If you haven’t been on a swim team, you probably don’t know how to circle swim. Not to worry, it’s easy once you understand circle swimming etiquette. Circle swimming works when you have more than two people who need to share a lane. You might be used to splitting a lane, which is when you split down the middle and take sides. Circle swimming turns the lane into a road or a track. All you have to do is stay to the right of the black line. When you get to the wall turn at the middle and push off to the right side. If you are going to stop, move all the way to the left so the people behind you can swim into the wall to finish or turn and keep going.
If you are circle swimming in a lane where everyone is swimming at their own pace and there is space to pass, by all means pass. Otherwise, go ahead of them when you get to the wall. Slower people, think to move all the way over to the left when you get to the wall to let someone faster go ahead. The quicker you make these small adjustments, the smoother the swimming pace will be in the lane. You won’t feel rushed, and the other person won’t feel slowed down.
When you are circle swimming in a lane on an interval, the fastest person leads the lane. Everyone follows the leader in 5 second increments. If you are catching up to the person in front of you, you may want to switch places in order in the lane or wait a few extra seconds before taking off. You should all be staying together, not leaving when the person in front of you is halfway down the pool. Typically you’ll leave when the feet of the person in front of you has passed the flags.
When you finish a set stay to the left when you come into the wall. If you finish on the right side of the lane coming into the wall, your fellow swimmers won’t be able to finish at the wall. As the leader, finish in the left corner of the lane when you finish at the wall. Second person, single file next to them and so forth. If there are a lot of people in the lane, not everyone will make it to the wall and that’s okay. Just stay in line single file keeping the lane nice and organized.
Being the lane leader is a tough job. You are setting the pace for your lane, you have to know your interval, and you have to be able to read the clock, which is important for everyone to learn how to do. It is okay to switch out lane leaders for different sets. For instance, some might be faster at certain strokes, at distance or at sprints. What’s great about circle swimming with a group is that it puts you in a situation where you are being chased and chasing someone else to keep up. Naturally you work harder, and you’ll thank your fellow swimmers for giving you a better workout. Though swimming is an individual sport, it is very much a team sport where we rely on one another to hold ourselves accountable and bring everything we’ve got to practice every time we show up.