Health & Recreation Complex

Lap Swimming Etiquette

Entering the Water

  • Shallow End
    • Enter the pool feet-first.
    • If it's busy, ease in.
  • Deep End
    • You may dive, 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. 
  • Keep the middle of the lane open.


  • At the wall (recommended)
    • Lightly touch the person's foot in front of you to indicate that you want to pass.
    • They will stop at the wall, allowing you to pass.
  • In the middle of the pool
    • Make sure the way is clear.
    • Pass on the inside or middle of the lane.
    • Lightly touch the person's foot to indicate that you want to pass. They should 'hug the lane.'
    • Only pass between the backstroke flags.  

Being Passed

  • At the Wall (recommended)
    • The swimmer behind you will touch your foot to indicate they want to pass. 
    • Stop at the right corner of the lane, so they can pass you on the left.  
  • In the middle of the pool
    • Slow down a bit.
    • Swim as close to the lane line as you can.
    • This allows them room and time to pass.

Number of People in a Lane

  • 6 or more swimmers can fit in a lane if proper etiquette is observed and swimmers of like speed are together.
  • See passing etiquette above.

Lane Speed

  • The lanes are designated Fast, Medium, and Slow. These terms are relative.
    • Find the best lane for you by watching the current swimmers.
    • If you're still unsure, ask a lifeguard for assistance. 
  • If you are the first one in the lane, abide by circle swimming so others may join you. 
  • Swimming in a lane with people at your pace often helps better swimmers' performance and workout. 


  • When resting on the wall, stay to the right side of the lane to stay away from swimmers coming in. 
  • Avoid stopping in the middle of the pool.  This causes lane back-up.
  • 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.