Swimming etiquette 101

Posted by James Greenwood | 2:15 PM | , | View Comments


I swim with a Masters Squad 3 times a week, when you have 100 swimmers, sharing 8 lanes in a 50m pool, things can get pretty crazy at times, but for the most part, things run very smoothly.

Athletes generally do what they are told, they follow the program and the session guidelines, and instead of wasting energy complaining or get angry, they tend to get on with the job at hand.

Occasionally though, this equilibrium gets a little warped by the arrival of a new comer, or an individual moving from a slower lane to a faster lane.

Each lane does things a little differently, and there is potential for frustration to develop.

This leads me to a few "GUIDELINES" I have come up with during my hours in the water over the last few sessions. I do not see them as laws, but rather un-spoken rules, that if we all abide by, will make the 5am Masters session a little easier to get through.
  1. Get to the pool on time , and get into the water on time.
  2. If you are for some reason late, do not start with the warm up - ask where the lane is in the session and start there.
  3. Follow the set - if you do not like what is given for the session, get out and come back later and do your own session - but don't mess up the rest of the lanes training.
  4. If a time is given for the repetition (example: 6 X 100m on the 1:50), then stick to it. Even if you only get 7 seconds of recovery, stick to it..
  5. Allow for a gap - generally a 3-4 second count allows more than enough of a gap between swimmers.
  6. If your feet get touched by the swimmer behind you, allow that swimmer to pass at the end of that length.
  7. If a swimmer stops to allow another to pass at the end of length, do not advantage of the situation and muscles ahead of them - allow them back into the lane.
  8. If you are being overtaken, do not accelerate - there is a reason why you are being overtaken - deal with it!
  9. If you are slow for a certain component of the session (I suck at kicking), allow faster kickers to go ahead of you - hopefully they reciprocate when you are kicking their butts in pulling.
  10. If you feel like complaining that the lane is not swimming fast enough, and for example, bottlenecks are occurring - go to front and set the pace yourself - actions speak louder than words.
  11. Finally, if you take a washroom break, slot back into the same position you were in when you exited the water.
Do you have any other "Guidelines" - I would love to hear them.

The swimming lane is a very fragile Eco-System - easily disrupted, so treat it and its creatures with the respect it deserves.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at MyPypeline.com, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.
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