps, and it’s a long time since I was told to stop doing flip turns since I was frightening the other “swimmers” if such they could really be called while standing blocking the lane end without being able to swim two consecutive lengths. So in the spirit of trying to help, below is an Infographic I made of the most relevant lane swimmer etiquette guidelines that you can print at A3 size, laminate and give to your pool in the hope they will post it, and thereby hopefully improve your swimming life. The image below is the lower resolution version for web. HERE is the link to the print resolution PDF.

An Infographic guide to lone swimming etiquette

An Infographic guide to lone swimming etiquette (web quality)


Feel free to share online or anywhere else. Let’s keep trying to make pools more swimmer-friendly!

(Why yes, this Is a back-up post I put out because I haven’t worked on anything else recently, now that you mention it.)



16 thoughts on “[INFOGRAPHIC] A Visual Guide To Lane Swimming Etiquette

  1. Pingback: The Two Most Important Elements for Successful Improvement of Swimming, Fitness, Health and Weight Management | LoneSwimmer

  2. ….Used to swim @ a ‘Y’ pool. The L/G’s were oblivious as to swimmers & their abilities. Some of this I thought was common sense…apparently not. Now it’s easier to just swim in the ocean….less issues….


  3. This is great.

    Just one thing – I’ve never been to a pool (here in the Netherlands) where tapping feet means you want to pass. So that one might not be internationally valid.


    • Thanks. I have checked with swimmers around the world and in general this does seem an recognised rule. Conversely, a lot of pools in every country seem to not be familiar with any of the rules. So I guess we will always struggle with these problems.


      • Fair enough. It would stop me right in my tracks if someone started fiddling with my feet, but if that’s an accepted practice amongst you foreigners… 😉

        Another thing – I would have made “Take note of swim speeds & use a lane appropriate to your speed” bright yellow as well. From my experience most problems wouldn’t even arise if people abided by that rule.
        It’s usually inexperienced swimmers that simply jump in and start to swim without thinking about it that manage to be in the way of everybody.


  4. I like the comment about “wide strokes”. I’ve only been hit and kicked by people doing “wide stroke” front crawl! – They now have double width lanes in one of the local pools to accommodate them, and they still promise to kick you harder if you overtake – don’t you just love “Furious Bob” 🙂
    Hope the eye gets better soon.


  5. Pingback: How to Have Great Swimming Etiquette

  6. I think it is worth mentioning the use of hand paddles in public swimming lanes. Having been injured myself and seen others in my club injured by less experienced (and often less considerate) swimmers using oversized hand paddles, I think the use of this type of equipment is fast becoming an issue for pool management. I lost feeling in my hand for a number of weeks and was really lucky it wasn’t worse. They can be very dangerous. I now avoid lanes where there are swimmers using hand paddles. It would be great to have some guidelines around when these can or should be used – ideally not in crowded public swimming lanes!


  7. Brilliant poster! One TINY design suggestion: the lighter font is a little too light (hard to read); maybe move it up one notch on the font-weight. Other than that, well done! And your way (at end) of saying “wide strokes” is very good; that’s a difficult idea to communicate.


  8. I am so spoiled. 18 lanes.. outdoors, heated..
    Yet in my club days I would share a lane with 7 others and we never had a problem.
    I do not understand people who refuse to believe that you CAN swim with more than 2 to a lane.
    Thanks for the guide Donal. Hope your eye is ok.


    • Respectfully, because when “club swimmers” are of the same speed and ability; they can be piled into the same lane, no problem. But with “average Joe” (adult) swimmers of differing speeds and strokes (and not enough different-speed lanes), it just doesn’t work.


  9. I have managed to lose two friends on facebook this month through trying to explain why there are fats/med/slow lanes in ‘public’ swimming sessions (and why other swimmers need to do tumble turns!) so I have posted this everywhere. Thank you!


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