Stay In Your Lane

A Complete Guide to Lap Swimming Etiquette

Whether you’re an on-duty lifeguard or just getting your laps in, knowing a little swimming etiquette makes sure the pool stays fun for everyone. Follow these tips the next time you’re at the pool to avoid injury and have a more satisfying workout!

Feet First!

Best practices for entering the water:

  • Before you enter the pool make sure the lane is clear of other swimmers.
  • Enter the water feet first from the end closer to the starting blocks.
  • If another swimmer is approaching the wall, wait until after they’ve executed their turn and are into their next lap before making your entry. No one likes to have their laps interrupted!

Sharing the Road

Understanding Lane Designations:

  • A busy pool means shared lanes
  • Select a lane where other swimmers are swimming at your preferred speed.
  • Ask a lifeguard if you need help selecting an appropriate lane.
  • Remember a lifeguard can also ask you to move to a different lane if your speed is not the same as the others sharing your lane.

Swimming in Circles

Following a circle swim pattern is required. Traffic begins at the end closest to the starting block.

  • Stay to the right and swim in a counterclockwise circle in the lane.
  • Always complete your lap. Stopping in the middle of the lane can cause dangerous collisions and slow down other swimmers.
  • If you need to stop, only do it at the wall. Try to stay in the left-hand corner so other swimmers have space to turn.

Yeah, I’m Gonna Pass

  • Pass on the left. If you are the slower swimmer being overtaken at the turn, stop and wait until the other swimmer has pushed off.
  • Passes must be initiated before either swimmer reaches the wall.
  • If you’re using a kickboard, be aware of other swimmers in the lane and their need to pass.

Need for Speed

  • Slower swimmers must yield to faster swimmers.
  • Be aware of your orientation to others. If a faster swimmer is gaining on you, pause at the wall and allow them to pass.
  • Always  sure you provide adequate distance between you and other swimmers.
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