When you go swimming in public pools, you’ll have no option but to share the pool with other swimmers and bathers. Although sharing is good, this often leads to quite a few problems especially when you or other people in the pool neglect to follow or simply ignore the different swimming pool etiquette. These unwritten codes of conduct in the pool are necessary in order to prevent swimmers from accidentally hurting each other or harboring ill-feelings towards one another. Fortunately, these rules are pretty simple to follow and mostly drawn from common sense, so no one should have trouble abiding by them. In any case, here’s a refresher course on the different swimming pool etiquette (in case you forgot all about them). And if you come across any swimmer who seems to be unaware of these pool codes of conduct, be sure to point them straight to this page instead of giving them that ugly look.
Do Take Shower before Swimming
Public health authorities have been urging swimmers to take a pre-swim shower for decades. And although many people agree that a pre-swim shower is necessary for health reasons, studies show that pre-swim showers may be more of a lip service rather than an actual practice.
Showering prior to taking a dip into the pool helps to prevent the spread of water-borne diseases by removing perspiration, body oils, and even traces of urine and fecal matter from our bodies. By sending these substances down the shower drain, we can help to reduce the occurrence of recreational water illnesses like diarrhea, skin infections and others.
Do Choose the Right Lane
So you may be so excited to enter the lane and get started with your laps, but not just yet since pool etiquette says that you simply cannot go jumping into any lane you choose to. You need to find the right lane for you so you don’t go inconveniencing the other swimmer you’ll be sharing the lane with.
When choosing a lane, look at the swimming pace and speed of the other swimmer who’s already in the lane. In most public pools, the lanes are often clearly marked; there are lanes for slow swimmers, moderately fast swimmers, and really fast swimmers. Well, maybe some pool use other methods of marking their lanes. Anyhow, choose a lane based on how well and how fast you can swim. You don’t want to be the slug in the fast lane, nor do you want to be that arrogant swimmer constantly passing and putting undue pressure on the fellow you’re sharing the lane with.
Do Enter the Lane Properly
When sharing a lane with other swimmers, pool etiquette says that you enter on the right side of the lane. But don’t get in just yet since you’ll want to wait until the swimmer who’s already in the lane has acknowledged you at the wall, passed you and started circle swimming.
Once you’ve entered the lane, begin to circle-swim in a counter-clockwise position. Avoid swimming side by side since there is a chance that you may swim headlong into your lane partner, thus resulting in an unpleasant collision.
Do Stay On Your Side of the Lane
If you and your lane partner are aware of common pool etiquette, you’ll know that it best to split the lane between you two. And when you do, be sure to stick to your own side of the lane at all times.
Don’t go crossing into your partner’s side of the lane. Don’t be that swimmer who swims in the middle and hogs the lane all to himself or herself. This is especially true if you can’t swim straight. Swimming in the center in a zigzag motion will make it difficult for your lane partner to pass you. You’re also blocking the way for the person swimming opposite your direction.
In order to stay in your side of the lane, keep your eyes on the lane line. Most pools have lines in their floors which you can follow. Aside from your eyes, be sure to keep your limbs in your side of the lane as well. Be aware of where your body, hands and legs are at all times. The last thing you need to accidentally slap your partner while bringing your meat paddles down.
Do Play Nice
If you follow all the tips mentioned above, then you should have no problem with swimming headlong into your lane partner (or any other swimmer if you’re not in a lap pool). However, it so happens that when you’re sharing the lane or pool with other people, sooner or later you’ll find yourself in a collision. It may not happen often, but it does happen.
If you accidentally bang heads or arms with another swimmer, raise your swimming goggles and see if the other swimmer has stopped. If not, then that means that they didn’t take the collision seriously, and that it’s just another mishap in the pool. If that’s the case, don’t get fazed; get over it and continue swimming. If they do stop and look startled, be sure to apologize and assess the situation. Ask if they’re okay and don’t start throwing blames around.
Don’t Trail Behind Someone
It can be really annoying to feel another swimmer swimming too close to the tip of your toes. This is especially true if you’ve made enough space for them to pass but they wouldn’t.
Well, pool etiquette says that if you’re going to pass, then pass already. Don’t try to get a free draft ride behind the swimmer in front of you. Besides, there’s no point hanging around there, and if they accidentally kick you in the face, then you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.
When passing another swimmer, the general rule is to pass on the left of the swimmer. But before making the pass, alert the swimmer that you’re passing by tapping him or her lightly on the toe. Also, if the swimmer has just pushed-off, give him or her at least five seconds of a head start.
Don’t Pee in the Pool
Well, this should go without saying, but please don’t pee in the pool. Most (if not all) pools have a big sign saying “Do Not Urinate in the Swimming Pool”. Unfortunately, many people (including kids, competitive swimmers and casual bathers) simply ignore this swimming pool code of conduct.
There aren’t any actual evidence, but there seems to be a connection between dipping in the pool and feeling the need to pee. It must be that cold shiver that runs up your spine (you know the feeling after you pee? Yeah, that one) when you immerse yourself in the water which triggers the feeling. Anyhow, don’t do it. It’s just gross.
Aside from being disgusting, it can also be detrimental to your health. See, urine is made up of a variety of substances which can interact with the chemicals in the pool. This results in chemical reactions that create fumes which when inhaled can cause respiratory problems and skin irritations.
By the way, some people think it is okay to pee in the pool because the chlorine will sanitize the water anyway as evidenced by the strong smell of chlorine. Actually, that strong scent means the water and is already contaminated and is a result of the chemical reaction. A clean, well-managed pool with a properly balanced pool water chemistry doesn’t have any strong chemical smell to it.
Don’t Make a Splash
One of the things that many swimmers hate is when someone decides to jump into the pool and create this huge splash on their faces. This is quite understandable since jumping into the pool can be quite fun. Nonetheless, this is something you may want to avoid doing. For one, it can really annoy a lot of people and may even be the cause for a misunderstanding. If you’re really itching to jump in, then be sure that you do so in a less crowded (preferably empty) side of the pool.
Aside from peeing in the pool, another most violated swimming pool etiquette is staring at other swimmer’s bodies. And yes, this does happen a lot in public swimming pools considering that these are one of the few places where you can look at half-naked men and women without being arrested.
Staring at other people’s bodies is not only rude, but it can also be creepy. For the male swimmers, constantly staring can make the ladies feel conscious and uncomfortable. You wouldn’t be the guy that ruins their day at the pool, would you? And for the females, you should avoid staring at men’s washboard abs and bulging pecs because this is a sure fire way of attracting unsolicited advances. You might want to check out our pool test kits.
More Pool Codes of Conduct
- DO Read the Rules. All public swimming pools have a set of rules generally displayed at the entrance or anywhere else that it can be easily seen and read. Before diving in, be sure to give the rules a quick read so you don’t end up doing something that you’re not supposed to be doing.
- DO Trim Your Nails. Take some time to trim your fingernails and toenails before you head out to your public swimming pool. Accidentally kicking or slapping other swimmers as you bring your meat paddles down is painful enough as it is. Don’t make it any more painful (and disgusting) by slicing through their skin with your long and protruding nails.
- DO Take an Empty Lane. You’ll want to avoid getting into an occupied lane as much as possible, so be sure so scour the pool for an empty lane before deciding to join in and share the lane with another swimmer.
- DO Be Organized. Don’t leave your swimming gear and pool toys lying all over the poolside. Not only is this rude but it’s also dangerous.
- DON’T Block the Wall. If you’re tired and need to rest, then do so. However, be sure not to block the wall while you’re resting. You can seriously inconvenience swimmers who are doing continuous laps and need the wall to do their tumble turns or touch-and-go.
- DON’T Stop Mid-lap. This is especially true when you’re sharing the lane with other swimmers. When you stop mid-lap, other swimmers may accidentally bump into you. If you’re tired, slow down your swimming pace, let the other swimmer pass, and then climb out when you reach the end of the pool
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Employing the different swimming pool etiquette mentioned above will not only make the pool a much safer place, but it also makes it more “friendly”. And as mentioned earlier, most of these codes of conduct are practically common sense so there’s no reason for anyone not to understand and follow them. We may have only scratched the tip of the iceberg here; nonetheless, these should be enough to help you become a “gentleman” or a “lady” or an overall pleasant person to share the pool with.