Finding a place to swim is something that every swimmer (and therefore every triathlete) has had to deal with from time to time. Every city has only a finite number of pools and an ever growing number of triathletes. The majority of these swimmers tend to swim before and after work, around 6 or 7 in the morning, and between 4 and 7 in the afternoon. So when all of your city’s swimmers flock to the pools at the same time, it can often be hard to find an open lane. So how do we cope with this problem? A little tactic called circle swimming!
Circle swimming is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: you swim in a circle around the lane so that everyone is always swimming the same direction, often counter clockwise. This can allow for several people to jump into one lane all at once without having too much of a traffic jam or risk of running into each other. This is, however, not a completely foolproof system. If the swimmers in a particular lane have a big range of ability and speeds, then a slow swimmer can end up blocking traffic of his faster counterparts, and a faster swimmer can be a danger to his slower counterparts. For your safety, and the safety of the others wanting to enjoy the waters, here are a few tips and unwritten rules to help you be a more effective pool swimmer.
-Always ask before jumping into a lane. While most people are more than happy to share a lane, pools can become too crowded. If the current occupants aren’t comfortable with another swimmer jumping in, don’t force it. Just wait for a spot to open.
-Don’t try to jump into a lane with people much faster. This can cause a traffic jam as swimmers try to get around you, and can be a danger to yourself. It also annoys the swimmers already in the lane.
-Don’t try to jump into a lane with people much slower. While we all know you have the speed of a fish, it can be dangerous to the others in the lane if you try to pummel over the other swimmers.
-Stay to your side. While circle swimmer, always stay to the right. That means when you get to the other end of the pool, switch sides and keep the lane line right next to your right arm. If you’re just splitting the lane, just keep to your side.
-If someone taps your feet, let them pass. The best place to do this is at the wall where you can stop. Everyone is trying to get their workout in, so if traffic is able to pass freely, it keeps everyone moving.
-Unless everyone else is doing it, or there’s space, avoid breast stroking. It takes up a lot of lateral space and you risk hitting the others in your lane. If in doubt, always ask first!
Most of these are common sense, but next time you find yourself in a crowded pool, these can make your workout more enjoyable. Happy swimming!