Pool Etiquette

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 04, 2018 5:19 AM GMT
    The pool at my Y is finally open, but of course, "adult recreation" time accommodates senior citizens or others without traditional jobs as opposed to working professionals. Adult lap is available every day, all day.

    I am still learning how to swim. I can do the freestyle (still working on the breathing), breaststroke (I apparently do a weird dolphin kick before going into each stroke cycle), and elementary backstroke, but I do not have the endurance to do laps in the 25M pool and I do not trust myself in the deep end even though I know how to handle myself if need be. (Is that a paradox?) The good thing about the pool is that 75% of the length is in the shallow end.

    My question is this - Knowing that I want to only do laps in the shallow end, how can I effectively integrate myself if there are lap swimmers in action? Scenario-related questions -

    a) Suppose every lane has one swimmer each and I want to jump in. What would you suggest?

    b) Suppose there are only 2 or 3 lanes available and all are active? Do I try to jump in?

    In other words, what etiquette should I keep in mind? I do not want to get in the way of others. It is frustrating because in order to develop my proficiency, I need to practice, but how can I as someone who is still working on his skills? This is not an issue for me in the summer because I live in a building with a pool and I pay extra money for nighttime access, which almost guarantees the pool to myself.

    I contacted the pool director at the Y for feedback, but figured I would reach out to all of you.

    Thank you in advance!

    PS-And let's put it this way...If you guys can get me swimming, imagine what my body will look like over time! (Goals....dreams! LOL.)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 04, 2018 8:43 AM GMT
    Endurance to swim 25 meters?: take up running - you will build up your endurance a lot faster than thru swimming, and you can use the endurance in swimming.

    Fear of being in deep water? Learn how to float - it's amazing that you are swimming and don't know how to float. The water could be 1,000 feet deep, and you could still float on the surface even if you were exhausted.

    Reversing direction 3/4 of the way? Just do it. Other swimmers may think you odd, but so what?

    Etiquette? I'm amazed that your pool doesn't have posted instructions on lap swimming etiquette - most places do. Generally, get the attention of the other swimmer on the lane you are about to enter, and ask if it's OK to join ( or signal with your hand) He is going to nod a yes. You know, just be there for a while and learn how other swimmers do it when they join in another's lane - monkey see, monkey do.

    Experienced swimmers will swim by you with no problem, as long as you are careful not to have your arms or legs in their way at the moment they are passing you.

    Good luck
  • Ubeaut

    Posts: 224

    Jan 04, 2018 10:48 AM GMT
    Take up lessons, most public pools will have 'learn to swim' and 'stroke improvement' classes.
  • jock_n_ca

    Posts: 149

    Jan 04, 2018 9:35 PM GMT
    there are two options: circle swim or split the lane. just ask if you can split the lane. that way you stay on one side of the lane and stay out of the way. this only works though if there are two swimmers. if there are more you've got to circle swim. good luck.
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    Jan 04, 2018 11:42 PM GMT
    Thank you all. I appreciate it. To clarify, I have been (and will continue to) take lessons. I refuse to stop and my instructor knows that he can terminate the lessons once he is confident with my ability. (Neither of us want to do spend the rest of our lives figuring me out. LOL.)

  • interesting

    Posts: 816

    Jan 05, 2018 3:29 AM GMT
    So you're basically me when I started out. It's great that you have an instructor already.

    So for the pool etiquette of splitting lanes, the one thing that I hate and ABSOLUTELY HATE when people do this, and it's usually the older folks, is when they jump into my lane and start swimming immediately, without letting me know they are there. One time, I almost crashed into one because the ass did this and I had no idea someone was in my lane and it annoyed me to no ends, because I find it rude.

    At least some people do this, and I'm perfectly okay with this, they either get into the lane and stand to one side until I push off the wall a couple of times and notice them and move to one side, then they start swimming and we literally split the lane, only once did a guy swam so hard he hit my hand and made a small cut. Or, some people will hang their feet into the pool until I notice them and then they ask me to split the lane, which I never want to, but I have NEVER said no.

    What I usually do when I see all lanes are full, I wait, and usually not for long. But sometimes I'm on a schedule, I would ask someone to share their lane, and I don't remember anyone who ever refuses. What I do now to be more considerate, I would ask the person waiting for a lane if they want to share, and they would get in and we split it right in the middle using the line.

    And for the swimming, I would suggest using a pull buoy so you can avoid concentrating on your legs, and focus on the breathing. But if you learn how to tread water, then it shouldn't matter the depth of the pool, I had this issue also, but then I started to like the deep end once I knew how to swim.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 07, 2018 12:25 AM GMT
    interesting saidSo you're basically me when I started out. It's great that you have an instructor already.

    So for the pool etiquette of splitting lanes, the one thing that I hate and ABSOLUTELY HATE when people do this, and it's usually the older folks, is when they jump into my lane and start swimming immediately, without letting me know they are there. One time, I almost crashed into one because the ass did this and I had no idea someone was in my lane and it annoyed me to no ends, because I find it rude.

    At least some people do this, and I'm perfectly okay with this, they either get into the lane and stand to one side until I push off the wall a couple of times and notice them and move to one side, then they start swimming and we literally split the lane, only once did a guy swam so hard he hit my hand and made a small cut. Or, some people will hang their feet into the pool until I notice them and then they ask me to split the lane, which I never want to, but I have NEVER said no.

    What I usually do when I see all lanes are full, I wait, and usually not for long. But sometimes I'm on a schedule, I would ask someone to share their lane, and I don't remember anyone who ever refuses. What I do now to be more considerate, I would ask the person waiting for a lane if they want to share, and they would get in and we split it right in the middle using the line.

    And for the swimming, I would suggest using a pull buoy so you can avoid concentrating on your legs, and focus on the breathing. But if you learn how to tread water, then it shouldn't matter the depth of the pool, I had this issue also, but then I started to like the deep end once I knew how to swim.


    Totally agree with this. You can join a lane with others but make sure they know you're there before you start swimming. If there are only two of you you can split the lane but let the other swimmer see you're there before you start off ... he or she will usually choose a side so you can use the other side. If there are more than two and there is no circle pattern yet you have to get the others' attention and ask them to circle. I've never had anyone refuse as it's common practice when lap swimming. Good luck!
  • barefootlover

    Posts: 467

    Jan 07, 2018 12:59 AM GMT
    At our gym most are willing to share a lane, if they are all being used. I just ask and everyone is really nice. Swimming is my favorite activity right now in the winter, but also love the choregraphed RPM spin classes. It's just too cold to do anything else outdoors right now. But a big heat wave is coming this week with a 50 degree temperature change into the 40's. The little snow we have will melt and the shorts and flip flops will come out again and I will be definitely riding my bike outdoors again.
  • barefootlover

    Posts: 467

    Jan 07, 2018 1:09 AM GMT
    jock_n_ca saidthere are two options: circle swim or split the lane. just ask if you can split the lane. that way you stay on one side of the lane and stay out of the way. this only works though if there are two swimmers. if there are more you've got to circle swim. good luck.


    The only way you can do circle swim is if everyone swims at the same speed. Otherwise, I find it doesn't work so good. I swim too fast for most people's liking. lol
  • interesting

    Posts: 816

    Jan 08, 2018 12:21 AM GMT
    barefootlover said
    jock_n_ca saidthere are two options: circle swim or split the lane. just ask if you can split the lane. that way you stay on one side of the lane and stay out of the way. this only works though if there are two swimmers. if there are more you've got to circle swim. good luck.


    The only way you can do circle swim is if everyone swims at the same speed. Otherwise, I find it doesn't work so good. I swim too fast for most people's liking. lol


    But when there is three or more people, it only works if you circle swim, then the fast person can just go around the slow one. Otherwise, I can't see it working by splitting the lane.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 10, 2018 6:10 AM GMT
    I gave up lap swim (my style, unusual but it physically worked for me, was non-stop laps at a near-sprint for 50 minutes, giving people a wide berth while passing them so as not to swamp them) at the Y because the lanes were (un)regulated by lifeguards afraid of the senior citizens, particularly those seniors who'd swim in the intermediate lane because they didn't want to be perceived as slow and old. BUT THEY WERE. I remember one octogenarian in the intermediate lane who stood up and began, mid-lane, walking the lane without warning a half pool length ahead of me and the lifeguard let me backstroke right into him, and REFUSED to triage that senior into the slow lane. After I sent a written complaint to that Y's Aquatics Director she replied admonishing me to be less reckless - me, who was simply backstroking at a conventional speed. Perhaps given liability risks she'd been coached by counsel because clearly deflecting from inadequate lifeguard performance and unenforcement of posted facility policy was her strategy. I can't tell you how many times other swimmers, coming out of nowhere, traversing lanes, have struck me, never called out or redirected prior to impact, by the lifeguards.

    When I'd try to swim in the fast lane, I'd get trounced by master's swimmers (who'd sprint two minutes, then coffee klatch at the ends for five) who thought it was exclusively theirs. My theory was that they were advanced enough to swim around me; they thought otherwise. My choices were:

    1) be forced into a slow pace in the slow lane
    2) get into accidents in the free-for-all intermediate lane which everyone fast who didn't race against the clock were intimidated into using
    3) be threatened by master's swimmers (who stayed fat by the way while I dropped 80 lbs swimming) who'd hog the fast lanes

    Now I only lap swim at the underused pools at large corporate chains like LA and 24 Hour Fitness where I always get my own lane. I'll never swim at a Y again, but if you're a beginner and swim slowly stick to the slow lane keeping one eye open for the senile/self absorbed seniors, including those that refuse to circle swim because they prefer walking and talking side by side rather than single file.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 20, 2018 4:09 AM GMT
    The pools in Vancouver I swim at have lane markings -slow, medium, fast. You are advised to swim on the right side of the lane. If someone swims faster than me when I'm in the correct lane I expect them to move around me. The main aquatic pool has a speed guideline (x metres per minute) and anyone who dares get snippy at me because I'm only going "the speed limit" can expect a bitchy reply.

    Fortunately it is Vancouver so I've never actually encountered a problem like that. Only the babushkas who swim like tranquillized turtles when my preferred pool resorts to one lane to accommodate the teenage swimming teams.
  • ChicagoSteve

    Posts: 1555

    Jan 26, 2018 12:30 AM GMT
    At my health club pool everyone observes the split lane policy, never the circle swim. As someone said above, if all lanes are full when you come into the pool area, just ask someone if they would mind sharing. Most people will say ok. I swim at the same time every day, we who are regulars will automatically offer to share a lane with each other if it gets crowded.