Learn to Swim Better by Learning to Share a Lane

Those of you who swim regularly are surely noticing that there are a lot more swimmers using the pool than ever before. Guess what, THAT’S A GOOD THING! Swimming is a great way to exercise and is such an important skill to have, especially here in the Puget Sound area.

Although more swimmers mean more congestion, which can be frustrating, there is a simple solution: Share your lane. Swim teams everywhere share lanes, regardless the pool size. A standard size pool of 25 yards x 6 (often narrow) lanes will accommodate very large swim teams with kids ranging in age from 6-18. Those kids learn to swim well in large part from the experience of sharing lanes. It is common during swim practice that six people will share a single lane, which translates to one swimmer every 8.33 yards in a single direction. It’s an opportunity: they get to learn timing, body position, spatial awareness and cadence, among other skills essential to good swimming and can only come from experience and practice. Swim Conditioning classes at Seattle Athletic Club cater to many members and they quickly learn to share a lane with at least one other swimmer.

Next time you come into the pool for solitary workout and that find that each lane is being used, please don’t just stand there and wait for a lane to open up; identify and swimmer whose speed matches yours, and ask if you can share the lane. Conversely, if you are the only person swimming in a lane and you notice people waiting to swim, be a good neighbor and invite them into your lane. Challenge yourself to do this—even if you feel like a novice—because the experience will help you get better! The better you become the harder and longer you will be able to swim and the more enjoyable it will be.

Finally, follow these easy steps for sharing a lane. If there are two of you in a lane, agree which side each of you will take and stay on that side of the black line. If there are three or more of you, begin to ‘circle swim’ or always stay on the right of the black line. If you are the fastest person in your lane, swimming slower and more aware of the others will help you with cadence and spatial awareness. If, on the other hand, you are one of the slower ones in the lane, swimming faster will challenge you to swim better and with more efficiency. Either way, these are all good skills to have.

Happy Laps!

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