Home » Ranting » More Swimming 101- Water Etiquette

More Swimming 101- Water Etiquette

Welcome to Part 2 of Swimming 101:  Water Etiquette

This was not originally part of my series but after an incident yesterday I decided it had to be included.  I swim early in the morning, usually on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  The pool is generally packed.  And more often than not, lanes need to be shared.  Of course, like most people, sharing a lane is not my favorite way to swim but I also know that it is inevitable if I choose to swim at a popular time.  Normally everything is smooth sailing regardless of how crowded it is because it is usually the same people and we have all gotten to know each other by face.  Yesterday though, was a different story, with a swimmer I hadn’t seen at the pool before:

 I came into the pool and all lanes were taken.  There was only one lane with only one person so I stood at the end of the lane to give the heads up to the swimmer that I would be jumping in; he would not make eye contact so I put my feet to make him aware that I was going to get in the lane.  And when the guy got the the wall he looked at me like I had ten heads so I said, “hey I am going to share” and he rolled his eyes.  Yeah, we were off to a good start.  For the first ten minutes, I had to basically swim around him because clearly he never learned how to share in kindergarten. I was sucking it up until he smacked me in the head with his hand weight.  At that point I stopped him and we had this conversation:

Me: Whoa…I thought we were sharing a lane.

Douchebag in Pool: I was here first.

Me: Right, and if there was another lane in which I could swim, I would.  But there isn’t.

(I thought it was over at that point, but no…)

DIP: You know, some of us in here are training for triathlon (with a huge emphasis on triathlon) and need the pool.

Me: Yes, I understand.  I am one of those people.

And then I swam off.  And go figure, he got out of the pool about five minutes later.  I would have…but some of us are training for triathlon!!!

So there you have it, my motivation for this post. 

5 proper swim etiqette tips

  1. Know how to share a lane.  You can either “split” a lane…each swimmer on their own side, or if there are more than two swimmers, you can use the circle format.  This means everyone swims counter-clockwise on the right side of the lane.  And don’t hog the lane like the moron in the aformentioned story.
  2. Know your ability.  When determining which lane to enter when all lanes are full, look for swimmers who are at or about at your same ability.  Don’t kid yourself about your skills.
  3. Be pass friendly.  If you need to pass someone in the lane, simply tap their foot to let them know and then go around them on the left.  If your foot is tapped to be passed, DO NOT speed up in an attempt to stay ahead.  Swallow your pride and let them swimmer pass.
  4. Stop appropriately.  Unless you are having an emergency, there is no reason to stop in the middle of a swim lap.  All stopping should take place at the end of the lane and the stopped swimmer should tuck themselves into the corner of the lane so they do not get in the way of a turning swimmer.
  5. Do not aqua jog when sharing a lane.  Nuff Said.

And five pool pet peeves:

  1. Don’t pee in the pool.  Do I even need to elaborate on this???
  2. Shower first.  The pool is not your personal bathtub.
  3. Don’t bring all your toys to every swim.  Decide what you will work on for that swim and bring what you need.  No reason to bring your whole toy box.
  4. Don’t be a drafter.  If you are sharing a lane, don’t be the rude swimmer who constantly taps the swimmers foot but then doesn’t pass. 
  5. Recognize that the gym pool is not a hang-out.  It is not cute to wear your bikini to the gym pool and hang out on the steps.  You look ridiculous.

Do you have any tips or pet peeves to add? 


Stay tuned for Swimming 101 Part 3; pool toys and how to use them!

20 thoughts on “More Swimming 101- Water Etiquette

  1. Proper etiquette #6 (which you did, but bears repeating). Make yourself visible to the current swimmer(s) if you are going to share a lane. Don’t sprint out of the locker room and into the nearest lane whereby either landing on or scaring the bejeezus out of the person in the pool. I’m happy to share a lane, just give me a heads up.

    Sorry about the douchebag. When he does triathlons, he must be the only one in the lake. Heaven forbid he have to swim with other people.

  2. Oh, I hate sharing a lane, but then again, there are very few lane swimmers at my pool, so I am usually sharing a lane with little kids who are playing tag and whatnot in my lane, and that is far worse 😉

    I’m training to be a scuba diving instructor, and I CANNOT make it through a pool session without having to go pee (It runs 2-3 hours). NO ONE ELSE in the class appears to be having this difficulty… They’re all guys, so I guess you know what’s happening there. So gross. I own my own scuba equipment and I really don’t want to pee all over it. Tuesday will be my first class with actual students (previously it was just training), so I’m trying to decide what I’m going to do….

  3. This is a great series! I am a new swimmer and I hate sharing a late because I feel like I will get in their way, so I always pray that the first lane (which is usually 2 lanes without the divider is open. The other day, they had split this lane but of of course no one wants the left most lane because of the stairs and such. I had no problem using it because I knew no one could really share it with me. I look forward to reading the rest of your series.

  4. I’ve only gone lane swimming 2-3 times, and that was a long time ago… but even I know better pool manners than TriDouche! Some people get such a superiority complex when they sign up for events/races 😦

    Pet Peeve #5 can apply to the gym in general. I once saw a girl at my college gym in tinytiny shorts, a lacy tank top, and full makeup. She went on an elliptical for 5 minutes, then started asking one of the guys to help her figure out how to use the 5lb hand weights. Ugh!

  5. Ugg I hate when ppl are selfish and weird at the pool! Its just really nice to be with ppl who are friendly and happy to be there!

  6. what an asshole, many of them at our pool as well, and they are usually older men, who still have a belly but for some reason think they are super shape b/c they swim.

  7. What a d-bag! UGH! I am happy you talked back to him. He needed that. Ugh.

    And I am happy you wrote this! I don’t know about swim training and did not know about the foot tapping!

  8. Love your list of swim etiquette! Sorry you had a rough encounter but glad you got your workout in and scared him out of the pool!

  9. What an ass! I haven’t had to worry too much about this, because me and my two tri newbie friends are usually the only three at the pool – but we usually swim right on top of each other to try and get more prepared for the triathlon. 🙂

  10. Great answer: I know, I’m one of them! That should have learned him something!

    I don’t swim anymore but when I did I don’t know better than sharing a lane and be polite to each other.

  11. Wow, just wow.
    I used to lifeguard from 5am to 10am twice a week at a lap pool. Most days it was just a few people but I had a full pool once or twice. Luckily everyone had good pool etiquitte.
    I’m not as familiar with pool etiquitte but I think some of them are basic courtesy!!
    I never knew about the foot tap, but probably I would be the one getting passed.

  12. ARE YOU KIDDING? he really said that. i would have shoved his head under the water and held it there for a few seconds too long.

    maybe i have anger management issues…

  13. Oh my gosh I can’t believe that guy!! I hope you guys end up in the same triathlon one day and you leave him in the dust 😉

    Pet peeve #5 is the worst!!! There’s always kids just hanging out in bikinis in my pool. They go back and forth between the pool and the hot tub like they’re on vacation. Drives me CRAZY!! Ahh!

  14. Ah, the pool. The source of so much frustration for any of us swimmers. I agree with all of your etiquette rules! Now if only everyone else was aware of them.
    I now get to the gym by 6:00 am, as soon as the pool opens, so I get into even a shared lane, and have a good swim. Getting out of bed at 5:30 is worth it to avoid DIPs!

  15. what a loser! i mean i hate the thought of sharing a lane (if i ever were to swim) but i’d suck it up obviously. who does this guy think he is.

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