What to Expect at Your First Lane Swim

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Lane swimming is the most common form of swimming and it makes for an organized and structured workout for large groups of swimmers at one time. There are tons of unwritten rules that come with lane swimming which you might be unaware of.

In this article we’ll discuss what to expect from your first lane swim experience, and we’ll talk through some of the unwritten rules of lane swimming that it’s important you understand. 

Assigned Lanes

Depending on which pool you visit, they most likely utilize a system of assigned lanes. Most pools have specific lanes dedicated to certain strokes or speeds. For example, lanes 1 and 2 might be strictly for butterfly. 3 and 4 may be solely for sprint efforts. If your pool does have assigned lanes, some form of marking or signage will be posted in order to let you know each lane's purpose. Keep an eye out for assigned lanes and make sure you choose the right lane depending on the content of your workout. 

Sharing the Lane

Lane swimming typically involves sharing the lane with other swimmers. This means you may have to take turns passing each other, or even alternate laps with other swimmers in the same lane. It is important to be patient and polite while sharing the lane.

Take turns passing: If you are faster than other swimmers in your lane, it is important to take turns passing them. This can be done by swimming to the side of the lane, or by waiting until the other swimmer reaches the end of the pool before passing.

Always keep at least a 5 second distance between you and other swimmers. If another swimmer pushes off in front of you, wait at least 5 seconds before leaving the wall.

Be polite and courteous: Sharing the lane is about working together with others. It is important to be polite and courteous, and to respect the pace and preferences of other swimmers in your lane.

Lane Etiquette

It’s important to follow lane etiquette while swimming in a lane with other people. This usually involves swimming in a specific direction, such as counterclockwise, and staying on one side of the lane to avoid colliding with other swimmers. It is also important to be aware of the pace of other swimmers in your lane and to adjust your speed accordingly. 

The term “Circle Swim” refers to swimming on the right side of the lane at all times. Think of it as swimming counterclockwise up and down the lane, sticking to your right side throughout the entirety of your workout. 

Safety 1st

Safety is always a top priority when swimming in a pool, and it is important to be aware of the rules and regulations that are in place to keep you and others safe

Most pools have lifeguards on duty to ensure the safety of all swimmers. It’s vital to follow the instructions of the lifeguards and to familiarize yourself with the safety equipment that is available, such as life jackets and rescue tubes.

Unwritten Rules of Lane Swimming

Some rules of the pool are never said out loud, and this can make them difficult to learn. 

For one, if you’re at the wall and another swimmer is approaching you about to do their flipturn, wait until after they flip and leave the wall to start swimming. No swimmer likes it when they’re approaching the wall and someone else quickly darts out in front of them. Leave room between yourself and the other swimmers in the lane. 

Second, When resting at the wall, stick to the right or the left side of the wall. Always leave the center of the lane clear for other swimmers to do their flipturns. 

Lastly, if someone is swimming too slow and you’d like to pass them, wait until they reach the end of the pool to pass. Nobody likes it when another swimmer is hovering at your ankles hoping you’ll speed up. Everyone has their own pace and preference, it’s part of your responsibility to respect that. 

With these tips on how to swim in a public lane with others, you’ll make for a polite and respectful lanemate. 

Check out these beginner swim workouts to try out at the pool!

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