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Lui
September 19th, 2009, 11:52 AM
In Great Britain most pools have three lanes: fast lane(for free style), medium lane and slow lane.
Here in Germany pools aren't divided at all. People just swim anyway and anywhere they want to which makes it impossible to do proper work outs.

I had to join a private gym with a pool in order to do my work outs because public pools are a drag in Germany.
How are most public pools in the US? Do they all have a fast, medium and slow lane or does it depend?

frankiej
September 19th, 2009, 12:02 PM
All the pools I've swam at range from 2-6 lanes. There are no labels as to which is a fast or slow lane. I think people just kinda figure out if they are in a mismatched lane. The pool I swim at when I'm home has two or three lanes in the middle and free swim around them. Sometimes the free swimmers get in the lanes and cause problems but it's not that big of a deal.

If I share a lane with someone I usually watch for a bit and see who is near my skill level and ask if I can join them. However, If someone joins me I always welcome them no matter how slow or fast. It's all about being considerate to me. If they cant swim well we just split a lane, if they can swim well we circle.

Of course, this is just speaking from the 3-4 pools I've been in (Upstate NY).

pwb
September 19th, 2009, 12:40 PM
Highly variable is my experience in the US ... but, having swum a few times in the UK (~10 swims in 3 or 4 pools in the greater London area), the public or shared pools I get to in the US are always significantly less crowded so it doesn't seem to be as much of an issue. What I have noticed, though, is that at many "gym" / sports club pools in the US, people generally don't seem to know how to or have a desire to circle swim ... so you'll find 6 lanes with 12 people swimming side-by-side and a handful of people waiting on the deck for a lane to "free up." In the UK, Canada, Japan and Australia (I think the only other countries I've done some training in), there doesn't seem to be this problem.

nyswimmer
September 19th, 2009, 01:20 PM
As the other posters have said it depends on the pool and it varies greatly.

My pool has eight lanes, labeled "fast" "medium" and "slow" and requires circle swimming at all times -- and strictly enforces the policy (people who don't comply are asked to leave). But while my pool was closed for two weeks maintenance, I swam at another pool that didn't seem to have any policy at all.

geminidragonizer
September 19th, 2009, 01:21 PM
What I have noticed, though, is that at many "gym" / sports club pools in the US, people generally don't seem to know how to or have a desire to circle swim ... so you'll find 6 lanes with 12 people swimming side-by-side and a handful of people waiting on the deck for a lane to "free up."

That's absolutely true at my gym. Most people who swim at 24hr Fitness aren't necessarily training, so you'll see a lot of people swimming their leisurely breaststroke and some people swimming freestyle. Since the lanes aren't assigned by speed, it usually ends up that 2 people will split one lane. It's impossible to swim 3+ if the rest of the people are swimming slow, so waiting on the deck is the only option.

But I think your question was about public pools. In my experience swimmers usually sort themselves out by speed. Most decent swimmers won't jump into quick lanes for fear of holding up the lane. That's how it was when I swam at the UC San Diego campus, if that's what you call a public pool.

__steve__
September 19th, 2009, 03:12 PM
Here in Germany pools aren't divided at all. People just swim anyway and anywhere they want to which makes it impossible to do proper work outs.



Funny you asked, several months back I went to a awsome LCM pool in Keiserstautern, Germany. It was a real challenge swimming laps because swimmers would randomly fall off the wall to breaststroke to the other side and wait. No ropes. But for the number of simmers in the pool and the lack of chaos I was very surprised, must be autobahn training. That number of people in a pool in the states would be nut's.

Lui
September 19th, 2009, 03:48 PM
Funny you asked, several months back I went to a awsome LCM pool in Keiserstautern, Germany. It was a real challenge swimming laps because swimmers would randomly fall off the wall to breaststroke to the other side and wait. No ropes. But for the number of simmers in the pool and the lack of chaos I was very surprised, must be autobahn training. That number of people in a pool in the states would be nut's.

It's a different story if you train 5 days a week and there are no ropes. You can basically forget your training if there are too many people. I always pick the side of the pool if I can but I always have to be aware that no one heads my way from the other side of the pool.
The explanation I get for the lack of ropes is that most people aren't competitive swimmers and they can't put up ropes just for the few people who swim laps.:confused:

nkfrench
September 19th, 2009, 07:23 PM
The health club where I sometimes swim has relatively narrow lanes and there is no lifeguard nor posted policy other than that during the Aqua Noodle class no other pool use is allowed. The pool isn't heavily used and most who attempt some form of lap swimming are very slow, stop a lot, and will not/cannot share a lane. There are also some pool users (kids, usually) who don't understand why the pool is divided into lanes so they get in the way while horsing around.

Another health club pool dealt with the issue by posting signs "15 Minutes Only" for each lane. So you could have the lane to yourself; but if somebody else wanted to get in and your 15 minutes were up, you had to quit. Usually if I spotted a competant swimmer who wanted to work out, I would ask to split a lane with them. So he got an extra 15 minutes and I didn't have to wait to get in. I ditched that membership as soon as a better situation arose.

Ripple
September 19th, 2009, 08:04 PM
I...You can basically forget your training if there are too many people...
The explanation I get for the lack of ropes is that most people aren't competitive swimmers and they can't put up ropes just for the few people who swim laps.:confused:
Could you persuade them to rope off just one lane? I swam at a pool in Munich that had just the one lane, the rest of the pool was the confusing free-for-all that you describe. I ended up being the only one in the lane, as I wasn't running fast enough between the front door and the locker room when the pool opened. (Who knew that elderly Germans were so quick on their feet?)

Public pools here in Calgary are often divided into thirds and labeled fast, medium, slow. Two streams of swimmers go up the sides of each section and then both streams converge and swim down the middle going back.

3strokes
September 19th, 2009, 08:30 PM
Public pools here in Calgary are often divided into thirds and labeled fast, medium, slow.

Hi Rhoda
I guess Ottawa swimmers are faster than Calgarians (here we have: Fast, Medium Fast, Medium and FREE-anything-goes) or have bigger egos. :)

ehoch
September 19th, 2009, 09:24 PM
Oh Lui - as a German, I can truly say the German pools are just horrible for lap swimming.

I visit my parents every year and travel around quite a bit - but the pool near my parents house is the worst :

- 3 days out of the week they have "Warmbadetag" or warm bathing days, meaning 90 degrees ...
- no lane lines - ever
- a rope goes across to divide the deep end from the shallow end
- everybody is swimming all over the place going BREASTSTROKE, meaning very frequent kicks

I have actually talked to them - the pool is crowded and almost everybody is swimming laps - most of them for at least 30 minutes - they could fit 3 times as many people using lane lines.

It's so "un-German" - usually anything to make things more organized gets studied by eight different groups and then implemented with 18 different rules....

Lui
September 20th, 2009, 05:45 AM
Could you persuade them to rope off just one lane? I swam at a pool in Munich that had just the one lane

I used to do that and sometimes they actually put up a lane. The private pool of the gym I go to is actually 22 meters which is about 25 yards. It is half empty most of the time and although there are no lanes I always have space. Sometimes I'm the only one in the pool so I don't go to public pools anymore.


Oh Lui - as a German, I can truly say the German pools are just horrible for lap swimming.

It's so "un-German" - usually anything to make things more organized gets studied by eight different groups and then implemented with 18 different rules....

I don't get it either. I just lived in Bolivia for 5 years which is the poorest country of South America and the least organized(cars don't even stop at a red traffic light) but their pools were better organized than any pool in Germany.

notsofast
September 20th, 2009, 07:05 AM
In most towns I have lived in, PUBLIC pools are splasharound sites for kids. Sometimes there is a lane marked off for lap swimming, which gives the lifeguards an excuse for yelling at the kids to "stop hanging on the lane lines."
PRIVATE pools, like the YMCA or at a health club, generally have 4-8 lanes.

__steve__
September 20th, 2009, 09:02 AM
You are correct, an otherwise perfect pool for swimming laps becomes an obstacle course for a swimmer who wants to use the pool for actually swimming. If there were at least two ropes for the minority to train in, there would be no problem.

Interestingly, on a military base in Germany occupied by US, there is no such problem in the pools. At least currently.

orca1946
September 20th, 2009, 02:58 PM
Most have a few lanes for adult lap swimming.

Muppet
September 21st, 2009, 09:25 AM
Public pools here in Calgary are often divided into thirds and labeled fast, medium, slow. Two streams of swimmers go up the sides of each section and then both streams converge and swim down the middle going back.


I guess Ottawa swimmers are faster than Calgarians (here we have: Fast, Medium Fast, Medium and FREE-anything-goes) or have bigger egos. :)

Interesting comments about this kind of lane organization in Canadia... :canada: While I was up on Toronto, we (blue muppet and i) swam at the Etobicoke Olympium. For open swim, they had a milkcrate full of color-coded signs. The folks that get there first get to pick what speed and direction (clockwise vs. counterclockwise) their lane will be. I'm not sure how it works out in general, but it worked fairly well for us. I thought it was a wonderful idea and was the most sophisticated lane-speed system I've ever seen at a pool.

The problem with lane speeds is enforcement. If you're going to designate speeds, patrons need to be willing to accept that they may need to move - and the facility staff needs to support the staff members enforcing the speeds. I think that so many aquatic facilities are staffed by teenagers and patrons don't feel the need to follow direction from someone so young.