Swimming Etiquette

On Deck

Be there at least 5 minutes before the start of the workout to help put the lanes lines in and get your equipment ready.  Help put away equipment at the end of the workout.


Learn the names of your lane mates.

Understand the cruise interval for the lane. Does everyone agree? Are you in the right lane? Don’t change the intervals or rest periods unless everyone in the lane agrees.  The focus of the workouts change from week to week-some weeks the interval will be longer to allow more rest.  If you feel the intervals are not right for you it may be time to move up or down a lane.

Never begin a set until everybody in the lane understands it (particularly drill sets). The extra amount of time spent to communicate the set and interval pace to the entire lane is a good investment of your time.

Communicate to your lane mates if you plan to do anything "different" in the set. This includes switching to another stroke than designated, using fins, kicking or pulling rather than swimming, warming down in the middle of the set, sitting out an interval, or even getting out of the pool.

On long swims where lapping is likely to occur, communicate with each other what the passing procedure will be.

The Rules of Passing

With the number of swimmers in our lanes, the need to pass another swimmer in a long swim is almost inevitable, especially in distance sets. The key to keeping the lane running smoothly and to help all swimmers keep focus on the workout is to determine the passing strategy for the lane before the set begins. Communicate with your lane mates to determine what will work best for everybody in the lane! Passing in the center of a crowded lane is dangerous and not recommended. Please follow these general guidelines:

It is best to the pass at the wall rather than in the middle of the lane. Here is how it works:

      Passer: Gently taps feet of Passee(1st tap may be considered an accident & a 2nd tap might be necessary)

      Passee: At the next turn, pulls over to the Right Corner and stops.

      Passer: Makes flip turn at Left Corner of wall.

      Passee: Starts swimming again, behind the Passer.

Swimmers enjoying a draft behind a strong lead swimmer, but who are just barely able to hold the pace should think twice before tapping the leader’s toes and moving ahead. It’s unlikely that they will be able to hold the same pace for very long without the draft.  Drafting swimmers not wishing to pass and then lead should swim far enough back that they don’t inadvertently touch the lead swimmer’s toes.

If more than one swimmer is bunched close behind, the swimmer being overtaken should allow the entire group of faster swimmers to pass before pushing off the wall again (don’t push off right in front of someone who is faster).

In general, swimmers should make their turn at the left corner of the lane. As soon as the swimmer ahead of you finishes his turn you should swim towards the center of the lane, make your turn to the left of the cross on the wall, and push off on what is now the right-hand side of the lane.

With regards to resting at the wall in the middle of practice, swimmers should stay in the right corner of the lane. This will allow the other swimmers to continue to make their turns in the left corner without interference.

Also, when finishing your swims, be sure to finish as far to the left as possible so that the swimmers behind you have some room to your right to finish as well. 

Be Responsible & Aware

Never assume that the first person in the lane knows what is going on. They may be having a bad day.

Take responsibility for counting. You can do it—allow your self to believe it!

Watch the pace clock and stay in your send off spot throughout the set (5 to 10 seconds behind the swimmer in front of you). If you’re leaving less than 5 seconds behind the swimmer in front of you, you will end of drafting off of them and probably catching them.  This is frustrating for everyone.

Be aware of what is happening in the lane. Where are the other swimmers? Am I holding people up? Am I running people over? Is there somebody right behind me as I am coming off the wall? Be aware of the gap behind you and the next swimmer and try to anticipate when that swimmer is likely to overtake you. A lead swimmer who sees another swimmer coming up close behind when making their turn should consider stopping and moving over immediately at that wall to let the faster swimmer pass.

If you have trouble seeing the clock, figure out how to see it. Prescription goggles, contacts under your goggles, small pace clocks next to your lane and synchronizing your wrist watch, are just a few of the many options.

If you arrive late to the workout, take responsibility for learning what is going on. Look at the workout to see what the set is before you get into the water. Do not interrupt the swimmers.  Warm up in the diving well if necessary.

Encourage & Acknowledge

It’s fun and motivating to hear positive encouragement coming from fellow swimmers. A small "let’s go" can be just the positive boost your lane mates need in the middle of a long difficult set.

Acknowledge each other. Is somebody in your lane having an exceptional day? Let them know!

It is important to have a good attitude about practice and your lane mates.  We train early in the morning so it’s understandable to be grumpy some times during practice but there is no reason to take it out on your teammates.

In General 

Keep nails closely trimmed and don’t wear protruding jewelry. 

Respect the “toys” of other swimmers.  Don’t borrow anyone else’s equipment unless you have asked permission first. Borrowing something may force a fellow swimmer to interrupt his routine, get out of the pool to find a replacement, and in the process lose his position in the lane.

Last Updated on Monday, 06 August 2012 12:15