Leading The Lane

  • The quickest swimmer for that particular stroke or drill should lead, with the other swimmers following in descending speed or technical order.
  • This ensures that there no hold-ups and that a safe distance are maintained between swimmers.
  • A safe swimming distance is usually ensured by each swimmer in a lane beginning their set or rep, at least 5 to 10 seconds after the swimmer in front of them.
  • This order may change when changing strokes or drills.
  • Swimmers should ensure that they are swimming in the correct direction.
  • We have our swimmers in odd lanes swimming anti-clockwise and those who are swimming in even lanes swim clockwise. (see diagram above)
  • This avoids the risk of locking arms with a swimmer from an adjoining lane.
  • Swimmers who are leading the lane have the responsibility to ensure that they understand the drill or set to be performed.
  • They should also ensure that they are watching the pace clock and start the drill/set at the correct time and that you keep track of the number of sets and reps completed.


  • Swimmers should always be aware of where other swimmers in the lane are.
  • This can be difficult when training hard and under pressure, but nevertheless, safety must always take top priority.
  • They should ensure that they swim on their side of the lane and don’t drift out towards the lane’s black/blue centre line, as this can be dangerous.
  • Swimmers should be aware of the hazards of swimming in an outside lane where there are protruding steps.
  • They should also be aware of other swimmers when swimming butterfly.
  • Especially during the recovery of the arms, which requires them to be extended, and could be dangerous in a narrow lane.
  • Therefore, when passing another swimmer coming in the opposite direction, both swimmers should perform single-arm butterfly until they safely pass one another.
  • Also be aware of other swimmers when swimming breaststroke, especially when performing a leg kick, which requires the application of a certain amount of force and could cause injury to others.

Lane Discipline

  • Swimmers resting at the end of the pool should ensure they are placed to one side of the lane, allowing other swimmers enough room to continue swimming or finish safely.
  • They also need to ensure that they are not encroaching on an adjoining lane.
  • Do commence swimming immediately before another swimmer who is starting their turn. Ensure you recommence training when it is appropriate and safe to do so.
  • Swimmers should never stop in the middle of a length/lap or sit on or lie across a lane rope.
  • Swimmers should only adjust their goggles and/or cap/hat at the end of the pool.
  • All of the above actions make it difficult for other swimmers to be aware of where the offending swimmer is, and as a result, could result in injury.
  • Ensure the swimmer leaves the correct gap/interval between themselves and the swimmer in front.
  • Not only does this provide a safer swimming environment but, it allows enough space in the lane to enable a swimmer to perform their stroke or drill unhurried and to the best of their ability.
  • When starting a new set or rep, watch the pace clock, ensure you leave the correct gap, most coaches usually request a 5 to 10-second gap/interval.


This is the cause of most disputes and disagreements whilst training.

  • If a swimmer wishes to overtake, be patient. Don’t swim over the top of the swimmer in front, you could hurt or injure them and/or yourself.
  • To overtake a swimmer, they should gently touch their feet, but please do not slap or pull the other swimmer’s feet.
  • When a swimmer feels someone touching their feet, they should continue swimming to the end of the pool and wait in the corner of the lane until the swimmer behind has turned and begun swimming, leave a 5 to 10-second gap and recommence swimming.
  • If there is more than one swimmer in a close compact swimming file, then the swimmer should wait for them all to pass.
  • A swimmer should not swim right up on (close) another swimmer’s feet and do not overtake.
  • If they do not want to pass the swimmer in front, then it is their responsibility to slow down and hang back leaving the required gap/interval, as it is very annoying having someone swimming right on their feet.
  • Swimming directly behind another swimmer is called drafting.
  • Drafting behind another swimmer reduces the level of effort required to swim.
  • So, swimmers should ensure that they are able to increase their pace if they wish to overtake the swimmer in front.
  • Swimmers should not swim past another swimmer in mid-pool unless they are absolutely sure that it’s safe and they have the speed to do so.
  • Swimmers should be aware of their swimming speed while performing a set.
  • They can judge if you are holding up the lane by taking a quick look when turning.
  • If someone has caught a swimmer up, then they should let them go in front.
  • There is no shame in moving up and down the lane.
  • Swimmers should be respectful and ensure that everyone has an enjoyable training session no matter what their ability.
  • Swimmers and coaches should ensure that good lane safety and etiquette prevails at all times to allow a safe and enjoyable session for all.


  • On approaching the wall, the swimmers should move from their side of the lane to the centre of the lane.
  • Then execute their turn at the centre of the lane, then push off the wall to the other side of the lane.
  • Swimmers should be aware of other swimmers when they kick off the wall out of their turn.


  • Swimmers should ensure that they complete their swim, all the way to the wall.
  • They should not finish their swim short of the wall as incoming swimmers may well crash into them or will have to stop suddenly to avoid them.
  • Once they have touched the wall, they should move out of the way to the other side of the lane so that others can complete their length in turn.
  • Swimmers should not stand or float in the middle of the lane blocking the wall for other swimmers and ensure that they are not encroaching on an adjoining lane



We are a competitive sport club - with our swimmers competing at all levels from local team galas to British National


Do you want to be part of Harrow Swimming Club sport experience? Feel free to contact us for more info.