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Thread: Pool Etiquette For A Newbie

  1. #1
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    Pool Etiquette For A Newbie

    Hey everyone! First post on here so be nice*

    So I'm new to swimming, this is my second week. Right now I'm going three days a week in the morning before work. So when I go, it's always the same people there. There is one guy who appears to be a pretty good swimmer. Then three elderly folks who just kind of float from one end to the other; not saying that in a bad way, I think it's great they're active!

    So anyways, those four take up four lanes, then the other two are closed for Masters swim practice. The first couple times the elderly man joined lanes with his wife and gave me his. Thought it was great and an awesome gesture, but I could tell it didn't make him happy. So last time it was obvious he wasn't giving me his lane again, but the good swimmer invited me to share his, so I did.

    I felt bad for this guy because he's going back and forth like crazy, and I'm going down and back and then resting every time; I can only make it more than once down and back on my first two laps right now. I made sure to tuck myself in the corner when I stopped, but just felt bad, maybe because I'm still new. And I struggled a couple times trying hard to make sure I didn't bump him, and I'd bump the rope or struggle with my breathing and get messed up. Is it wrong to think it sure would be nice for the elderly couple to keep swimming together since they just float back and forth?

    Long story longer, the Masters squad that uses the first two lanes stretches for over 30 minutes each day beside the pool, but still have the first two lanes closed even though they aren't using them. Would it be rude to ask the coach if I can use one of their lanes if I get out before their done stretching? I know basically the exact time they get in the pool each day.*

    Soon I'm sure I'll be asking technique questions, because I could definitely use the help there too!*

  2. #2
    Very Active Member srcoyote's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Etiquette For A Newbie

    I don't think it's rude to ask the Masters coach to use the lane while the team stretches, and if you're up front that you plan to be out before any swimmers take the lane, there's a chance the coach may be agreeable. However, my experience, is that coaches aren't generally agreeable to this sort of arrangement. From their perspective the feeling might be that if I let one swimmer in on these conditions, others may follow suit, and then I'm chasing swimmers out of the Masters lanes we had reserved.

    Further, it absolutely not wrong to expect to share any lane for which you've paid the right to swim. If there are more swimmers than lanes, every swimmer in the pool should be prepared to share a lane -- especially those floating back and forth and those that are in the pool with someone they already know. I've never hesitated to slip to the side of the lane or invite a swimmer to join me whether or not they are faster or slower than I.

    I've never looked to create a problem, but if there is only one option to share and the person looks less than happy for me to be joining that lane, I stick my legs in on a side and proceed anyway.

    Enjoy. Swimming is the greatest (even when navigating these bits).

  3. #3
    Very Active Member Sumorunner's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Etiquette For A Newbie

    The rules are spelled out clearly on a sign at my pool. Anyone should be willing to share a lane at any time. Not everyone reads and not everyone heeds, so it's proper to ask them if they mind as they approach the wall. If they ignore you, the lifeguard is supposed to intervene, but again, if they refuse you should never just jump in their lane.

  4. #4
    Very Active Member Sojerz's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Etiquette For A Newbie

    Hope you keep it up and find it easy to settle in to the pool routine. The same lane issues come up routinely at pools all over the world. Most times common sense prevails and the lanes get worked out, but sometimes it gets ugly. Go ahead and just ask if you can use the master's practice lanes when they are doing drylands, the worst that can happen is they say no, in which case ask again and make it clear that you will vacate once they want the lanes. The problem the masters practice will have is with setting a precedent and the possibility of someone else grabbing the lanes and then not getting out when asked.

    If/when you swim with the faster swimmer, I assume you are "splitting" the lane and not "circling." Most swimmers grew up and continue to swim with others in the lane (as AGers with as many as 6 or 8 circle swimming) and are used to passing others. Since he invited you in, I'm guessing he is not bothered by you; probably much less so than you are by him. When swimming, I routinely ask someone standing at the side to get in and split the lane, cause it doesn't bother me and I'd rather see them in the water. For you, the biggest thing is to be sure when you are at the wall you stay to side and allow room for the faster swimmer to turn. Try to take-off so that you pass mid-lap and not just before he is coming into the wall. Try to swim on your half of the lane and don't wander across the mid-line. Swimming against the lane line forces you to narrow your arm recovery, which is a good thing. Swimming butterfly and breaststroke are more difficult in a split lane because they generally take up more than half the lane. But good swimmers will adjust their stroke and be able to get around.

    Lots of pools have people "floating" around in the lanes and that is not what the lanes are for. Some don't even want to get their hair wet or don't want you making waves. Be courteous, but its a swimming pool not a freakin tub and asking them to consolidate and split a lane isn't rude. You have as mush right to the lane (splitting or circling) with them as they do. The first one in doesn't get to own the pool or lane.
    Hope you keep enjoying it. (once you get comfortable, think about joining the masters team practices, a coach can really help)
    Last edited by Sojerz; March 11th, 2016 at 04:08 PM.
    Some guys they just give up living and start dying little by little, piece by piece. Some guys come home from work and wash up and go racin’ in the street. (Bruce Springsteen, 1978)

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    Re: Pool Etiquette For A Newbie

    Thanks for the responses. I showed up this morning and it was a different lifeguard than the normal one that's been there every other time. He was awesome. As soon as I started walking towards the pool he walked up to me and actually suggested going in the Masters lanes until they were done stretching. It worked out perfect. So now my new plan is to get there when it opens, which will give me 30 minutes in the Masters lane, which is plenty of time for me right now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sojerz View Post
    Try to take-off so that you pass mid-lap and not just before he is coming into the wall.
    This is exactly what I did. I'm sure he was fine, and it's more just me being in my own head since I'm a beginner.

  6. #6
    Very Active Member Sumorunner's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Etiquette For A Newbie

    What happens a lot where I swim is that several people from a water aerobics class stay in one lane and won't give it up. There's an old folks (meaning around my age) water class from 9:30-10:30 and when they break, all lanes are supposed to be open for lap swimming. The attendants put the ropes back up, so the lanes are clearly delineated, but they refuse to leave. They simply lollygag and gossip and get VERY testy if anyone tries to ask them to give up the lane. C'est la vie.

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    Very Active Member __steve__'s Avatar
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    Re: Pool Etiquette For A Newbie

    I know how you feel. I'm sure the one or two floaters do not realize they are taking up 3750 sq ft of potential swimming space, yet occupying just 8 sq ft. Sometimes a little charm, with a polite growing stake of territory works. Just be prepared for the 15 minutes of chloro-hairspray lingering.

    This is some basic etiquette info:
    http://www.usms.org/fintess/content/pooletiquette

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    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Etiquette For A Newbie

    I'm glad the new guard looked for a space for you. Make sure you thank him/her and maybe even talk to the master coach and say you will quickly leave when they are ready to swim. Maybe at some point you will join them.

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    Re: Pool Etiquette For A Newbie

    You are obviously very, very considerate. Don't worry about sharing a lane - most of us are used to all kinds of wake turbulence, collisions, smashing together of limbs, etc. We all remember the days of 6-8 to a lane with crashes, ankle grabbing, intentional and unintentional goggle removal, swimming three across to pass. Share a lane with 1 other very considerate swimmer; piece of cake...

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    Re: Pool Etiquette For A Newbie

    Little update. Everything has been going pretty well. Still using the lane until Masters are ready to jump in. More new people have started coming earlier, so it's been more busy, which has meant more lane sharing. Shared again yesterday and was really happy with how well I swam, best day yet. Didn't have any issues with breathing, which has been my biggest struggle. Figured out how to get a better breath with no struggle with water getting in my mouth or not getting enough air. Didn't run into the ropes at all. And made it more laps in a shorter amount of time. Feeling pretty good, and not really nervous about sharing anymore. 👍

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    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Etiquette For A Newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by Mullenski View Post
    We all remember the days of 6-8 to a lane with crashes, ankle grabbing, intentional and unintentional goggle removal, swimming three across to pass.
    Yes, I remember it because it was yesterday for me.

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    Re: Pool Etiquette For A Newbie

    that's great you are starting to swim and improving on your own! why not take advantage of the expertise available to you? I encourage you to talk with the masters coach (or other masters swimmers or lifeguards) and consider taking some lessons to improve your breathing and stroke technique, if lessons are offered (as long as you are swimming regularly, you may as well be practicing "good technique" rather than any "bad habits"). maybe you'll eventually feel ready and interested in joining the masters workout group!

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    Re: Pool Etiquette For A Newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by chowsh View Post
    that's great you are starting to swim and improving on your own! why not take advantage of the expertise available to you? I encourage you to talk with the masters coach (or other masters swimmers or lifeguards) and consider taking some lessons to improve your breathing and stroke technique, if lessons are offered (as long as you are swimming regularly, you may as well be practicing "good technique" rather than any "bad habits"). maybe you'll eventually feel ready and interested in joining the masters workout group!
    Joining the masters would be fun, but my problem is time. With two kids and working opposite schedules with my wife, it just isn't in the cards right now. I've got just enough time to get to the pool when it opens and get in a 30 minute swim and head to work. Maybe once my kids are a little older it's something I could do.

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