Swimming Lane Etiquette

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by cuccir, 18 Dec 2019.

  1. cuccir

    cuccir Established Member

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    As the title suggests, a thread about a particularly important topic :lol:! This is light-hearted and I realise entirely trivial, but it's also something that has been playing on my mind!

    For those of you who go swimming: what etiquette (if any!) do you follow in choosing which lane to swim in? I'm imagining pools which have lanes with some indication of speed ('slow', 'medium', 'fast' are most normal, some have 'very slow' or 'very fast' as well) on them.

    When there are empty lanes which fit the speed you'd judge yourself as swimming at, I think it's very clearly expected that you use those. But what do people do in the following two scenarios?:

    1. You enter a pool where there are much faster swimmers than you in the medium-speed lanes, slower swimmers in the slow lanes, and empty fast lanes?

    2. You enter a pool where there are much slower swimmers than you in the medium-speed lanes, faster swimmers in the fast lanes, and empty slow lanes?

    Interested to hear your thoughts!
     
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  3. Arglwydd Golau

    Arglwydd Golau Established Member

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    I swim 5 or 6 times a week in a pool with only two lanes for length swimmers and have done so for years. I normally swim about 1k...50-60 lengths or so. As you can imagine, some swimmers are faster than me, others slower and in each situation swimming etiquette plays a big part, when people don't play by the 'rules' it can be very annoying. Of course, as a regular swimmer, one gets to know the other swimmers and therefore I can act accordingly. Whilst I don't consider myself a bad swimmer I am certainly not as fast as some younger people, and so if I join a lane with faster swimmers it is easy to judge how I need to swim in order not to break their rhythm, eg I might swim 3 lengths to their 4. I will always allow faster swimmers to overtake (and expect slower swimmers to allow me to do so, that doesn't always happen)
    In both scenarios you outline, I would go into the empty lane, but would keep an eye on the other lanes and switch if necessary.
    Two points I would add to this, the most annoying are head-up breaststrokers who like to swim and chat in the length lanes. Secondly, I am amazed by the numbers of young people who cannot swim, or can only swim quite badly (and I say this as someone who only learnt to swim in my late 30's)
     
  4. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    The pool I use usually has some double-width lanes, which give room for two swimmers to pass comfortably and also for someone else to overtake up the middle.
     
  5. D365

    D365 Established Member

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    I must say, I'm impressed by your commitment. I do a similar set whenever I swim, but I've only been going twice a week at most since I gave up club level swimming. Until recently my student life has been getting in the way, so I'm trying to find my old motivation again now that I have more time in the evenings.
     
  6. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    The trouble I find is that swimming up and down is about as interesting as running on a treadmill. I'd do it more were it not for that.

    Regarding lanes, I prefer there not to be any and the pool just to be open.
     
  7. Arglwydd Golau

    Arglwydd Golau Established Member

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    I do have a arthritic condition that swimming alleviates, so that helps. An old colleague at work did once tell me that I was bloody-minded enough to do it.

    Many say that, and I know people who will only swim in a class (being told what to do) as they don't have the motivation to swim without that structure...but I did find when I was working that it was great as a stress reliever.
     
  8. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

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    Not being a particularly fast swimmer, I just pick the slow line so I'm not permanently worrying about following someone else's self made-up rule about what constitutes 'Medium' speed (even though I sometimes can outswim the Medium lane)
     
  9. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    I swim most weeks, - usually 1Km, (40x25m lengths). I swim breast stroke except for every tenth length when it is back crawl. The pool has 10 x 2m wide lanes which are usually paired for fast, medium (my lane), slow and 'leisure swim'. Thus provided swimmers choose lanes that approximate their speed, there is room to overtake when slight differences result in swimmers catching others up. As is posted in the etiquette, I turn at the centre of each lane pair, except when on my back when I keep going straight, but always make sure before I set off that I won't swim into anybody ahead of me.
    Irritations:
    those who swim much slower than everybody else in a lane
    those who don't look where the are going, (mainly front crawl swimmers)
    those that turn around before the end of the lane or slowly swim in an arc to avoid touching the end wall
    those that clutter up the ends of the lane for swimming chatting, sometimes for the whole 30 mins that I normally swim for.​
    Other than that, swimming on weekdays is quite pleasant.
     
  10. Arglwydd Golau

    Arglwydd Golau Established Member

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    I can relate to all those! (especially irritating are the chatters, some really do seem oblivious to length swimmers!)
     
  11. Puppetfinger

    Puppetfinger Member

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    I generally assess at the time what is going on and how many people there are using the lanes and pool, and then use whatever lane is appropriate is less disruptive to everyone else.

    In the scenarios quoted by the OP I would just use the empty lanes, and be prepared to change lanes if the circumstances changes.

    Anecdotally, one of the pools I use runs a public lane session in the early morning, with three lanes for speed. It however is frequented by what seems to have become an unofficial very senior in years swimming group, the slow lane being people slowly walking (and for the record it is great they are having the swim and I think that's great) except anyone else who isn't in their little cliche gets evils for being in the pool! Thankfully the moment the lanes come in they get out en mass, and I go into an empty pool!
     
  12. trainmania100

    trainmania100 Established Member

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    Can't remember the last time I went swimming, I usually choose a lane that's not got many people in and do breast stroke . Swimming is quite a healthy sport and I do enjoy it .
     
  13. cuccir

    cuccir Established Member

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    Thanks for the replies!

    Oh yes, this very much!

    Yes, I went swimming when on a work trip in Vienna and (as I believe is more common in Germany/Austria) there were no lanes and it all worked well: a bit like shared space on the highway, everyone took responsibility for not crashing but there was also never any sense that you might be in the 'wrong' place.
     
  14. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    Middle lane hoggers :lol:
     
  15. Abpj17

    Abpj17 Member

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    It's not necessarily the people you would imagine either. The worst I ever encountered was an aggressive woman who - despite us being the only two in the pool, and me having been doing the same lane for 15 mins before she came in - absolutely insisted in swimming in *exactly* the same lane as me.

    Beyond that, it's intriguing looking at different styles. Some are very splashy/show-offy - the energy is going into making a big splash rather than forward momentum. The number of people that walk down steps facing forward (??) instead of turning. And people that walk instead of swim lanes.
     
  16. notabasher

    notabasher Member

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    Interetesting thread. To add the the confusing rules of etiquette I'm extremely short-sighted so have the further problem of what to do if someone is at the end of the pool at the same time as me and I want to set off to swim a length. Since I can't make eye contact or even see gestures I just go!

    The problem with slow-lane swimming is not so much the speed as it is the worst place for poor manners. Worst are women of a certain age with bingo-wings who swim heads-up and: 1) don't shower before going in the pool giving you a lovely taste of their scents and deoderants, 2) swim straight down the middle of the lane so you can't overtake, 3) turn round slowly in a circle 2-3m from the end of the pool thus getting even more in the way.

    For this reason I go in the middle-lane but stick to the sides so better swimmers can overtake. Is this considered acceptable?
     
  17. TheBigD

    TheBigD Member

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    May I suggest a pair of prescription goggles?
    I'm also short sighted (-5.0) and mine were only £20. Wish I'd bought them years ago.
     
  18. D365

    D365 Established Member

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    I can recommend prescription goggles as well, they don't have to be 100% accurate but they certainly help.
     
  19. BJames

    BJames Member

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    I do the same. I would normally be able to match the faster pace of a medium lane swimmer but find that those swimming in the fast lane are often people that clearly swim every day, I wouldn't be able to match their speed. I don't generally have too many issues as I usually swim in my University sports centre and although anyone can come for a swim, it is more often than not just students in there.
     
  20. notabasher

    notabasher Member

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    I can swim with contact lenses and then goggles which I have done when taking the children swimming when they are small.

    If just ploughing up and down the pool I think I prefer not being able to see well.
     
  21. Arglwydd Golau

    Arglwydd Golau Established Member

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    In all my years swimming in the same pool had in all probability the worst in relation to etiquette last Friday. The lane asks length swimmers to swim anti-clockwise, twice other people got in and swam alongside (usually acceptable following agreement - good idea if swimmers have different speeds) and then a young woman got in and proceeded to swim, well, all over the place, it was difficult to see what she was trying to do. I waited to speak to her at one end, but she wasn't having any of that so I restarted swimming correctly and obviously we clashed. At least that gave me the opportunity to speak with her, I pointed out the notice and she said 'well, anti-clockwise can be open to interpretation!' and carried on her merry way. I got out soon after without completing my K.....some other swimmers might not have been so polite with her. Hope she isn't there this evening!
     
  22. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    Anticlockwise might be the other way round if you're doing backstroke at the time?

    The pool I go to has signs with arrows so it's absolutely clear which way to swim. Trouble is they only put them at the deep end so those like me that can't see that far without glasses may start out on the wrong side.
     
  23. D365

    D365 Established Member

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    I don't think anti-clockwise is particularly different on your back?
     
  24. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    If you are inside the clock looking out, then the hands appear to be moving anti-clockwise.

    Anyway, it's a fairly frivolous point.
     

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