Wet and angry tends to not be a good look on anybody
Now that January is upon us, it is also time for the return of the Resolutionista. I’ve had my own run ins with them already this year, and so have a lot of my friends scattered all over the country. It’s a nationwide annual phenomena with no end in site.

If you’re wondering what a Resolutionista is, the Resolutionistas are a migratory people that move into gyms and pools around the 1st of January every year and generally disappear somewhere around mid February. I’m not saying the annual migration of the Resolutionitas is a bad thing… while they are a mild nuisance, it’s their monthly gym donations that help keep the pool heated and the lights on. Since they are an important part of our exercise ecosystem I think it’s important we learn to live with them and teach them our ways so that they can peacefully coexist with the rest of us until it is time for them to return to their regular lives. Who knows, with enough positive interaction they may leave the Resolutionistas join the rest of us in our aquatic pursuits.

Here I present to you, my Resolutionista friends, Rob D’s guide to pool etiquette… and for you grizzled veteran swimmers, this might be worth reading as a refresher for yourself as well!

The Prime Directive of Lap Swimming: Don’t Be a Dick

Although this should be a given, a lot people just don’t seem to get it. The little things go a long way… smile, don’t bother people that are concentrating real hard, stay out of the way, learn how to share a lane, you get the idea. The fun part about learning how this rule works is that you can apply it to all other activities within your regular life like eating in restaurants, going to movies, and standing in lines. It’s amazing where not being a dick can get you if you just try.

Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way

Often times when you lap swim you have to share your lane with strangers, play your cards right and you’ll be just fine. Many pools have lanes that are labeled fast, medium and slow… as a general rule these signs are completely disregarded by the general public, and yes the person aqua jogging in the “fast” lane is being a dick. The thing to do here is eyeball the people currently in the water, try to find a lane that is about your speed. If possible go there. If you’re in a situation where you have to swim with someone substantially faster than you are, do your best to not impede their workout. If you’re coming up on a wall and other swimmers are about to pass you, stop! Grab a piece of wall and let them turn. Once they’ve passed you can get back to swimming.

Sometimes it’s best to just STFU

Not every stranger you meet in the pool is going to want to talk to you. It’s nothing personal, but when your lanemate is huffing and puffing from a hard set there’s a good chance they’re not feeling chatty. If you want to make friends in the pool, go check out a local masters team… generally they’re open to swimming hard and then being social afterwards.

That line in the middle, don’t cross it

Circle swimming is like driving a car, stay to the right and you’ll be ok. That line on the bottom is only a navigational guide if you have the lane to yourself or if you’re racing. Nothing pisses off a swimming stranger more than trying to share a lane with someone who insists on swimming straight down the middle of the lane! Also, if you’re getting passed a lot, hang as far to the right as you possibly can to create enough space for people to pass you without having to go over the top of you.

So, if you follow my simple rules of lap swim etiquette I believe that anyone will be able to peacefully coexist with the local lap swimmer crowd. Who knows, you might even fit in so well that you decide to stay and join a masters group!

8 Responses to “Swim Etiquette for Lap Swimming Resolutionistas”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Rob, now I might avoid getting dunked by a furious avid swimmer!

  2. Rob D says:

    Glad I could help… In my personal experience 98% of swimmers are really nice, but if you get in the pool and do everything wrong that niceness seems to wear off :)

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great post Rob! :)

  4. Diana McCandless says:

    Funny! Yes, we owe a lot to Resolutionistas….otherwise, the math doesn’t work out. I can’t figure out how my Master’s swim team can stay afloat financially…There are about 12 of us on the team paying only $40 a month…this price covers a dedicated coach AND use of the facility.

  5. Glenn says:

    And did we have fun at the pool this morning? Absolutely hilarious. I just happened to swimming yesterday in a regular lap lane when I was joined by a guest in a bikini. Strangely enough, even though I was holding about 1:10′s (for 100′s) and she was holding about 1:00′s (for 50′s)… we coexisted just great. I think we both just kept to our sides, kept our eyes open, and not once did she push off right in front of me as I was turning. It’s incredible how different level swimmers can share space without interfering with each other if we just watch out for each other.

    This is still very funny. :)

  6. Susan says:

    Also, if someone is already swimming in a lane alone and you want to share, don’t just push off and start swimming. Wait at the wall so the swimmer can see you’re there and adjust accordingly. Saves the midlane smash-up.

  7. [...] Rob and Donal have already said what needs to be said about lap swimming etiquette – and with great style, I might add. [...]

  8. [...] be familiar with basic pool etiquette for lap swimming, which has been well covered by LoneSwimmer, Rob Aquatics, and Art [...]