triathlon and family can mix

Swim Etiquette – Round Two

I posted, awhile back now, what I thought was the important swim ettiquette rules.


That post has become one of my most viewed posts and continues to get views today. Some of the comments made me think that I missed a couple of rules and the way to deal with rule breakers.

So here are some of the missed etiquette rules. Hope it didn’t get you in trouble at the pool…..

Clockwise or Counterclockwise?
It doesn’t really matter. Typically though, each lane will swim counter clockwise. I have come across lanes that alternate from clockwise/counter/clockwise and so on. I asked once why they do that, and I got a confusing answer: “So when you are swimming, you are always next to someone on your left or right”. Make a little sense I guess, but I am not sure why that is important.

Which ever way you decide to swim, make sure everyone in your lane is in agreement before you start.

Training aids can really help increase your swimming power and efficiency; most common for me pool side is a water bottle, kick board, and a pull buoy. On occasion I will bring paddles with as well, although my shoulder doesn’t really like them after breaking my collar bone.

If you are just borrowing them from the pool, most have a decent supply, treat them with care. Put them back when you are finished and if you break them, point it out to the lifeguard. No one likes to pick out the right size paddle only to find the rubber strap missing.

Wether you are borrowing or have your own, try to keep them neat and tidy at pool side. It makes it easier to grab the right tool for the next set, and can avoid un-necessary rest time fiddling with it.

Picking a Lane
Take a minute to survey the pool and determine the speed of the fast, medium, and slow lanes. Also have a gander at how each lane is swimming; if you want to do intervals, then joining a lane that has two swimmers grinding out a 2000m main set wouldn’t be the best choice. Pick the lane the best suits your speed and workout.

Joining a lane already in Progress
I can’t tell you how many times I have seen someone jump in and start swimming with guys swimming side by side. Can you say collision?

Unless you are swimming with a club, or a bunch of buddies, you will have to join a group already swimming. No problem, they don’t own the lane. Once you have made the all important choice (see above) get in the lane and stay at the wall until each swimmer has either turned or stopped for a rest. This gives them a chance to see you there, acknowledge another swimmer is joining, and swim accordingly.

If you want to dive in, you can make it look cool by the way, then stand right at the edge until all swimmers have passed you then dive away.

So you now have a vague idea of the rules, what if the guy in your lane seems like he is from Mars? My suggestion is to continue swimming with the proper etiquette for about 200m, passing if and when you have to. Typically they are newer swimmers and setting a good example will help them along.

That being said, some won’t catch on, so intervention is required. Next time you are both at the wall, kindly mention to them about the etiquette, give them a tip, and start your next interval.

If they continue to make it tough for you to swim, then move to another lane and forget about it. Not worth ruining your day over.

Question: I missed some last time, did I miss any this time?


2 responses

  1. This suggestion is not really etiquette , but just a consideration. If you see a new swimmer really flailing about, consider offering them some hints and tips that might improve their stroke. I recently offered a young man some basic help and immediately saw an improvement. Cheer on those who are venturing into something new and intimidating. They may not have had the price ledge of club swim teams and neighborhood pools. Pay it forward. Just a thought.

    January 15, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    • Great comment. When starting out, I recieved advice from a swimmer like yourself and was greatful for the tip.

      January 16, 2013 at 8:00 am

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