Lane swimming Rant!

Rant time!

So a little different entry this week related to swim etiquette or lack there of!

Why am I ranting about this?  Let me explain.

Every Friday I bring my girls to swimming lessons and while they are in lessons I use the time to do a few laps.  Now I understand that there is only one lane open at this time and it can become congested, but is that an excuse for poor manners?  Before anyone gets the wrong impression here I am not saying that people should not be allowed into the lane or that there should be a speed restriction in place.  All I am saying is that if I am swimming at a certain pace and I catch the feet of the person in front of me then, as lane swimming etiquette suggests, they should wait at the wall and let me pass.   Pretty simple idea, right?  Then why is it so hard for people to understand?

Here is my opinion on the whole thing.  First of all people are simply not aware of the etiquette associated with lane swimming, this is the first problem.  However, does this mean that just because you don’t know the etiquette you should be rude?  SwimmerHere is one example of what I mean.  As I was swimming in the only available lane there were 2 other people swimming too.  Initially I made it clear that I was about to enter the lane, dangled my legs in the pool near the wall as each person approached the wall.  Once they had pushed off and had approximately ¾ of a length head start I pushed off and began my warm up.  By the time I was finishing my second length I had caught one of the people in front of me, he stopped and I swam on, all looking good so far!  This is where it stopped and the stress set in.  The next time I approached the wall the swimmer I initially passed decided to push off just as I reached the wall, now it was obvious that I was a faster swimmer than him but he insisted on pushing off in front of me!  This continued to happen throughout my swim, I changed to sculling to account for these interruptions.

Now to the other swimmer in the lane, he just down right refused to leave me pass when I caught his feet, just kept on swimming regardless and did not seem too bothered or to care much that he was obviously holding me up.  Again, I’m sure that he didn’t understand the etiquette of lane swimming but I felt it just got to the point of being rude and making a point of not leaving me pass.  The final straw was the swimmer that joined the lane last.  This guy proceeded to do a combination of the what the other two guys had been doing all along and just made it almost impossible to swim with any rhythm for the 40 mins I was in the lane.

Now, its fine to be frustrated and annoyed with this lack of understanding or maybe respect for others.  What I would like to get peoples thoughts on is who should be responsible for managing the etiquette of lane swimming?  First of all, from what I can see, it is very rare to have this etiquette posted in any of the pools I have attended.  So if it’s not clear should I really expect someone to understand this?  But again some of this stuff is pretty straight forward and should be common sense, but then again ‘sense isn’t very common’.  Next, who should enforce the etiquette within the lanes?  I have been in lanes where everyone is very courteous and there would be no need for enforcing this etiquette.  However, as per the examples above should I have enlightened the other swimmers of the etiquette?  How would they react if there is nothing posted around the facility?  Or should it be the lifeguards/pool attendants  responsibility to enforce?  I don’t know what the perfect solution is but there has to be a way that everyone can enjoy swimming in the same lane even during busy times.

I have also included the list of lane swimming etiquette taken from

Rule 1: Never get in an occupied lane if another is empty.

Rule 2: Never get into an occupied land without letting the person/people already swimming know you are entering.  Do this by dangling your legs into the water or standing to the side at the end of the lane when they are turning.

Rule 3: If there is only one other person in the lane, the lane can be split with each person taking half the lane. But you *must* explicitly agree this. Otherwise assume lane/circle swimming.

Rule 4: Once a third person joins, circle swimming must start. Make sure both people know you are joining.

Rule 5: Circle swimming is dictated by the fastest person present, not the slowest, biggest, or first in. Take note of the swimmer’s speeds before you enter. Direction is often pool specific. Check for direction signs or ask.

Rule 6: Do NOT turn or push off in front of faster swimmers. Faster swimmers should allow slower swimmers as much time as possible before starting.

Rule 7: Tap feet to pass. The person whose feet are being tapped moves out of the way to the corner at the lane end. Do NOT speed up if you are being passed.

Rule 8: The slower swimmer in front must move to the side of the lane end to allow faster swimmers to pass. Allow them to turn at the centre of the lane wall. if there are more than one, allow all faster swimmers behind you to pass.

Rule 9: Do NOT start swimming immediately behind another swimmer. They will not know you are there when they are turning. Injuries will result.

Rule 10: Swimmers resting at lane end should stay as far to the side of the lane as possible.

Rule 11: If the lane has a few swimmers doing long-axis strokes (front crawl, back stroke) do NOT do short axis strokes (Breastroke, ‘fly)

Rule 12: Be polite. Communicate. Do your best to explain the etiquette. Remember most lifeguards don’t seem to know these. Most pools don’t have them posted.

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