Starting out with lane swimming is intimidating to say the least, but when you’re ready to start training in the faster pace lanes the intensity rises once more. Just like the rules of the road, there are a number of guidelines to be aware of to keep pool etiquette and keep the peace in the lanes.
#1 Gauge the pace
So, you’re ready to turn your training pace up a notch, but before you dive in (metaphorically), what’s the general pace of the other swimmers in the lane? Can you keep up with the pace that’s been set? If so, make yourself aware to the other swimmers by dangling your legs from the side, then hop in once the area around you is clear. If you think the pace is too advanced for your training session today, choose a different lane and try again during another session.
#2 Check the direction
This might sound silly, but this is especially relevant if you’re training in a new pool. Look out for the lane direction signs around the pool to see how lane swimming is structured in each centre. If there are no obvious signs around the pool, ask the lifeguard or a staff member for directions.
Each leisure centre may also have their own specific pool rules and regulations to follow, these are usually pinned to a board on the wall. It is always worth checking as the swimming rules can differ between pools.
#3 Don’t hang out at the end
When you’re ready to take a breather, rest at the end of a lane against the wall so you are not blocking any other swimmers. You are, of course, welcome to take breaks whenever you feel necessary but just be aware of where the other swimmers are in your lane to avoid any misfortunate bumps with arms and legs. Standing at the edge of the lane against the wall usually leaves enough space for other swimmers to tumble-turn and continue with their swim.
#4 Let other swimmers past
The most important rule to remember is that the fastest swimmer has right of way. The slower swimmer in the lane must move to the side of the lane to let the faster swimmer to pass if required. You will usually know if a swimmer is looking to pass you if you feel a hand tapping at your feet. This is the general sign that a swimmer is looking to overtake you in the lane, you should pause at the end of the land in order for the faster swimmer to pass in front of you.
If you ignore these signs, it can sometimes cause tension amongst the other swimmers and it may result in them forcing their way past you. If a swimmer does let you pass, it wouldn’t go a miss to say thank you before you shoot off for another length. Following this guideline is the best way to keep the peace in the fast lane.
#5 Caution with tumble turning
A tumble turn is a great technique to quickly and efficiently reverse your direction by launching yourself from the wall with your feet. Many swimmers in the fast lane, opt to use this technique to maintain their momentum between lengths.
As you approach the end of a length, try to sense where the other swimmers are in the lane. If the coast is clear and the swimmers in front and behind you are fair distance from you, tumble turn and push away from the wall.
Now you understand pool etiquette for the fast lane, you can continue your training and challenge yourself amongst the faster swimmers. But remember, no racing unless the other swimmers agree to it!