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Lap Swimming Etiquette

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Several people can fit in one lane if proper etiquette is observed. We encourage you to adhere to a primary goal; do not inhibit the progress of others sharing the same lane as you.


  • Select a lane most compatible with your swimming speed.

  • Lifeguards may assist you with selecting the appropriate lane or ask you to move if your speed is not similar to those in your lane.

  • Always enter the water feet first and clear of other swimmers already occupying the lane. If there is a swimmer approaching the wall as you are preparing to enter wait until they have turned and started the next lap before entering so as not to interrupt their progress.


  •  Unless the lane has only two people in it that would rather split the lane, we circle swim.

  • This would be swimming in a counter-clockwise circle in the lane, stay to the right.
  • It is the responsibility of the swimmer entering the lane to be sure all other swimmers in that lane are aware of his/her presence and the desired or necessary traffic pattern before any swimming is started by that patron.

  • Always swim complete laps of the pool. Avoid stopping in the middle of the pool for any reason, this can interfere with others progress and cause collisions.

  • Stop only at the wall and once stopped stay in the corner of the lane, preferably the left hand corner.

  • Be aware of your space in the lane and the orientation of others.

  • If you are approaching the wall and another lap swimmer is gaining on you, swimming at a faster rate then you are, pause at the wall to allow the faster swimmer to go by.

  • If more than one swimmer is getting congested behind a slower swimmer the lead should stop at the wall and let all the others advance before pushing off the wall to continue his/her swim.


  • If you need to pass in your lane move up to the swimmer and tap his/her foot. It is inappropriate to grab, pull, or tickle the person but a tap is a clear indication of your presence and your intent to pass.

  • If your foot has been tapped there is no need to stop, as this could cause a collision. Once you are aware of another’s intent to pass, slow down just slightly and slide over as close to the lane rope as possible.

  • If the indication to pass has occurred right before the wall it is appropriate to pause at the wall in the right hand corner to allow the swimmer to advance through his/her turn


  •  If the pool is busy those swimming in lanes by themselves or with one other person may want to stay circle swimming due to the likely hood of being joined by a third very shortly and then being forced to change pattern yet again.

  • Drafting swimmers wishing not to pass need to be sure to keep from tapping on the lead swimmer’s toes as this will create an undesired leap-frogging in the lane, which is disrupting to others.

  • Always start, turn and finish at the wall. This will enhance your fitness and keep clear communication within the lane.

  • When switching lanes exit the lane at the shallow end, walk to the desired lane and enter feet first from the shallow end. Never slip under a lane rope to switch lanes; this is dangerous and disruptive to the traffic pattern in the lane being entered.

  • Smile and enjoy your workout. When we work together lap swimming can be a wonderful experience for all levels of need and fitness.

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