View Full Version : Lane N or Lane N-1?

July 2nd, 2008, 01:01 PM
I'm new here, but I thought about this question the other day, and figured this was as good a place to post it as any, so here it goes:

Which do you prefer (and why), given the following scenario?

In lane N, you can pretty much lead all of the sets and "set the pace" for the lane in the workouts with your masters club. Are you more likely to stay in this lane or try to move to the next lane (N-1 in my pool), and try to "hang on" there at the end of the lane?

I'm sort of looking at this right now -- I can pretty much lead my lane, but I have been trying hard to work up the nerve to jump into lane 1 in my pool. I think the difference is that most of the Lane 2 types like me were last really competitive in high school, whereas the Lane 1 types are mostly former collegiate swimmers (one of them is actually going to China for American Samoa, I think). I swam a little in college, but only on my own. I'm back in it now after more than 15 years, and I'm starting to make some progress...



July 2nd, 2008, 01:45 PM
N-1, step it up.

Jazz Hands
July 2nd, 2008, 01:54 PM
I try to swim in Lane X, the one with nobody else in it.

When I swim with my team, I like to go last in the fast lane, and just hang out. I go to the front if I want to swim really fast on a particular set or repeat.

July 2nd, 2008, 02:02 PM
I have two reasons for not moving up a lane:
1) I prefer to swim faster on a longer interval
2) I find it easier to swim fly from the front of the lane

When people from my lane try going up a lane they usually end up swimming with very little rest which is ok if aerobic endurance is your only goal but is not as good for developing speed.

Our workouts aren't differentiated by distance/sprint and the people one lane up are generally endurance oriented. In a slower lane I don't have to argue with people who believe that recovery time between intervals is basically wasted time.

As Rich observed with masters generally I find our club tends to swim the slow sets too fast and the fast sets too slow. I can beat most of the people one lane up in a 50 but they beat me in a 200 and destroy me in a 400. Right now I am more interested in learning to swim faster.

July 2nd, 2008, 02:14 PM
N-1, step it up.

I've got to agree with the Geek here. As a relatively new swimmer, moving up a lane means that I'm getting better, both mechanically and aerobically. It also means that I have to really concentrate on proper stroke to even make the faster intervals.
The people in the fast lane are still far superior to me, as I cannot keep up with them for even a 25!:drown:

July 2nd, 2008, 03:23 PM
Starting about a year ago, I vowed that whenever I could move "up" a lane without making those people slow down their intervals so that I could keep up, and without crowding them, I would do it. On short-rest sets, I wanted to push myself to a faster pace and shorter rest, and the people I was leading didn't, or couldn't. On medium- or long-rest sets, my lane and the next lane "up" would use the same interval anyway.

It seems to have worked.

July 2nd, 2008, 04:05 PM
Moving up a lane is always a difficult choice. If it was up to me I'd still be in the Medium lane every day. But the coach won't let me. Luckily in our workouts most of the time we have two fast lanes and I try to head to the slower one. I can make the intervals in the faster lane but I'm just more comfortable with the little bit of extra rest.

Now as for you wanting to lead due to butterfly I feel you pain but sorry that is a poor excuse. Suck it up and do some one arm butterfly when someone is passing the other way.

If you are in the slower lane and you are catching up to the last person in your lane or the distance between you and the 2nd person is pretty large on consistent basis it's time to move up. Just as long as you can do the the intervals without sitting out part of the workout to get rest. You won't be doing yourself any favors if you do that.

And you can always slowly move up the lane. If one night the turnout is lower in the fast lane move on up for the night. You can always move back for the next workout or for those workouts you want to do more fly.

July 2nd, 2008, 04:14 PM
There are two things that can really ruin the enjoyment of a workout, to me anyway. First, some dipweed who can't bring themselves to leave 5 or 10 seconds behind. 3 seconds is not 5 seconds, nor is 7 seconds 10 seconds. This is by far my biggest peeve in group swims.

Second, being in the wrong lane for your abilities, either too fast or slow. It disrupts everyone in your lane, even if you go last. I think you should challenge yourself to step up but not to the detriment of your lane mates.

July 2nd, 2008, 04:39 PM
This is an awesome thread!

My sister laughs when she visits me. On our team, no one wants to move down! There could be 10 people in lane N, but no way no how is anyone willing to move down to N-1! There are sometimes people who should be in N-2 but will use every equipment and skip parts of sets just to stay in N.

I'm an N-1 swimmer and try to get our intervals with N-2.

July 2nd, 2008, 04:40 PM
Oops, got it backwards. Just reverse the N, N-1, and N-2, heehee!

July 2nd, 2008, 04:52 PM
This is an awesome thread!

I'm really enjoying the responses here, as well.

I hadn't considered switching lanes during a workout, mostly because once the lanes are populated after the warmup, it seems that each lane gets into a rhythm, and I would feel like I might disrupt that (at least in the pools I've been swimming in lately). In our N lane, we sometimes trade the lead off depending on the set and who is "feeling it" during the workout, so no one person is under too much pressure to keep track of intervals and the clock for too long.

I'm also a little less hardcore about my training than some other folks (I'm looking at you guys in N-1...), although I can feel my "Type A-ness" starting to creep back into my approach to swimming -- I need to be careful as I don't want to burn myself out and take the enjoyment out now that I'm really starting to have fun being back in the pool.


July 2nd, 2008, 05:09 PM
I often prefer to be next to fast people rather than behind them so I can peek at technique and race a bit. Every now and then we'll spread everyone evenly across a few lanes so the distribution is horizontal rather than vertical.

July 2nd, 2008, 05:19 PM
We can mix and match at our group, well at least I chose too.
I did the 900 drills and warm up then switched to the "hard" lane for the 2x 900 set.
It's good to push yourself.

July 2nd, 2008, 05:38 PM
Now as for you wanting to lead due to butterfly I feel you pain but sorry that is a poor excuse. Suck it up and do some one arm butterfly when someone is passing the other way.

... You can always move back for the next workout or for those workouts you want to do more fly.

The reason I like to be at the front of the lane when swimming fly is more about flat water than collisions. We only have two lane lines for six lanes so we can develop a lot of chop and one of my main objectives is to stay low to the water on fly. If I'm swimming through waves I have to either come higher out of the water or deal with choking on water a lot. And I always want to do more fly so...

Another rationalization for staying in the slower lane is that I'm still on the steep part of the learning curve and am concentrating on technique while the swimmers a lane up all swam age group and are more into conditioning than technique work.