Lane Etiquette

Pool etiquette is essential to team functioning. Pool etiquette makes best use of limited pool space and maximizes the opportunity of each swimmer to experience enjoyable and focused workouts. Swimmers who do not or cannot observe pool etiquette may be barred from the team (see grievance procedure, below).

Members should observe the following pool etiquette guidelines:

  • Abide by all pool safety rules (no jumping or diving into the pool at the shallow end, no running on deck, etc.).
  • Listen quietly during the announcements at the beginning of practice; do not talk to people around you.
  • Your place in the lane order should reflect the speed that you intend to swim. In other words, if you choose to go last – even though you are faster than others – do not swim on top of the person in front of you.
  • Be a responsible lane leader: Make sure you tell your lane mates when you are going to leave for a set (e.g., “I’m leaving on the 30”).
  • When you are pushing off the wall, leave five seconds between yourself and the swimmer in front of you at a minimum. When possible, swimmers should leave 10 seconds between themselves and the swimmer in front of them. If you find yourself catching up to the person, slow down and give him/her room.
  • When you finish an interval, move to the left and away from the wall so that there is space for the people behind you to finish at the wall. Similarly, if you sit out an interval, do not stand at the end of the lane. Standing at the end of the lane blocks people coming in for turns. Instead, stop and move to the left corner at the end of the lane or get out of the pool.
  • If a set starts at the deep end, move as far as possible to the left so people coming in behind you don’t have to tread water or hang on the lane lines. Each time a person leaves the wall, everyone else should move to the left until everyone has a hand holding onto the wall.
  • Inform your lane mates when you are going to switch to a slower or faster stroke (e.g., free to back or breast to fly).
  • During sets where you repeat short or middle distances, if you want to go ahead of someone, ask him/her in between intervals. Do not try to pass someone in the middle of an interval.
  • On distance sets, if you want to pass the person in front of you, gently tap his/her foot and wait for him/her to stop at the next wall.
  • If someone taps your foot, stop and move to the left corner at the end of the lane. This way, s/he will have a space at the wall to do a flip turn while s/he passes you.
  • Don’t interrupt a swimmer’s rhythm by jumping in ahead of him/her when s/he is coming into the
  • If you stop to let someone pass, you must also let everyone else pass who is swimming closely behind that person.
  • If you have to leave practice in the middle of a set, make sure that you inform your lane mates.

Mark Dorshkind

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