Lap Swimming Rules

by Pool Builders on 03-17-2010 in Articles

Lap swimming is a great way for runners to cross train and fend off or recover from injuries caused by constantly running on the pavement. It also gives you another indoor option for working out during the winter when you may not want to get outside as often.

Lap swimming in a public pool requires following different rules of etiquette than when you are playing with your kids at the neighbor's back yard BBQ. There are a few rules that you should always follow no matter the circumstances, and there are other rules that can be a little different depending upon how many other people are sharing your lane with you.

Most of these rules can usually be negotiated simply by asking the others in your lane whether they would mind doing something different, but after a couple of trips to your local pool you'll quickly get used to whatever the norm is at that particular location.

These rules will not necessarily be enforced by anybody, but you should follow them anyway because they make it much easier for everybody to get their workouts in and to keep you all moving and safe.

So, to start off with, here are the rules you should follow any time that you are in a pool:

  • Do not urinate under any circumstances; just get out and use the rest room.
  • Stay in your lane, unless you are getting in or out by a ladder at one edge of the shallow end and are moving to or from the lane you will be swimming in.
  • Enter feet first at the shallow end, unless the lane is clear; never dive into the shallow end under any circumstances because if you crack your head open you will not only need to go to the emergency room but will interrupt everybody else's workout as the pool will get shut down.
  • Be aware of others in your lane and in the lane next to you.
  • Swim in the correct lane for your speed based on those already swimming and on any signs that may denote speed. In general, faster lanes are to the left (when facing the pool from the shallow end) and slower lanes are to the right. Your pool may be marked differently.

Here are some general rules to bear in mind if you are sharing a lane with other swimmers:

  • Stay on one side of the lane in both directions when there is only one other person in the lane, unless circle swimming.
Circle swim when there is more than one other person in the lane. Hug the right side of the lane when circle swimming; there should be more open space to your left than your right (just like when driving). If you are swimming along one side, then hug the outside edge and leave more room in the center of the lane. You should always be closer to somebody on the other side of a lane divider than in your own lane. Tap the person you are passing's foot when you catch up to them to warn them that you are there. Stay to the right while resting when circle swimming, so that people who are not resting can more easily change direction and continue moving.

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