Swim Etiquette

Although swimming may seem like an individual sport, it is really a team effort. This is most true when we practice. A practice session is the time when the most amount of people are in the pool and swimming at the same time. With all these bodies in the water, it is very important that you respect your fellow swimmers. Overall, it's important to remember that we are a team, doing a team workout.

There are many different skill level lanes from which to choose and the coaches do an amazing job of varying the sets throughout the workout. Its important that everyone participates in the same workout for the benefit of all team members. Some sets allow for more flexibility in the workout and some do not. If you would like to modify a particular set to fit your personal training please be sure to ask the coach first. If the coach gives you the OK then tell your lane mates what you will be doing. But, if the coach says "No" to your request, please respect his judgement and participate in the set as given by the coach.

Following are some more general points you should remember to make sure that everyone gets the most out of every practice!


  • Learn the names of your lanemates. You are going to be with these people in very close quarters, with practically no clothes on, with hearts racing for the next 60 minutes. Aren't you curious what their names are?
  • Understand the interval (speed) for the lane. Does everyone understand? Are you in the right lane? Are you ordered from fastest to slowest?
  • Never begin any set until everybody in the lane understands it (particularly drill sets). The extra amount of time spent to communicate the set and interval pace to the entire lane is a good investment of your time.
  • Whenever possible, communicate to your lanemates if you plan to do anything "different" in the set. This includes switching to another stroke than the set designates, putting on fins, switching to kicking only, warming down in the middle of the set, sitting out an interval, or even getting out of the pool.
  • On long swims where lapping is likely to occur, communicate with each other what the passing procedure will be.
  • You have the desire to be part of a fun, dynamic swim team

Be Responsible and Aware

  • Never assume that the first person in the lane knows what is going on. They may be having a bad day.
  • Take responsibility for counting, you can do it, allow yourself to believe it!
  • Watch the pace clock and stay in your send off spot throughout the set (5 seconds behind the swimmer in front of you).
  • Be aware of what is happening in your lane. Where are the other swimmers? Are you holding people up? Are you running people over? Is there somebody right behind you as you are coming off the wall?
  • If you have trouble seeing the clock, figure out how to see it. Prescription goggles, contacts under your goggles, small pace clocks next to your lane, synchronizing your wrist watch, there are lots of options.
  • If you arrive late to the workout, take responsibility for joining practice without disrupting your teammates. Ask the coach and learn what's going on before you get into the water. Try to do your warm up in another lane before you join the set.

Encourage and Acknowledge

  • Its fun and motivating to hear positive encouragement coming from your team mates. A small "lets go" can be just the positive boost your lane mates need in the middle of a long difficult set.
  • Acknowledge each other. Is somebody in your lane having an exceptional day? Let them know!
  • Acknowledge your teamwork. "Go Grunions!," is always nice to hear. "We're awesome," with high fives all around is a great motivator and gets your energy levels up! "Lets celebrate with a latteā€¦" gives you something to look forward to!

Traffic Patterns

  • The traffic pattern is quite simple when only two people are swimming in a lane. One person swims on the left side of the lane, the other swims on the right side.
  • When swimming in a lane with more than two people, a different organization is required. The most common pattern is to swim single file in a counterclockwise circle, the "Circle Pattern." This pattern is similar to our normal driving pattern, making a u-turn at each wall.
  • Swimmers should start their sets 5 seconds apart, with the fastest swimmer in the lane going first, the second fastest going second and so forth. Keep your eyes open, and stay on your side of the lane to avoid collisions. When you wish to pass someone, tickle or tap them on the foot and wait until they reach the wall before you attempt to pass. The swimmer who is being passed should stop at the wall and allow you to pass.