Lane Etiquette

As swimming gains in popularity and as it’s January and any kind of training facility is fit to burst after Christmas, I thought’s I’d do a little piece on the rules of the road.

 I regularly swim in public sessions and as a former County swimmer and reasonably fit guy, I’m still fairly quick and find myself having to (very carefully) swim around people in the lane. This said I rarely have any issues in public sessions. When I do it always seems to be with men in the 40s. A couple of years ago I gave a guy in this age group a good half length head start and proceeded to swim backstroke up the lane, catching him at the flags and head butting him up the backside. A few lengths later he started an argument with me which ended up with him threatening to fight me outside. “For your sake I hope you fight better than you swim” was my  response. So First up…


1.         Leave your ego at home. It doesn’t matter that you’ve swam in the fast lane for “20 years”. Pick the lane that suits your speed. If you’re being lapped on the regular basis move down a lane. If you’re constantly catching people up go into the fast lane.


2.         Swim the right way around the lane. If you don’t there’s a good chance you’ll smack someone on the hand.


3.         COMMUNICATION. I had a great session sharing a lane with a lady in her 60s a few weeks ago. I simply told her to keep swimming and I’d give her a little tap on the toes when I was overtaking. Problem solved.


4.         Look at the timetable. I’m self employed and it’s quite easy for me but I know the pool will be really busy at lunchtime and it’s a waste of my time. There are sessions during the week at 3pm during the school run that are completely dead. That’s where you’ll see me churning out the lengths!


5.         Common Sense. As previously stated, if you’re too fast/slow move lanes. If someone is catching you up don’t hit the wall and push off in front of them….stop at the wall and let them overtake. If you’re resting at the shallow end move to the side so people can continue to turn…


Those are my top 5. I think it all really comes down to manners and common sense. Everyone pays the same entry fee and no one has more of a right to a lane than anyone else. Like I said before don’t be afraid to have a chat with the rest of the lane when you get in.

Happy Swimming.