View Full Version : Outer Lanes

June 7th, 2007, 08:32 PM
Any thoughts as to whether the
outer lanes are a disadvantage in

Blackbeard's Peg
June 7th, 2007, 10:44 PM
Generally, all the wake generated from the swimmers on your side of the pool gravitates out toward your lane, and then bounces back in from the wall. If there are overflow gutters, that minimizes the bouncing back, but you still have to swim through it.

I'd say that is a disadvantage.

June 8th, 2007, 07:13 AM
It usually is a disadvantage, but it depends on the pool. Some pools are better than others, gutters, depth, types of lane lines all play into this.

June 8th, 2007, 08:38 AM
It usually is a disadvantage, but it depends on the pool. Some pools are better than others, gutters, depth, types of lane lines all play into this.

Exactly! The fairest pools have overflow gutters on all four sides AND lane line on both sides of the outer lanes. From my experience, those with the latter are rare.

June 8th, 2007, 12:20 PM
When I swam in the Federal Way pool in November, I though the outside lanes had the potential to be faster than the inside lanes. I felt like I experienced less turbulence in the 100 free in lane 1 than I did in the 200 in lane 4. At Nationals I didn't notice any difference, but at least there was no noticeable disadvantage to being seeded in an outside lane. Great pool.

June 8th, 2007, 01:19 PM
Subject the pool having overflow gutters, and proper lane lines, in a short sprint, I always preferred the outside lanes ("outside smoker" in the parlance of our times), while in longer races the middle lanes give better peripheral views of the other swimmers...

Allen Stark
June 9th, 2007, 12:23 AM
In pools with poor wave control the outside lanes are definitely slower.I have been in some pools where the waves in the outside lanes could knock you sideways. In pools with good wave control the difference is minimal and in some races may even be faster if the mid-lane swimmers are all about the same speed and there is a big backwash off the turns.

Frank Thompson
June 9th, 2007, 10:55 AM
I will just add one additional comment to what Allan said. One factor that I have found in older outdoor 50 Meter Pools is the pressure of water from the jets that come into the pool. Older pools have little leaks and the water levels go down faster than newer pools. I have swam in pools in the outer lanes where you feel this water pressure and it can create more waves than you already have to deal with. You could have jets all along the wall and it creates more turbulence than the inside lanes. Some of the inside lanes get this as well but only at the ends and only in certain lanes. When you have a lot of water pressure filling the pool its an advantage to be as far away from the outside lanes and in the insides lanes as possible.

The only instance that I see where an outside lane is an advantage is the really good olympic pools. I remember watching the 2004 Athens Olympics and seeing Roland Schoeman swimming in lane 1 in the 100 meter free and seeing no waves to the outside at all. In those pools the outside lane is separated by another lane and there is no backwatch to that side that other swimmers in the lanes 2 thru 7 have to handle. It was pointed out on TV that this could be an advantage for those swimmers. Another instance of this was at the recent 2007 World Championships in the Women's 800 Free Relay that was swimming in an outside lane. They set the World Reocord and it didn't seem to bother them at all. They had smooth water on one side while they were swimming. Of course the arguement here would be they were so far ahead in the race that it didn't matter because they would not have gotten that much turbulance in the middle with the kind of lead they had throughout the race.

June 9th, 2007, 07:57 PM
I always look forward to getting an outside lane because it means I have easy access to the ladder on the side to climb out afterwards.

June 10th, 2007, 09:04 PM
I believe that the effect of waves off other swimmers is minimal and would take a computer to quantify.

Let's examine swimmer A in Lane 4 and swimmer B in Lane 8 (the effects of swimmers in lanes in-between will affect the course of events similarly.)

We assume that A in lane 4 is faster. He (or she) is creating a wave. That wave is NOT moving out, ONLY perpendicularly to A's forward motion. It's moving to the side AND front of A (A's kick is creating another wave that is moving backwards and at an angle aft, but that's another study).

Therefore A's wave, moving (for the sake of argument) at a 45 degrees angle to A's (either) side and front has two vectoral components: one straight ahead and a perpendicular component that is -itself- moving forward. When this latter component hits the side wall, it is moving forward and is reflected in a mostly forward (pool's long axis) albeit at an angle, direction and thus helps (carries or pushes) swimmer B in lane 8 (or C in 1) forward. But I'd think that its effect would be infinitesimal.

So, if B lags so far behind A that A's wave affects B, then A's waves are helping B.

I like clear water as much as the next guy/gal but if I'm not in clear water, does this this mean I'm drafting off somebody?

Allen Stark
June 11th, 2007, 11:28 AM
Sorry Ahmed,I disagree.You have your physics basically right,but the lateral vector is going to reflect off the wall and move the swimmer in lane 8 to the side. That thrust is going to be uneven along the swimmers body throwing them out of streamline.Also any turbulence affects the flow of water along your body and that effect is almost always to slow you down.