YourSwimBook: Don’t Be That Swimmer – 8 Swimming Etiquette Don’t’s

Olivier Poirier-Leroy is a former national level swimmer based out of Victoria, BC. In feeding his passion for swimming, he has developed YourSwimBook, a powerful log book and goal setting guide made specifically for swimmers. Sign up for the YourSwimBook newsletter (free) and get weekly motivational tips by clicking here.

One of my favorite parts of swimming late into July and August was that our lanes tended to thin out. Kids would go with their parents on vacation, go to camps, or simply take the summer off. The result would be 1-2 swimmers per lane, which after a season of packed lanes was unreal. (“You mean we can leave twenty seconds apart?”)

But with September being here, and a fresh season afoot, it’s all hands on deck with full groups and full lanes. Which brings with it lots of incidental hand slapping from across the black line, the occasional tickle fight (I’ll explain), and some Grand Theft Swim Gear.

So here are 8 little points of etiquette to remember as we jump back into a new season–

1. THE BLACK LINE ZOMBIE.

Swimming is an anti-social sport in some regards; we spend hours on end swimming back and forth, lost in our thoughts, often too out of breath between sets and repeats to spend any remaining air on conversation.

During our unending march up and down the pool, it’s easy to get hypnotized by that tiled, black line that is often the only thing that stares us back in the face for the duration of our workout. Just remember to not to fall for its tractor beam and swim up-and-down directly above it, lest you slap a couple teammates with your meat-paddles.

2. I’M NOT TICKLISH, SO THIS ISN’T FUNNY.

Okay, I kind of lied. I am ticklish. But just a little. And certainly not in my toes to foot area. Which makes it all the more infuriating when the swimmer behind me – instead of passing – stays tucked in behind me, enjoying a free draft while also trying to instigate a tickle fight.

Not interested, sir.

3. DON’T MAKE PEE ANNOUNCEMENTS.

Look, you and I both know that everyone pees in the pool. It’s not a secret. And while outsiders – rather understandably I would think – imagine we are an insane lot by admitting to the fact that we swim around in pools that we freshly peed in, let’s all just play the deny-deny-deny card on this one.

There are things we don’t ever need to think about. Our parents, doing, you know. Where hot dogs come from. And swimming around in freshly-peed in water.

4. STOP PULLING ON MY LANE ROPE.

Because when you do, it means that I cannot. (Just kidding! Well, sort of…)

5. TURN AT THE MIDDLE, OR LEFT CORNER OF YOUR LANE.

Just like driving, or walking, or life in the general, observing the rules of the road always makes things go a lot smoother for everyone involved. Less head-on collisions, and fewer fist-waggings.

Circle swimming, although short of traffic fines and reflective signage, has its own set of peculiar customs. Swimming in a circle, for one. Which means not swimming in a rectangle, or worse, a rhombus.

Remember to angle towards that big, black T when swimming into the wall so that the toe-tickler behind you has room to swim into their turn as well.

6. YOU’RE TIRED? THAT’S GREAT. MOVE OVER.

You’re bushed. I get it. Swimming is rough stuff. But if you’re gonna sit out a repeat to stretch out a cramped muscle, adjust your goggles, or reread the set, please move your posterior to the far depths of the corner of the lane so that your lanemates can turn unobstructed.

7. WHAT’S THAT? YOU’RE GOING SLOWER THAN ME? PLEASE, FEEL FREE TO PUSH OFF RIGHT BEFORE I TURN.

This is most common during meet warm-ups. You’ll be building up to a good boil, cruising into the wall to do a fantastic, race-speed flip-turn, only to have another swimmer watch you intently swim towards him or her, and then decide to push off right before you turn.

You’re not even halfway through your breakout when you submerge below said swimmer, who looks at you with an expression that can only possibly read: “Derp.”

/RAGE

8. GRAND THEFT KICKBOARD.

Equipment tug-of-wars are never funny – unless you’re not involved. At that point it’s kind of funny. Watching two teammates yank a kickboard back and forth, when the easier solution would be to jump out and get a new one, is an absurd show of pride.

How do you insure that your teammates don’t snipe your stuff when you’re not looking or still swimming? Build a pyramid of your gear at the end of your lane, and if that fails, just make sure you get your hand on the wall first.

I know there are more swimming no-no’s that I missed. Can you think of any? List them in the comments below.

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theroboticrichardsimmons

if we have just started a set, do not ask me what number we are on or what the set is. listen to the coach and then count. for the love of god.

tea

I remember once in high school, we were doing a set of 12x25s warm down.

After going down and back, my lanemate asks “How many was that?” “Two. Really?!”

tea

NUMBER NINE – Sandbagging. That guy you go ahead of and own for 23 out of 25 100s, then on the last two he is suddenly swimming up your butt. As a mostly rec swimmer these days, I spend a fair amount of time in pools with people who were never competitive swimmers, which brings its own faux pas. NUMBER TEN – I know you think you belong in the fast lane, but if I’m lapping you every 200 yards, it’s time to move over. And #6 and #7 on steroids – hanging out at the end of the lane, in the middle of the lane, for 20 minutes! In college, it would be acceptable to just flipturn and push… Read more »

Eric

#11 – “I know I’m faster than you… but… you go first.”

The most talented swimmer in the lane never wants to lead the lane. Instead, they’d prefer to draft off you, and blend into the group so they slide under the coach’s radar. Naturally, when you’re fatiguing and they’re not, YOU become the problem, and when the coach identifies where his/her stud is located in the lane, it’s all your fault.

AAG

That may be because he can’t count.

#12 – The guy who misses the count and keeps going, or worse, stops 2 lengths short.

Nadador

Never, ever do number 7!!

Sarah

Going slowly for the first part of the set to save up for the last round and going at least 10 seconds faster…

The dreaded Sammy Save-Up!

Jenny

Ooooooo sandbagged chap my fanny!

About Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy has been involved in competitive swimming for most of his life. Starting off at the age of 6 he was thrown in the water at the local pool for swim lessons and since then has never wanted to get out. A nationally top ranked age grouper as both a …

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