Understanding and following lap pool etiquette are essential if you’re going to make the most of using a lap pool and ensure everyone else enjoys their swim.
Here is a look at some of the most important unspoken rules or basic etiquette you should follow when sharing a lap pool with others.
Lap Pool Etiquette
1. Take a Quick Shower Before Entering the Lap Pool
This simple step helps to keep the pool water clean and ensures that you’re starting your swim with a clean body.
There’s nothing worse than getting into a lap pool and realizing that the person before you didn’t shower first!
Lap pools are for swimming, not bathing, so make sure to rinse off before you get in.
Related – Learn more about swimming pool shower etiquette here.
2. Always Choose an Empty Lane if There Is One
If you see an empty lane, always choose it over a lane that already has someone swimming in it.
This helps to keep the Lap Pool organized and makes it easier for everyone to swim laps without having to worry about getting in each other’s way.
Of course, if you’re swimming with a friend or partner, you can choose to swim in the same lane together.
3. If There Isn’t an Empty Lane Make Sure the Swimmer Knows You’re Sharing Their Lane
If you need to share a lane with another swimmer, make sure they are aware of your presence before getting into the water.
Lap pool lanes are typically very narrow, so it’s important to be respectful of the other person’s space and not splash them or get in their way while they’re swimming.
Just make eye contact or give them a hand signal to let them know you’re entering that lane, that way it’ll not surprise them when they see you in the water.
4. Be Mindful About Giving Other Swimmers Enough Space
Lap lanes aren’t designed to be wide enough for more than one person to swim freely, you need to be mindful of space when sharing a lane.
This means not swimming too close to the other person, especially if they are going faster than you.
It’s also important to be aware of your strokes and make sure you’re not kicking or splashing the person swimming next to you.
Lap pool etiquette is all about being respectful of the other people using the pool and making sure everyone is able to enjoy their swim.
5. If There Are Three of You in A Lane Swim in A Circle
If you find yourself in a lane with two other swimmers, the best thing to do is to swim in a circle.
This helps to keep everyone moving and prevents anyone from feeling like they’re in the way.
It’s also a good idea to switch up who is swimming in the middle if you find you’re always waiting on someone.
6. Don’t Push Off the Wall when Near Other Swimmers
When you’re coming up to the wall to push off, be mindful of the other swimmers around you.
Don’t push off too hard or too close to them, as this may result in you crashing into them or causing a ripple of water that puts them off their stride.
7. If You Take a Rest Get out Of the Way of Other Swimmers
If you need to take a rest, make sure you do so at the end of the lane where you won’t be in the way of other swimmers.
It’s also a good idea sometimes to signal to the other swimmers in your lane that you’re taking a break, so they know they can get their heads down for a while and focus on swimming.
8. Don’t Try and Make Small Talk with Other Swimmers
Most swimmers use a lap pool because they’re serious about improving on their times and fine-tuning their techniques.
This means that they’re not usually in the mood for small talk, so it’s best to just focus on your own swim and not try and engage the other swimmers in conversation.
Of course, if someone strikes up a conversation with you then feel free to chat, but it’s good etiquette not to be the one to initiate it.
9. It’s Polite to Tap the Foot of A Swimmer You Want to Pass
If you want to pass another swimmer, it’s polite to give them a tap on the foot as you go by.
This is a way of signaling to them that you’re there and that they should move over slightly so you can pass.
It’s also a good idea to do this if someone is swimming in your blind spot, as you don’t want to cause an accident by swimming into them.
Related – More on gym shower and German sauna etiquette in these posts.
10. Always Enter and Leave a Lane from The Ends
For safety reasons, it’s always a good idea to enter and leave a lane from the end.
This way you won’t have to worry about swimming into oncoming traffic and you can also take a moment to rest at the end of the lane before starting again.
That’s about it for etiquette, if I were to add to this list I’d say two things; be aware of any specific rules for the lap pool you’re using – and always be nice and considerate to everyone you encounter!
Swimming is supposed to be a relaxing and enjoyable experience, so let’s make sure we all help to keep it that way.
Header Photo by Jonathan Chng on Unsplash
I’m a MA, (CMT) Certified Massage Therapist, Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and Reiki Master — I’m a licensed massage therapist with over 10 years of experience in the industry.