Lane Etiquette for Masters Training

Nov 23, 2008
Lane Etiquette for Masters Training

Whenever you share a lane with someone, there are certain rules that you need to follow. Lane etiquette is important to keep good friends from knocking each other’s goggles off, bashing heads, or twisting their arms off at the shoulder socket. Lane etiquette helps practice run more smoothly. It helps you swim better, and it makes Coach happy. Here are some rules of the road:

1.  Learn the names of the swimmers in your lane.

2.  Know (or ask) the speed of the people in your lane so you can get the right order in your lane (fastest to slowest).

3.  Circle swim.  (If you are sharing the lane with only one other swimmer, you can each "split the lane," which means each of you stays on your own side of the lane.)  When circle swimming, stay to the right side of the lane. When swimming butterfly, be aware of others in your lane. It's a good idea to switch to single-arm fly when you're passing someone coming the other way, especially if they’re also swimming fly.

4.  Don't stop in the middle of a length! Keep going to the end of the pool, move immediately to the far right and let others pass you. Push off AFTER they have finished their pushoff.

5.  If you want to pass, be patient. Don't swim over top of the person, or try to speed around them. You could injure yourself or someone coming the other way. When you want to pass, gently tap or tag the toes of the person in front. This is the sign that they should stop at the end of the length and let you pass.

6.  Don't tailgate! Wait at least 5 seconds before you push off behind someone. Then, if you catch the swimmer ahead of you, tap their feet and go ahead of them at the end of the length. It's annoying if you stay right at their feet and don't signal to pass. Or, worse yet, you keep hitting their feet every time you take a stroke. If you're always catching the person in front of you, either go ahead of them on the next swim or leave 10 seconds apart.

7.  Turn in the center of the lane. Just before you reach the wall, IF THERE'S ROOM, you can move to the center of the lane to do your turn, but make sure you push off along the right-hand side of the lane. Don't push off in the middle of the lane. Start and finish each swim at the wall. . If you finish by stopping two yards from the wall, you prevent the people BEHIND you from finishing at the wall. Also, chances are good that you'll lose a lot of races. Swim races are won and lost by hundredths of a second. Practice a strong finish... right to the wall... every time you swim, and strong, fast finishes will be automatic when you race.

8.  Be aware!
*  Always be aware of where others are in your lane.
*  Anticipate when they will catch you, and pull over 
*  Don't push off right in front of someone about to turn, if they are faster.
*  Let your lane-mates finish every swim at the wall. Even if you have 8 people in your lane, the last person has the same rights as the first. Everyone should be able to finish at the wall and finish strong. So move to the left and get out of the way after you finish!

9.  Learn to read the pace clock. Know both your time and the interval. (Check out the article "Pace Clock 101")

10.  Stay on the interval and help others stay on the interval.

11.  Don't change the interval without conferring with your lane mates.

12.  The slowest person in the lane should be able to make the interval with some rest.

13.  Count your laps and stop at the appropriate number.

14.  If you're leading your lane, you have responsibilities!
*  Have goggles on and be ready to push off when coach says,"Ready, GO!"
*  Know the sendoff. Keep track of how many laps you've done and how many repeats you've done.
*  Get everyone involved in keeping track.
*  Make sure everyone in your lane has a chance to finish at the wall.
*  Make sure everyone in your lane can make the interval with some rest.
*  Set an example... encourage your lane mates... be a leader.

15.  If you are unable to do a particular skill, do a drill or swim that's about the same speed.

16.  Brush your teeth before practice and don't breathe on people when resting at the wall.   Especially important after garlic pizza!

Advanced Etiquette
 Encourage your teammates at practice.

2.  Count strokes when asked. Descend swims when asked.

3.  Go easy when asked.

4.  Negative split your swims when asked.

5.  Even split your swims when not given special instructions.

6.  Start, turn, and finish with LEGAL pushoffs and touches.

7.  Finish all swims at the wall with an underwater touch (on your side for free and back; two-handed for fly and breast).

8.  Bring a positive attitude with you to the pool.

It may seem that life was a lot simpler when you were just swimming laps on your own, but there are HUGE advantages to practicing with a team, so it’s worth all the effort it takes to learn the lingo and master the basics. Your coach and teammates (and that darn pace clock) will push you toward being a faster, stronger, more competent swimmer. You'll make tons of friends who will encourage you and keep you headed toward your goals. And your new math skills will astound you. Just be patient and stick with it.

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