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Swimming Pool Etiquette: A Few Short Anecdotes from the Swimming Pool (Part 1)

Updated on June 4, 2010

I've recently taken up swimming as a new way to get some exercise, since, for various reasons, I haven't been able to join a gym, and when I tried to do aerobics I failed monumentally. Whilst I was swimming the other day I began thinking that all these things kept happening that I thought were fairly amusing and decided I should create a hub to share them with you. I subsequently realised I had too much to say to fit in just one hub so I now intend to make a whole series of these little anecdotes, which I hope you enjoy.

Swimming Pool Etiquette

I assume that there are some things that are just obvious to anyone who’s been in or near a swimming pool. For instance, not swimming into someone else and leaving enough room as you swim past someone so that you don’t kick them in the face. There are other unwritten rules that seem to be obvious to most people, for example, where you can and can’t jump into a pool and how it is bad to furiously splash at a complete stranger as you swim near them.

The place that I’ve started going to separates the swimming pool into three sections: The section for people messing around and not seriously swimming, the few lanes for the people who are seriously swimming, and finally the lanes for kids having swimming lessons. Quite unfairly, I feel, the lanes for the people who just want a proper swim seem to be the smallest part. It doesn’t need to be massively big because all you do is swim up one side and then back down the other. But last time I went they gave us serious swimmers a lane and a half in which to do this. Now this means there is barely enough room for two people to pass each other comfortably and I always worried that I’m going to be on the giving or receiving end of a slap in the arm/face/inappropriate body part. But then some spatially unaware speedy gonzalez feels that this is the exact moment that she absolutely has to overtake me.

This results in several things happening: the first time, it meant that I had to practically stop swimming (to giving the other two people room to pass each other) which of course was at the deepest part of the pool. Seeing as I am fairly short and the pool was fairly deep I could not touch the bottom and I had to tread water (badly) until everyone had got passed and then inhaled a large amount of water trying to get the momentum to get going again (which ended in me accidentally kicking a wall). The second time this happened there was no wall to stop and press myself against, and as I slowed down I was faced with the prospect of moving out the way only to be faced with a mass of oncoming children *gulp*. I had a laugh though watching some guy overtaking a woman who was going really slowly at the same time as this old man was coming the other way. The old guy got a kick in the shoulder (I think) and was visibly flustered and the overtaking guy got a slap on the wrists from the lifeguard and said in his defence that he ‘got distracted and must have drifted over.’ Some excuse!

The final thing that occurred to me on the subject of swimming pool etiquette, as I spat a gallon of water out of my mouth and contemplated going home: ‘I wonder how many of these kids still wee in the pool!’


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    • marimccants profile image

      marimccants 6 years ago

      Excellent hub! Useful and voted up.

    • profile image

      treadmill assembly 6 years ago

      This is a good avenue for having a magnificent swimming pool

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 6 years ago from Northern California

      Eesh. I had no idea what goes on in these pools. While swimming has so many health benefits, I have always been deterred from visiting many of my local pools because of the swarms of people inside who, as you demonstrate, are not always considerate of other swimmers. Though some of these comments do make me feel a little better. Thanks for the Hub.

    • profile image

      Endless Pools Swimming Machines 7 years ago

      Another reason to get your own pool, if you have the means...

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      Gerda Mayer -Wittmann 7 years ago

      I used to compete in swimming when I was young. Now I am a senior and just like to keep my swimming up. My Y has a big pool, all lanes. The small pool has a big area for any use of the water (socializing too) and next to it 2 parted off swim lanes for lapswimming. Last time another swimmer suggested to me to get over to the big part of the pool to make room for faster swimmers. Am I not allowed to do laps even if I do breast-strokes? I swim in this Y fors years and never has an employee suggested I could not lap swim there. I only start when a lane is free and then may lapswim for 15 to 20 minutes before an exercise class starts using the whole pool. Please advise me.

    • jenblacksheep profile image

      jenblacksheep 7 years ago from England

      Ye, that's exactly what it's like here! People hanging around at the end of a lane having a chat and not moving a muscle! RUDE!!

      Thanks for commenting :D

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      Rob F 7 years ago

      For advanced lane-sharing, come to China. Here (in Chongqing) I routinely share a lane with 6-8 other people, although only about 4 of them are usually swimming at one time (the others hang around the walls and make it hard to "land" or get a good push off). Also, no one pays attention to the slow/mid/fast lane speeds. It's good training in how to share...

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      Paul Willis 7 years ago

      The one thing I absolutely cannot stand in public pools - is couples making out. It's like they've been waiting for so long and now that they are finally in the water they can start their kissing routine... Maybe guys feel more masculine because they can hold their girls for hours now that they don't weigh as much in the water. But it's embarrassing to see my 6-year-old son and other kids who happen to be in the pool to observe this adult games with open mouth.

    • profile image

      Amy Appleton 7 years ago

      This could also be called, common sense. I can't believe how some people don't know these common rules. Thanks for posting.

    • jenblacksheep profile image

      jenblacksheep 8 years ago from England

      Eww eww eww! I thought that everywhere made it a requirement to wash down ... although I don't know that everyone pays attention to it.

      Thanx for commenting!

    • profile image

      Casey Ollson 8 years ago

      Last year they had to shut down our public pools because they found traces of feces in the pools. Now they require swimmers to wash off before entering the pools, whereas it was optional before.

    • jenblacksheep profile image

      jenblacksheep 8 years ago from England

      Urgh! That's disgusting!!! I'm glad I didn't see anyone doing that when I was there, I woulda been outta there in a shot.

      Thanx for commenting :D

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      Kenny 8 years ago

      There is no telling what kinds of things happen in public swimming pools. I have actually seen parents put babies IN DIAPERS into public pools - I can't fathom how they think this is even remotely sanitary.

    • jenblacksheep profile image

      jenblacksheep 8 years ago from England

      I never really had much of a routine, i just used to push myself to do a bit more than i'd done the previous time. Haven't actually been swimming for a while now. It's too cold!

    • Parker Brother profile image

      Parker Brother 8 years ago

      That's interesting. So, what kind of workout do you do? Do you have a set routine? I'm a swimmer myself, so I am curious to see what other people are doing.