Swim Etiquette: How to share a lane 

While swimming can be a fun activity, it’s important to know swim etiquette and, more importantly, how to share a lane with others. A swimming pool is only so big, so it is inevitable that you will be sharing a lane with others at some point. 

Like anything in life, there are unwritten rules surrounding swimming pools and what the proper ‘etiquette’ is. 

Follow our steps to sharing a lane and never making a swimming faux pas again. 

Step 1: Identify the Lane

Each swimming pool has its own set of rules and regulations, so it’s important to keep an eye out for any sign that may be near a lane that suggests it’s reserved for either children learning how to swim or if a team is training you may see a sign telling you that lane is off limits. It is wise to heed these signs as they are put there by the staff in the swimming pool. 

If there is an open lane, then you can dive right in and skip right to step four. If there are no completely free lanes, then it is on to step two! 

Step 2: Enter the Shared Lane 

It can feel awkward trying to share a lane with someone, but it is very common, which is why lanes tend to be large. 

The best way to enter a shared lane is to climb into the lane you are looking to join and wait until the person you are joining acknowledges you. This can take a few lengths, as they could be doing flip turns or an exercise that can’t be stopped mid-way. 

You should never touch another swimmer to get their attention, especially their feet. Once you have their attention, you can come to a decision on what way you want to divide the lane. 

Step 3: Divide the Lane 

The most popular way swimmers divide the lane is by splitting it in half. 

Splitting means that one swimmer will take one side while the other takes the other side. This way, you can swim up and down without having to overtake each other. 

If there are three or more swimmers, the best way to divide the lane is by circle swim. 

Some tips to keep in mind when circle swimming are: 

  • Move out of the swimming path if you need to rest to keep the flow right.
  • Wait for a gap to rejoin when you are finished with your break. 
  • Passing other swimmers is completely fine to do there is no need to slow down.
  • There is no need to touch the swimmer ahead of you if you are passing, just leave enough room and do so as quickly as possible.
  • There is no need to feel self-conscious if you are slower than other swimmers.

Step 4: Enjoy your swim

The last step is the easiest. Just enjoy your swim! This guide is to give you the basics of sharing a lane and general swim etiquette. Following these tips will make it a more enjoyable swim for everyone. 


So, find your local swimming pool and put those tips into practice today!


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