How to Use Lap Swimming Etiquette

Written by ehow sports & fitness editor
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Many people swim laps as part of their daily exercise routine. There are rules of etiquette you should know before you begin swimming laps. Although the rules may vary slightly from pool to pool, lap swimming etiquette is all about letting each swimmer get the most value out of their swimming exercise.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Practice basic swimming pool etiquette. Take a shower before entering the pool. Tie your long hair back or wear a cap. Wear swimming apparel that fits well even when it's wet. Remember to go to the bathroom before you enter the pool. Never urinate in the pool.

  2. 2

    Read and understand the pool rules before you enter the water. If you have any questions, ask the pool manager rather than the lifeguard.

  3. 3

    Be sure you understand which lanes are for fast, medium and slow swimmers. If you plan on doing a swim stroke other than the crawl, find out if you can practice it in the swim lanes or if you need to do your lap swimming in another part of the swimming pool.

  4. 4

    Enter the swimming lane at the shallow end. Try to enter at a time that there are no other persons at that end of the lane. Once you are in the swimming lane, be aware of where the other lap swimmers in your lane are.

  5. 5

    Swim split laps if there is only you and another person in the lane. Swim down and back near the same ropes. Swim circles if more than three people are using the lane. Stay to the right side of the lane as you make the trip down and back the length of the swimming pool.

  6. 6

    Stop at the nearest end if someone needs to pass you. Squeeze into the corner nearest the ropes so he can get by you. To indicate you need to pass someone, gently tap him on the toes. Give him time to get to the end of the lane.

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