View Full Version : How far is a mile & Laps and Lengths Defined

LateBloomer

January 21st, 2015, 05:38 PM

Holy moly, I'm getting confused....

Like all of us, I learned early on that a mile is defined as 5280'. Simple math coverts 5280' to 1760 yards. But now I've read that a mile in the pool is 1500 meters, or about 1640 yards. :worms:

I swim at a pool that is 25 yards long, so is a mile 66 lengths (or 1650 yards) of a pool, or is it 70 lengths?

I've also heard folks referring to a lap as what I have always thought of as a length...again I swim at a pool that is 25 yards in length....so isn't a "lap" in this case 50 yards (down and back)?

Please set me straight!

:groovy:

Allen Stark

January 21st, 2015, 05:48 PM

A mile is 1760 yards,but 1500M and 1650 yd are the longest pool races so they are colloquially referred to as "a mile." So many people have confused lap with length that lap has come to mean length,except when it means 2 lengths.just talk about yards or meters instead of lengths or miles and everyone will know what you mean.

Jazz Hands

January 21st, 2015, 06:13 PM

Are you a runner or something? Swimmers don't count miles.

chowmi

January 21st, 2015, 06:44 PM

This is a very interesting thread! I didn't know a true mile measure was 5280' or 1760 yards, but now I do! Unfortunately, I feel extremely resentful that the Breckenridge Recreation Center counts a mile as 1800 yards. So by the time I make the "50 mile club" and finally get my name on the wall, does that mean I will have swum an additional 40 yards (1800-1760) x 50 miles = 2,000 yards? It should be the 51 Mile Plus Club!! And that's at high altitude!

Length vs. Lap: very good question and food for thought. From now on, when I say "length", I will use a big hand gesture as a line segment. Very pronounced one way only. For "lap", I will make a big line and then a quick jerky motion, and then retrace the same imaginary line backwards to show it is indeed a two way deal.

So here's on more: Do you say "yardage"? Because it could be you are swimming meters, but no one says meterage. Yardage just means how far did you go, in either yards or meters, but I have actually often answered in rounded miles. Depending on who's asking, and the dead giveaway are beginning questions like , Do you win?, are you fast, can you beat Missy Franklin, then you might want to answer in rounded miles when asked how far can you go. I would say something like, I usually swim 2 miles a workout.

Gary P

January 21st, 2015, 07:58 PM

The 1500M freestyle has been an international race since the 1908 Olympics. It was an obvious derivative of the standard running race of the same distance. While the US adopted the international standard of 50M for long course events in the early part of the 20th century, the 25yard pool was too ubiquitous to abandon so yards remained the standard for short course.

For some unknown reason, the 1500M was commonly contested at short course events, even when the rest of the events were swam in yards. That meant the finish line was a rope hung ~10 yards from the end of the pool. In 1963, the NCCA added the extra ~10 yards to the event for the championship so they would finish at the wall. Pretty soon the "1650" became the standard long distance event swam in 25 yard pools instead of the 1500M. Swimmers sometimes called it "the mile" because it was the closest event they had to a mile.

ForceDJ

January 22nd, 2015, 09:03 AM

Are you a runner or something? Swimmers don't count miles.

Open water swimmers do. And the distance of open water swims is always advertised in miles (or kilometers).

Dan

ande

January 22nd, 2015, 12:01 PM

people call the 1500 meter freestyle & the 1,650 yard freestyle "the mile"

but neither is technically a mile

5280 feet = 1760 yards = 70.4 lengths of a 25 yard pool

1 mile = 1609.3 meters = 64.372 lengths of a 25 meter pool = 32.186 lengths of a 50 meter pool

Since fractions are hard to measure while you're swimming, just round each up,

25 yard pool 71 lengths

25 meter pool 65 lengths

50 meter pool 33 lengths

There's also confusion with laps, some think of a lap as one length of a pool while others think of a lap as down and back.

To clear things up, talk about lengths or specific distances.

orca1946

January 22nd, 2015, 12:04 PM

I still hold that "lap" comes in from runners that start swimming. Born & raised swimmers have always called it lengths!

ForceDJ

January 22nd, 2015, 12:16 PM

"a lap" is something that you end where you began.

Dan

mmlr38

January 22nd, 2015, 12:23 PM

"a lap" is something that you end where you began.

Dan

That's how I've always understood it. Down and back in a pool is one lap.

A quick Google search shows that's how its defined as well:

Definition of a lap (https://www.google.com/webhp?q=defenition%20of%20a%20lap#q=defenition+of+ a+lap)

From there:

a stage in a swim consisting of two lengths of a pool.

FindingMyInnerFish

January 22nd, 2015, 12:25 PM

I've always considered 1800 yards my pool "mile," even though it's really over the 1760 yards that my grade school math taught me was a mile. I figured that way I had the full mile and then some, whereas if I swam 70 lengths (1750) it would be too short for my OCD self to accept; 71 lengths would have me finishing at the wrong end of the pool from where my water and pool toys (typically kickboard and pull buoy but of late paddles and fins), so that made me feel out of kilter. Plus I figured if I could swim x amount of time in 1800 yards, I'd feel all the more ready to swim a true mile in that time or better. (In theory only... in o.w., it tended to vary depending on a lot of stuff.) I didn't ever belong to a 50 mile (or 51 or whatever) mile club so that was never an issue.

Oh, and I'm both a runner and a swimmer, but I remember using the term "lap" before I got into running and defining it for myself as a length of the pool.

It gets so complicated that when people not into swimming (for swimmers, I always use "yards" to describe my distances) ask how far I swam, unless it was for at least 2 miles, I just say how many yards. Then someone asks, "How many laps is that?" Sigh!

Jimbosback

January 22nd, 2015, 01:09 PM

My youth coaches used to call a mile, "72 laps," even though they meant lengths, which is 1800 yards and a little over a mile.

Sojerz

January 23rd, 2015, 08:11 AM

At least in the mid-Atlantic and northeast a lap and length were synonymous, but I get the fact that a lap would imply a return to the beginning. So if you get "lapped" in a race is that one length or two? :afraid: Double-lapped was two lengths in my book.

We always counted a "mile" as 72 lengths to finish at the same end.

I've raced in 20 yard and 33-1/3 yd pools back in the day, but never a 1650, where the race would have ended in the middle of the pool.

Sportygeek

January 23rd, 2015, 11:00 AM

At least in the mid-Atlantic and northeast a lap and length were synonymous, but I get the fact that a lap would imply a return to the beginning. So if you get "lapped" in a race is that one length or two? :afraid:

Aussie perspective:

I've also always used "lap" and "length" synonymously. But if someone is lapped in a race, the lapping swimmer is definitely 2 lengths ahead. Double-lapping is what Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacs silver medalist Mack Horton did to half the field in the 1500m at our State Age Swimming Championships.

ForceDJ

January 23rd, 2015, 11:03 AM

So if you get "lapped" in a race is that one length or two?

It’d be two lengths (one lap). Put simply…if you jump off the blocks and just stop…the other swimmer has to go all the way down and back…two complete lengths (one lap) to get back to where you are and pass/lap you.

Dan

LateBloomer

January 23rd, 2015, 05:16 PM

Thanks to everyone for chiming...confirms my understanding. Happy to learn I'm not losing my marbles.....:bliss:

gobears

January 23rd, 2015, 06:19 PM

lol - this was posted by Natalie Coughlin today on Facebook. It is relevant to this conversation - I totally agree with Natalie (she comes into the podcast at around 5 minutes). I grew up swimming in California like she did and we always referred to laps as one end to the other. Also - what about the fact that "lap" Counters used in distance events don't count laps by 50's but by 25's?

http://howtodoeverything.org/post/108742383015/how-to-stop-that-email-you-shouldnt-have-sent

habu987

February 7th, 2015, 03:20 PM

Growing up all over the south and Midwest in the US, we always use laps and lengths interchangeably, although laps was the term used the vast majority of the time.

__steve__

February 8th, 2015, 09:51 AM

In auto racing a lap is finished where it was started. How far is a mile regarding swimming? Too far

Trondi

February 8th, 2015, 03:20 PM

Also - what about the fact that "lap" Counters used in distance events don't count laps by 50's but by 25's

Just curious. Are they called lap counters? Do they count single lengths?

gobears

February 8th, 2015, 04:52 PM

Just curious. Are they called lap counters? Do they count single lengths?

That's what everyone I know calls them. And, yes, they count single lengths - all of the odd lengths at turn end of the pool (1 lap, 3 laps, 5 laps...)

As far as the auto racing comment - it's much easier to call something a (circuit) lap when you're on a course that has no real beginning or end :)

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