General Etiquette

Entering the water

  • Always use a feet-first entry into shallow water. If the lane is crowded, always ease in, using a feet-first entry.

Lane usage

  • Several people (as many as four or more) can fit in a lane if proper etiquette is observed and swimmers of like speed are together.
  • Swimmers must share lanes and are expected to circle swim.

Selecting a lane

  • The best way to find the lane that is best for you is to watch those who are swimming. If you are the first one in the lane, just abide by circle swimming so others may join you. If you aren't sure what lane, ask a lifeguard for assistance. Swimming in the same lane with people at your same pace could help you swim better and have a better workout.


  • When resting at the wall, move to the outward corners of the lane to make room for swimmers who are turning.
  • Always swim complete laps of the pool. Avoid stopping in the middle of the pool for any reason; this can interfere with other swimmers and cause collisions.
  • Please be courteous, understanding, and flexible with other swimmers.
  • Lifeguards on duty will have final say in arrangement of lanes, and they may make lane adjustments to enhance the experience of all persons involved.

Circle swimming

  • When there are more than two people in a lane, circle swimming is required. If there are only two people in a lane, they have the option of splitting a lane.
  • The customary traffic pattern in the United States is congruous to our driving pattern of staying to the right. This would be swimming in a counterclockwise circle in the lane.
  • Stop only at the wall, and, once stopped, stay in the corner of the lane, preferable the left-hand corner.
  • If you are approaching the wall and another lap swimmer is swimming at a faster rate than you are, pause at the wall to allow the faster swimmer to go by.
  • Always start, turn, and finish at the wall. This will enhance your fitness and keep clear communication within the lane.


  • If you need to pass in your lane, move up to the swimmer and tap their foot. It is inappropriate to grab, pull, or tickle the person, but a tap is a clear indication of your presence and your intent to pass.
  • If your foot has been tapped, there is no need to stop. Once you are aware of another's intent to pass, slow down just slightly and slide over as close to the lane rope as possible.
  • If the indication to pass has occurred right before the wall, it is appropriate to pause at the wall in the right-hand corner to allow the swimmer to advance through their turn.
  • If you are passing a swimmer, it is the custom to pass on the left after you have indicated your intent by tapping their foot.
  • A pass must be initiated in time to overtake the slower swimmer before the wall. In case of ambiguity approaching the turn, the swimmer whose head is closest to the wall has the right of way and the swimmer whose head is behind must yield the turn in the interest of safety.
  • To pass several swimmers in a line, the faster swimmer can move to the other side of the lane and change directions. This pass can be done only after being certain the space is clear and they are slightly ahead of the line once they have turned around.
  • Faster swimmers should give slower swimmers as much space in front of them as possible before pushing off or start their swim just before the slower swimmer reaches the wall to avoid having to pass them right away.
  • If you encounter a problem with a fellow swimmer, please notify a lifeguard immediately.