Lap Swimming Etiquette
Entering the Water
Always use a feet-first entry into shallow water. If the lane is crowded, always ease in, using a feet-first entry. You may dive into the pool only from the deep end and only if the pool is completely clear ahead of you.
Direction of Swimming
Just like on the road, stay to the right. Try to leave the middle of the lane open.
If a swimmer knows you are behind them and that you want to pass, the best place to pass is at the wall. A light touch on the foot can also signify this. If you pass in the middle of the lane, it should be between the backstroke flags, and you should pass on the inside or middle of the lane. Make sure the way is clear; you can lightly touch the foot of the swimmer in front of you to let them know that you are passing. This will signal the swimmer that you are passing to slow down a little and “hug the lane.”
Number of People in a Lane
Several people (as many as 8 or more), can fit in a lane if proper etiquette is observed and swimmers of like speed are together.
It is very important to swim in a lane with other swimmers of the same speed. The lanes progress with the side pool wall being the slowest and moving faster from there. Fast and slow are relative terms, so take some time to observe the swimmers in the pool and take your best guess as to where you should swim.
If you are resting on the wall, stay to the right side of the lane to stay away from the swimmers coming in. Stopping in the middle of the pool should be avoided. If the lane is crowded and one person stops, all will have to stop. Be aware of the swimmers around you.
The Diplomacy of Shared Space
If someone makes a suggestion concerning any of the mentioned etiquette topics, try to make adjustments in the spirit of cooperation. If you make a suggestion to another swimmer, try to do it as diplomatically as possible. Lifeguards will intercede only if there is a problem that cannot be resolved or if there appears to be a safety concern.