Know Your, and Our, Lap Swim Etiquette

Between our 50-meter pool and our 20-yard warm water lap pool, Holland Aquatic Center offers up to 28 lanes for our members and guests to get in their swimming workout each day. (See our schedule of lap swim hours.) And with the opening of the new 25-yard lap swim pool this September, an additional five lanes will be available at HAC. 

Yet, there are still occasions when we have more swimmers than open lanes available, even though options for lap swimming can be plentiful. 

So, what should you do if you find all lap lanes in use when you arrive for your workout? No worries: you still can lap swim, of course, but you may have to share a lane. Though we realize this is not the optimal choice for some, lane sharing allows for many swimmers to use our pools at peak times. In so doing, all in our community can find their fit at HAC. 

Guidelines are helpful when it comes time to share a lane. Here then are some suggestions for lane-sharing etiquette provided by The Aquatic Council

So, what should you do if you find all lap lanes in use when you arrive for your workout?

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Starting Your Swim

Let’s face it, joining someone else while they are mid-workout is not an easy thing to do, especially when they have their head underwater. Here are some guidelines for joining a lap lane. 

  • Take Your Pick – If there is a free lane, take it. If not, pick a lane with a similar lap swimmer or consult the lifeguard for a recommendation on whose lane you should join. 
  • Patience is a Virtue – Sit on the wall with your feet on the gutter and wait for the other swimmer to take a break. Most swimmers will stop and welcome you into the lane. 
  • No Forced Entry – Drop into the lane while your fellow swimmer is resting, or away from the wall. In other words, do not jump in on top of a swimmer mid-flip turn. 
  • Failure to Yield – If your lap lane partner does not stop, do not take it as a personal jab – they are probably mid-set. Follow the above guidelines to enter the lane. You are now free to start your workout. 

Lap Sharing Logistics

Now that you have joined the lane, remember that you are going to be working out with someone. Some basic considerations should be given to support your peaceful coexistence. 

  • One – Got the lap lane to yourself? That’s great. Now remember, welcome someone who decides to join you. 
  • Two – Pairing up? You have two options. Split the lane down the middle or begin to circle swim. Discuss this with your fellow lapper. 
  • Three and Over – With three or more swimmers, it is time to circle swim. Avoid standing on the “T” when resting and stick close to the lane line so everyone can work their turns properly. 

The Finishing Touches

Now that you have established protocols for entering the pool and using the lane, you have proactively reduced most of the issues associated with lap sharing. Here are just a few more things you may want to consider. 

  • The Butterfly Effect – Making huge waves may have a negative impact on other people’s workouts. Communicate with the other swimmers sharing your lane before doing anything that will send them off course. 
  • Hall Pass – Need to pass the swimmer ahead of you? That’s simple. A light tap on the toes is the international symbol that you are ready to pass. 
  • Here to Help? – The lifeguard on duty is not a pool concierge. Lifeguards can make suggestions on which lane to pick, but their primary responsibility is to ensure everyone’s safety, not to count your laps. 
  • Not So Fast – Water walking, aqua jogging and slow swimming can all be great workouts but should be done only in designated areas. 
  • The Waiting Game – You’re welcome to wait for a lap lane to open so that you can have it all to yourself, but there is no guarantee it will stay that way. Always be courteous to other swimmers looking to share your lane.