Lap Pool Rules
Lap Swim Etiquette
Joining a lane: A single lane can accommodate several swimmers (watch a swim team practice sometime). Take a minute to observe each of the lanes and get a sense of which one you match up with best. Some pools designate slow lanes and fast lanes, but seeing the swimmers that are already going is an even better gauge. When you are ready to pick a lane and start swimming, make sure everyone in that lane is aware that you’re going to join them. Sit by the edge of the pool and wait for them to finish a set, or ease in and stand in the corner of the lane until they acknowledge you’re joining them, or wave a kickboard/foot/hand underwater at the edge of the pool to get their attention. You may need to wait for a few minutes to start if swimmers are in the middle of a set. Have a quick discussion about how you’re going to swim together—either by splitting the lane (if there are just two of you) or by swimming in circles (if there are two or more).
Splitting the Lane: One of you swims on one side of the lane and one of you swims on the other. If you’re splitting the lane, you stay in your half no matter what.
Circle Swim: Much like traffic on a road, always swim on the right side of the lane. This means swimming on one side of the lane going down and the other side of the lane coming back. Swimmers move in a counterclockwise circle, hence the name. Some pools require splitting lanes if there are just two and going to a circle if there are more than two. Other pools require circling lanes even if you’re by yourself. Whatever the case, make sure everyone in your lane is on the same page before you get started.
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