If you are new to the pool there are some swimmer nuances you should be aware of. We swimmers are a different bunch, who grow up in a world with rules all its own. Ready to dive into the pool and get swimming? Follow these five rules to make sure you get invited back to masters’ class. While most swimmers fallow lane line etiquette to a tee, try not to get to upset if your lane mate forgets their manners, maybe they are new to swimming too!
1. Pick A Lane That Is Swimming At Your Pace
You may not be sure what your 50 meter split is, but you probably know if you are a “slow, medium or fast,” paced swimmer. If there are already swimmers in the pool you may be able to tell at a glance who looks like they are swimming your speed. If the lanes are empty glance around before jumping in, often pools will set out signs indicating a pace for each lane.
2. When A Lane Is Occupied Ask To Join
This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but if you can, it is always polite to ask to join a lane. Simply wait until your fellow swimmer reaches the wall and quickly ask “Can I join your lane.” You may get anything from a simple nod to an enthusiastic “Yes!” but in all my years I have never had another swimmer tell me “No,” so don’t be shy. That being said, if your new lane mate is flip turning every lap and shows no sign of slowing down you can join a lane without asking. Just be careful, if your new lane mate is in the zone they may not notice you at first, stay out of the way as you set up.
3. Swim In The Appropriate Direction
Yes, there is an appropriate way to swim laps, and no that does not include bulldozing down the middle. If it is just two of you in a lane you can ask to split the lane with your swimming partner. This means you will stay on one side of the lane line, and he will stay on the other, regardless of which direction you are swimming. If there are three or more people in a lane then you are expected to circle swim. This means you will all swim counter clock wise, with the center line always on your left hand side.
4. Tap To Pass, But Don’t Grab
If you are circle swimming there is a chance you will lap your lane mates. If you follow rule #1 you are less likely to have issues with pace, but it still happens. Maybe today is your speed day while your fellow swimmers are hammering out an endurance workout. If this is the case you could find yourself stuck behind a slower swimmer. If this happens it is ok to gently tap your friend on the feet. This signals that you would like to pass. If they have good manners they should pull over at the wall to let you pass. While a gentle tap or two is fine, do not grab, pull, or repeatedly accost your lane mate. This will just piss them off, which makes it less likely they will play nice with you.
5. Let Them Pass
Rule #5 is complementary to rule #4, if you feel a tap on your feet kindly pause at the wall to let the swimmer behind you pass. Not allowing a faster swimmer to take the lead is just bad form, not to mention it leaves that swimmer hot on your heals, which isn’t fun for either of you. It’s not a race, well not today anyway, let your buddy pass, he isn’t going to slow you down.
There you have it, follow these five simple rules and you will be joining the lane lines like a pro!
New to swimming? Check out What’s In My Swim Gear Bag to find out what gadgets you need to help you hit the lane lines with ease.