Tag: lap swimming

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!


By Fitness Intern Andrea Aronsen, Seattle Athletic Club Downtown

Mastering the flip turn can be an intimidating task to take on. However, developing this skill will give you the uninterrupted swim time you need to improve and build endurance in the pool.
Flip Turn Image 1 Starting the Turn

The first part of the flip turn to discuss is coming into the wall. Along the bottom of the lane is a black line with a T at the end near the wall. This T marks that you are about 2 feet away from the wall and should begin prepping your flip turn. Generally speaking, the last stroke will be taken over the T (you may need to test this to see if this works for you). After your last stroke you should be horizontal at the surface of the water, arms at your sides, looking straight down at the bottom of the pool.

Flip Turn Image 2 middle of  the Turn

Next comes the flip! The most important part of the flip is to continue to breath out your nose they entire time! If you forget to do this you will end up choking on some pool water which is never a good thing. So continue to breathe out your nose while you flip to keep water out! One description that has stuck with me after all my years of swimming is that you are “chasing your legs.” Once you are in the horizontal position tuck your chin to your chest to initiate the rotation, and then fold at the waist as if you were going to chase your legs as you whip them over above you. The smaller you get when you fold over the faster you will flip. Many swimmers who are new to flip turns will try to use their arms to “spin” them around faster. In reality however, using your arms actually slows you down! Your hands should stay pointing towards the opposite end of the pool at all times so that when you complete the flip they are up by your ears ready for streamline position.

Once you have completed the flip you should be on your back, arms next to your ears, feet planted on the wall shoulder width apart (slightly skewed from pointing straight up, in the direction that you will roll to get back on to your stomach), and knees bent at about 90 degrees. Press your arms into a streamline, squeezing your ears as tightly as possible, making an arrow to cut through the water. Explosively press of the wall with your legs, rotating your body back over to your stomach as you dolphin kick back to the surface.

Flip Turn Image 3 Completing the Turn

Begin by practicing and mastering each part of the flip turn before combining them together. Soon you will be looking like a seasoned pro as you swim your continuous laps with your newly mastered flip turn. If you feel like you need more help contact one of the swim instructors on the staff or that aquatics director Teresa Nelson.

The beauty of a crystal clear swimming pool

All swimming pools have pretty much the same rules. One rule in particular will be at any swimming pool you go to, that is “Please shower before you enter the pool”. This rule is there for a very specific reason. And no it’s not to annoy you. Pool chemistry can be a tricky thing. If you get in without showering your perfume, sweat, make-up and what the day has proceeded to leave on you can throw off the chemicals of the pool. You might think I haven’t been anywhere I haven’t done anything to cause the pool chemistry to go off balance. If everyone has that thought then the pool will never be clean.

In order to help keep the pool chemistry in balance is that everyone showers prior to getting in. So, keeping that in mind on your next visit to the pool please remember to shower before you get in.

Maximizing Your Swim Workouts – Learning the Coach’s Lingo

Understanding swim lingo can be a challenge. In some cases it’s similar to learning a new language. Instead of spending your quality workout time with your feet on the pool floor we’ve assembled a “user manual” to help guide you to more swimming and less interpreting of a written workout that may be posted.

  • S: Swim-Typically most swimmers resort to “freestyle” or “crawl” stroke during this, but swim truly means swim, just move through the water.
  • P: Pull-arms only (add a pull bouy in between your legs, paddles are used here too IF written in th workout)
  • K: Kick-legs only (with a kick board, with fins, with zoomers, without kick board, so many options)
  • OTF: Other than freestyle
  • DPS: Distance per stroke: getting as much “length” with each arm stroke
  • Drill: There are lots of drills to choose from, choose the ones that would benefit your stroke the best. Just think of the crazy movements your coach has you do all the time.
  • I.M.: Individual Medley: This consists of all four strokes in the order of fly, back, breast, and freestyle.
  • F: fly
  • B: backstroke
  • BR: breaststroke
  • FR: freestyle
  • Descend: Get faster on each one
  • Descend within the distance: Get faster within
  • Bilateral Breathing: Alternating sides that the breath is taken on. This would mean taking a breath on “odd” numbers of strokes. Three, five and seven are most common.
  • Length of a pool: Pools are typically 25 yards, 25 meters, or 50 meters (SAC is 20 yards).
  • Length: One way down, ending up on the opposite end of where you started.
  • Lap: Down and back in the pool, ending up where you started
  • How many laps for a mile: 1650 yards (66 lengths OR 33 laps in a 25 yard pool); 1500 meters (60 lengths OR 30 laps in a 25 meter pool); 1500 meters (30 lengths OR 15 laps in a 50 meter pool). Seattle Athletic Club Downtown is a 20 yard pool. One mile: 1650 yards (just shy of 82 lengths OR 41 laps).

Swim sets defined:
10X50 “on” 1:00
Defined: You start a 50 every minute and repeat 10 times. This includes your REST period.
If you swim the 50 in :45 seconds you get :15 seconds rest.
If you swim the 50 in :55 seconds you get 5 seconds rest.

10X50 with :10 seconds rest
Defined: You swim 50 yards and take :10 seconds to rest and then do it again. Repeat this 10 times.

Descending sets:
5X100 descend :10 sec rest
Defined: Get faster on “each” 100.
Ie: First 100 1:45,
Second 100: 1:40
3rd 100 1:35
4th 100 1:30
5th 100 1:25
*all with 10 second rest after each one
*This is an example of descending by 5 second per 100.
*The first on is slow and the last one is fast.

5X100 descend within the 100 with :10 sec rest
Defined: Getting faster “within” each 100. The first 25 yards is slow, the middle two get progressively faster and the last 25 is FAST. There is 10 seconds rest after each 100.

5X75 going 25 drill/50 swim with :10 sec rest
Defined: The first 25 of each 75 is a “drill” of your choice unless specified, the last 50 is regular swim. There is a :10 sec rest period after each 75.

If you have any questions on your swim workouts or need some variety in your training or even a lesson. Please contact Aquatic Director/Multisport Coach Teresa Nelson.