Friday, February 12, 2010



A boy was at a public pool.

The lifeguard blew his whistle at the boy and yelled, ''Hey! Don't pee in the pool!''

The boy replied, ''But everybody does it!''

''Not from the diving board!'' shouted the lifeguard.

By Darin Wieneke

"Welcome to our _OOL, Notice there is no "P" in it. Let’s keep it that way."

I recently noticed a sign with the above message printed on it at a swimming pool. After swimming a few laps, my mind quickly began to wander from smooth, efficient stroke mechanics to the Minnesota Vikings, shoveling snow, how appealing the hot tub looked, and finally to the _ool sign.

While the etiquette expressed on the sign was clear and made sense, I began thinking about other lap swimming etiquette. Lap pools, especially after work during the winter months, are often congested and resemble the Interstate 94 and Interstate 35W interchange during rush hour. When I began lap swimming a few years ago, it was a bit unnerving when entering the pool under these conditions and the "rules of the road" were not clear and obvious to me.

Here are some of the rules that I have noted over the years and hopefully, they will ensure that you and others have great pool experiences:

1. Have Fun! Remember we have chosen this lifestyle and it is a great one!

2. Hygiene. Keep fingernails and toenails closely trimmed so other swimmers are not scratched. If you wear perfume or cologne (this includes water aerobic people), please vigorously shower before entering the pool.

3. Stay Observant and Respectful Of Other Swimmers At All Times!

4. Fast, Medium, and Slow Lanes. Spend a few moments observing the pace of swimmers already in the pool and select a lane containing swimmers moving as closely as possible to the pace that you expect to maintain throughout your entire workout. If you enter an empty lane or join one person in a lane that is designated differently from your expected pace, you should stay observant of arriving swimmers and be prepared to move to the appropriate lane for you.

5. Notice. The swimmer entering an occupied lane must inform all incumbent swimmers of his/her presence before beginning to swim. This includes when you enter a lane with just one other swimmer. You should explicitly confirm the format (i.e. circle or split) that you will be swimming.

6. Please give each swimmer in your lane "breathing room" before you start-- ideally, swimmers should begin about ∏ of a lap apart.

7. Resting. You should stay on the far side of a lane when resting.

8. Passing. A passing or overtaking swimmer should gently but distinctly touch the feet of the swimmer being passed or overtaken. A lead swimmer who feels a touch on their feet from an overtaking swimmer, should continue to the next wall, then stop in the corner of the lane as soon as they get to the wall in order to make way for the passing swimmer. If you are a lead swimmer and observe another swimmer coming up close behind you as you are making a turn, you should strongly consider stopping in order to let the faster swimmer past- rather than blocking the other swimmer for an entire length of the pool.

If you have other suggestions in regard to lap pool etiquette or would like to share any of your lap pool experiences, please forward an e-mail to MTN or

*Darin Wieneke is a frequent contributor to MTN and excitedly preparing for the Escape From Alcatraz triathlon on May 2, 2010. When not training or thinking about triathlon, he is an attorney at Tewksbury & Kerfeld, PA where he practices in the areas on personal injury and wrongful death.