Health & Recreation Complex

Lap Swimming Etiquette

Entering the Water

Always use a feet-first entry into shallow water.  If the lane is crowded, always ease in, using a feet-first entry.  You may dive into the pool from the deep end, but only if the pool is completely clear in front of you.

Circle Swimming

Just like driving a car, you swim on the right side of the lane in a counter-clockwise pattern, keeping the middle of the lane open.


The best place to pass someone is at the wall.  A light touch of the foot of the person in front of you will indicate to them to stop at the wall and let you pass. If you pass in the middle of the pool, it should be between the backstroke flags, and you should pass in the inside or middle of the lane.  Make sure the way is clear, you can also lightly touch the person's foot to indicate you will be passing them and they should 'hug the lane.'

If you are the person being passed, please stop at the wall to let them pass.  It is best to stop and go to the right corner of the lane, then they can pass you on the left.  If they are passing you in the middle of the pool, just swim as close as you can to the lane line and slow down a bit to allow them room and time to pass.

Number of People in a Lane

Several people (as many as 6 or more) can fit in a lane if proper etiquette is observed and swimmers of like speed are together.

Lane Speed

The lanes are designated Fast, Medium, and Slow. These terms are relative, so the best way to find the lane that is best for you, is to watch those that are swimming. If you are the first one in the lane, just abide by circle swimming so others may join you. If you aren't sure what lane, ask a lifeguard for some assistance. Swimming in the same lane with people at your same pace could help you swim better and have a better workout. You might even meet a new person to swim with.


If you are resting on the wall, stay to the right side of the lane to stay away from swimmers coming in.  Stopping in the middle of the pool should be avoided.  If the lane is crowded and one person stops, all will have to stop.  Be aware of the swimmers around you at all times.

The Diplomacy of Shared Space

If someone makes a suggestion concerning any of the mentioned etiquette topics, try to make adjustments in the spirit of cooperation.  If you make a suggestion to another swimmer, try to do it as diplomatically as possible.  Lifeguards will intercede only if there is a problem that cannot be resolved or if there appears to be a safety concern.