Seeing as I managed to get myself hurt due to improper lane etiquette, I figured I should outline the unspoken rules when it comes to swimming in a lane. As a side note, many are just minor inconveniences to others, but they are all still important to keep in mind. Also, each team has its own unspoken rules that may add on to this, I am just listing out the main ones you should follow when swimming in a lane with others (i.e. open warmups and the warm-down pool).
- DO NOT PULL ON A PERSON’S FOOT. I cannot stress this enough. It’s rude and annoying. Literally if you can catch up to a person, you can pass them.
- Disregard this rule if after repeatedly (and I’m talking at least 10 times) do not let you pass when you ask or speed up when you try to pass. They’re being a jerk so you at that point cannot let someone else hold you back because of their pride.
- If someone catches up to you and you are actually going slower than them (as in they did not leave 1 second after you) LET THEM PASS.
- Do not pass someone and then slow down. That’s just plain annoying.
- If you are being lapped, do not make it unnecessarily hard to be passed. It’s not their fault they happen to be going faster than you. Maybe you should have picked another lane. But whatever the circumstances, make it as easy as possible to be passed.
- Leave FIVE seconds apart. Unless you have a lane with 7 people and the person going first is totally capable of lapping anyone within 150 yards. Or any other extreme like that. You get the idea. Leave 5 seconds apart unless it is agreed upon and necessary to do otherwise.
- If you see a person doing butterfly, stay on the far side of the lane so you can give them room.
- If your in the middle of some kind of butterfly/IM set where people are doing fly both ways, make sure you look. If a person is coming up from an underwater, they are not going to be able to see you and you should be the one to dive under to avoid hitting their arm. And if you recognize you might hit someone’s arm, you both should attempt to avoid hitting each other, do not rely on the other person to do it because that’s when you both end up screwing up your wrists. And for the love of God, swim in your lane on your side. Especially do not swim so your arm is sticking out really far into the lane next to you. That’s just rude and you won’t see another person coming until it is too late.
- Do not insist on someone who is clearly going to go slower than you to go in front of you, and then pass them within the first few seconds of the set. Seriously, you knew you were going faster than them. If you guys are around the same speed that’s a different story, or if you are feeling really bad and know you are going to be slower. But do not force someone to go in front of you despite their protests just to pass them.
- Do not cut in front of someone. Specifically in open warm-ups. Unless their kicking/sculling slowly when you are about to sprint and that is the only marginal opening, you are just being annoying and forcing them to stop what they’re doing so they don’t swim on top of you.
- If your or someone else if switching strokes, and they are going to be faster than you or you slower than them, rearrange yourselves so you are not all over each other. It just saves a lot of hassle and annoyance.