Swimming etiquette: Unwritten rules of a public pool (2023)

There would be few among us who have not been victims of the public pool, at the receiving end of pool atrocities by overstimulated kids and frazzled parents. Unfortunately, manners often go right out the window in public spaces like the pool.

Swimming etiquette: Unwritten rules of a public pool (1)

Rules documented by signs are usually followed, as we know the lifeguards or pool wardens will tick us off, if we break them.But the unspoken rules are a lot tougher. Rules of etiquette may not be focused entirely on safety but their importance cannot be undermined.

Every swimmer demands and deserves basic courtesies -simple, mostly instinctive, extensions of basic good manners.To keep the poolside experience as enjoyable as possible, make sure your family and you follow these simple rules ofetiquette in the pool.


(Video) 7 Unwritten Rules Of The Swimming Pool | GTN's Essential Guide To Swim Etiquette

Yes, your child's hygiene habits reflect on the whole family and will directly impact your social status at the pool. Stay on top of the pecking order by making sure all grime is confined to the bathroom. There isn't enough chlorine in the world to kill all of the germs that people bring into the public pool - a virtual bacteria party originating from sweat, urine, and such.

The way out is a simple shower with soap and warm water before jumping into the pool. Kids need to be instructed firmly about using the bathroom beforehand and NEVER, EVER, even in an emergency, to use the pool as their personal toilet. Babies and toddlers must wear waterproof swimming diapers only and diaper changes need to happen in the bathroom, too.

Almost all pools insist on swimming caps for swimmers with long hair and that rule must be followed strictly asthere is nothing more disgusting than swimming along with loops of dead hair!

Another critical must for children is to use the gutters around the pool for spitting out swallowed pool water or blowing their nose. In a crowded pool, even sharp and long fingernails or protruding jewellery can easily scratch other swimmers, and need to be taken care of.

Respect other's space - in and out of the swimming pool

(Video) How to Practice Etiquette at Public Pools

Out of the Pool:

It is a test of skill trying to get showered and changed in a crowded changing room anyway. Can you imagine how much more annoying it can be, if you have to fight your way through a pile of someone else's towels and bags? If lockers are not available, keep your things in one neat pile and avoid spreading out everywhere; whether you're in the change room or by the side of the pool.

In the Pool:

This is where respecting another swimmer's space is more critical - more for all-round safety but as an important rule of etiquette as well. While getting into the pool, carefully check for the position and speed of other swimmers. Children must also do this before diving or jumping into a lane, or entering a lane from the side (i.e. under water).

Diving is absolutely prohibited in most pools these days and for their own safety, children must strictly follow this rule. They must also respect the demarcation of lanes that is made in most pools - active lap lanes meant for serious swimmers and lanes where slower swimmers and children can hang around. The slow lanes are also the ones meant for people doing aqua-exercises.

(Video) The 10 Unwritten Rules Of Lap Swimming

Dress appropriately

Wear suitable swimwear that fits you well, does not get in anyone's way is and is not too radical for a public pool, where people of all ages congregate.

Keep noise levels down

Kids are in the pool to enjoy themselves and no one will object to playful shouts and laughing. But the minute the playful shouts turn into unnecessary shrieks, you need to ask them to calm down, before they are ticked off by anyone else. Adults are often as much to blame for "noise pollution" as children. Blasting loud music from portable music players is one of the most common pool-etiquette violations. Have fun in your own way, just don't force that experience on everyone else around you.

Watch your kids

(Video) 10 Rules For Swimming Pool Etiquette 🛋️

Again, kids will be kids and need to be left alone to have fun, but not at the expense of other pool visitors. Lifeguards should not have to be responsible for disciplining children; they need to focus their attention on potential drowning victims and other hazards of swimming.As a parent, you're in charge of keeping your kids polite and respectful and to ensure that they follow the rules of the public pool, like walking instead of running on the sides and not getting too boisterous in the water.

Respect property of other swimmers

It is tempting to reach out and play with a swimming toy just lying around unused. But unless you have obtained permission from the owner of the object, you should not even "borrow" kickboards, fins, hand paddles, balls etc. Maybe the owner isn't doing something with that toy at the moment but he may have plans to incorporate it into his workout in just a few minutes - or seconds.

Respect the lifeguard

How many times have you seen a lifeguard being yelled at simply because he ticked off someone for not following basic safety procedures? The lifeguard is just doing his job - and a very important one at that - keeping us and our children safe. The least we can do is treat the person with respect and not take offence at being asked to obey rules. Just a little common sense, some basic courtesy and consideration - observed by everyone - can go a long way towards making swimming safer, more pleasant, and more efficient for all.

(Video) How To Swim In A Public Lane | Swimming Pool Etiquette & Hacks

Get Latest India Newsalong with Latest Newsand Top Headlinesfrom India and around the world.


What is the etiquette of a swimming pool? ›

As a rule, always keep a distance of at least one metre from the person in front of you when swimming. If you notice that the swimmer in front of you is too slow, leave their slipstream and overtake them. If you are overtaken, let the other swimmer pass quickly. Keep up your pace and do not rush.

What are the 10 rules for swimming? ›

  • Never, ever swim alone. ...
  • Know the shallow and deep ends. ...
  • Panicking only helps the water to kill you. ...
  • You are not a fish. ...
  • Don't swim while intoxicated. ...
  • Train well that an immobilised limb won't cost you. ...
  • Follow the rules. ...
  • Get an expert to train you.
Aug 28, 2022

What are 5 rules for swimming? ›

5 Fundamental Guidelines to Follow when You're Swimming
  • Don't Swim Alone if You're New to Swimming. Let's start with safety. ...
  • Learn Proper Form & Technique. Another one of the basic rules of swimming is to brush up on proper form and technique. ...
  • Modify Your Motions. ...
  • Set Realistic Goals. ...
  • Have Fun.
Nov 10, 2021

Why you shouldn't swim in public pools? ›

Despite attempts to disinfect the pool, some pathogens may still lurk in the water. And research suggests that disinfectants may pose their own health hazards. Swimming in chlorinated pools, particularly indoor pools, might put kids at higher risk for developing respiratory illnesses, including asthma and hay fever.

What are three things you should not do at a pool? ›

Three Things You Should Never Do At The Pool
  • Horseplay. Children and teens are prone to dangerous pool games, like chicken, and other activities that encourage putting someone's head below the water. ...
  • Playing Near the Drain. ...
  • Running Around the Pool.
May 10, 2021

What is the golden rule in swimming? ›

Never swim alone: Always make sure someone watches you when you swim. Even adults. Learn to swim: At six months, children should start swimming lessons. Adults who don't know how should learn to swim too. Learn to save lives: Parents & caregivers should get certified in CPR & first aid.

What is the most important rule of swimming? ›

Never Swim Alone: The first and most important rule for water safety. Use the buddy system—always. If swimming with small children, ensure they are always within arm's reach.

What is not allowed in swimming? ›

Wearing jewelry or other accessories while swimming is not permitted. Food and beverages (except for bottled water) are not allowed in and around the pool. All persons should respect the facility's hours of operation and use the pool during a specific time slot according to the schedule indicated.

What are 3 pool safety rules? ›

Safety Tips
  • Never leave a child unattended in or near water. ...
  • Teach children how to swim. ...
  • Teach children to stay away from drains. ...
  • Ensure all pools and spas - both in your backyard and any public pool you may visit - have compliant drain covers. ...
  • Install proper barriers, covers and alarms on and around your pool and spa.

What is the one start rule in swimming? ›

The “one start rule” means if you go before the start signal you might be disqualified. Over the top starts: After your time has been taken by the recorder move out to the “T” on the bottom of the pool or the second white lane rope marker.

What kills urine in a pool? ›

Enzymes can work to break down organic matter such as urea and noticeably improve the water quality. Secondary disinfection systems such as Ozone and UV can reinforce the sanitizing effects of chlorine. UV deactivates micro-organisms, and Ozone continuously “shocks” the pool.

Why do you need to pee after swimming? ›

Water Pressure

As you submerge in water, hydrostatic pressure drives up your blood pressure a bit, enough to trigger your kidneys to respond by stepping up their filtration game and increase urine output.

What are some dangers associated with public pools? ›

Risk factors for drowning in public swimming pools include lack of supervision for children, pre-existing medical conditions, alcohol consumption and drug (medication) use. Public pools have lifeguards to help you, and keep you and your family safe. They are trained in first aid and CPR skills.

What is the most common safety problem you see at the pool? ›

As you've likely guessed, drowning is a primary concern associated with swimming pools. Children should never be left unsupervised, even if they are skilled swimmers.

What not to do before swimming? ›

Eat a lot before swimming – Having a large meal before entering the swimming pool will make you feel heavy in water while also seeing you tire quicker, making your swimming session last shorter than it should. Swim alone – You should avoid entering the pool, or going swimming anywhere else for that matter, alone.

What are some actions behaviors that are unsafe in the pool and why? ›

Swimming pool owners should enforce basic rules such as no diving when too many people are in the pool, no drinking alcohol and diving, and no diving if the pool isn't deep enough to not risk injury. Dangerous drains: Powerful suction of pool or spa main drains can potentially lead to entrapment injuries.

What does 25 mean in swimming? ›

25: One length of the pool. 50: Two lengths of the pool. 100: Four lengths of the pool.

What is a 25 in swimming? ›

25 meters — also known as “short course meters” or simply “short course” or “meters”. This pool length is generally used for international competition and is also used for some neighborhood and country club pools. This course is abbreviated as “SCM” or just “S”.

What are basic water rules? ›

Other basic rules and tips to teach your children for all aquatic environments include the following: o Always swim with a partner or as a pair. Never swim alone! o Swim only in supervised areas. o Always walk, never run or skip. o Check the depth of the water before jumping or diving in the water.

Does period blood stop in pool? ›

For some women, the water pressure of a lake or pool can be enough to prevent menstrual flow. However, it's not enough to completely stop it, and while you are in the water, you are usually moving around and causing pressure on the abdominal muscles that may cause some leaking.

What attire is not allowed in swimming pool? ›

Underwear and undergarments are not allowed to be worn under swimsuits. Street clothes (especially cotton) can transport airborne and ultimately water borne contaminants into the pool. Lycra and Nylon are the best non-absorbent material for swimming and are the best fabrics for proper swim attire.

What is allowed to wear in swimming pool? ›

Wear Appropriate Swimwear

No t-shirts and shorts, no cottonwear, no dri-fit gym wear and no lycra tights and tees. Fibres from all of these clog drains and is a big hassle for routine swimming pool maintenance. And yes, a swimming cap is also categorized as appropriate swimming attire.

What are two rules of swimming? ›

It is not permitted to roll onto the back at any time. All movements of the arms shall be simultaneous and in the same horizontal plane without alternating movement. After the start and after each turn, the swimmer may take one arm stroke completely back to the legs.

What are 10 ball rules in pool? ›

Ten-ball (10-ball) is a pool game played with ten balls (1-10) racked in a triangle pattern with the 10-ball in the center. The lowest numbered ball must always be hit first, and all shots must be called (i.e., slop doesn't count). The person who pockets the 10-ball wins the game.

What is the 90 degree rule in pool? ›

What is the 90° rule? The 90° rule states that for a stun shot, where the CB has no top or bottom spin at impact with the OB, the CB and OB separate at 90°, regardless of the cut angle (except for a straight-in shot, in which case the CB stops in place).

What are the butterfly rules in swimming? ›

The rules define the arm as “that part of the body that extends from the shoulder to the wrist.” The butterfly rule states, “Both arms must be brought forward simultaneously over the water.” Both entire arms must recover over the water; the swimmer in question did not comply with this rule.

What order do you swim in? ›

Stroke order

These four strokes go in an order by Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke and finally Freestyle. The swimmer will swim one quarter of the race in each style, in a certain order. The strokes are swum in this order: Butterfly.

Can you tell if someone peed in the pool? ›

There is currently no such urine indicator dye that exists. "Chlorine and other disinfectants are added to a swimming pool to destroy germs. Peeing in a pool depletes chlorine and actually produces an irritant that makes people's eyes turn red," said Michele Hlavsa, chief of the CDC's Healthy Swimming Program.

Are you clean after swimming in a pool? ›

You're not alone, about half of Americans admit they sometimes use their pool as a shower substitute. The problem is that pools don't clean you—just the opposite. If you don't have a shower, with soap, after spending time in the pool, you may suffer some uncomfortable side effects after swimming.

What happens if you accidentally pee in a pool? ›

Cyanogen chloride forms when chlorine from the pool reacts with nitrogen in urine. It acts like tear gas, roughing up the eyes, nose and lungs, and it's classified as an agent of chemical warfare. Predictably, the study quickly resulted in headlines like “Why peeing in the pool is chemical warfare.”

Can you get a UTI from peeing in a pool? ›

A UTI occurs when bacteria travels up the urethra and travels through the urine into the bladder. The offending bacteria can come from icky pool water, not showering after, or from sitting around in a damp bathing suit.

Do you have to shower after swimming? ›

Make sure to rinse your hair and wash your swimsuit after you swim. Showering after you swim will keep your skin from becoming dry. You don't have to worry about picking up a germ, and you'll get rid of that chlorine smell. It only takes a few minutes to shower, so make sure you make it a priority.

Do swimmers absorb pee? ›

Additionally, one question many parents have is: do swim diapers hold urine? Swimming diapers are not meant to hold a baby's pee. The diaper is specially designed to catch solid waste only.

When should you not swim in a pool? ›

Don't swim or let others swim if sick with diarrhea. Shower for at least 1 minute before you get into the water to remove dirt or anything else on your body. Chlorine mixed with dirt, sweat, pee, and poop creates chemicals that make swimmers' eyes red and sting.

What can you catch from a public pool? ›

  • Diarrhea and Swimming.
  • Hot Tub Rash.
  • Ear Infections.
  • Legionella Infections.
  • Red Eyes and Swimming.
  • Lice, Pinworms, and MRSA.

Are public pools safe and clean? ›

Because chlorine does not immediately kill germs (the process can take anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes), it's important for swimmers to avoid swallowing pool water. But the truth is, no amount of sanitizing measures will completely clean out a public pool.

What do we not do in a swimming pool? ›

This is why experts argue that nobody should swim alone, regardless of age. If you're going to have kids of any age in the pool, especially by themselves, make sure there's an adult to supervise. Don't run along the outside of the pool. Slips and falls are one of the most common causes of pool injuries.

What is the number one rule on swimming? ›

Never Swim Alone: The first and most important rule for water safety. Use the buddy system—always. If swimming with small children, ensure they are always within arm's reach.

What are four examples of safety rules that should be followed at a pool? ›

Establish and Enforce Rules and Safe Behaviors
  • Do not enter head first unless in a pool that has a safe diving area.
  • Stay away from drains and other openings that cause suction.
  • Swim with a buddy.
  • Only swim when supervised by a water watcher.
  • Swim sober.

What should swimmers avoid? ›

Foods to Avoid While Training for Swimmers
  • Spicy and fatty foods. Stay away from anything that causes stomach discomfort from gastrointestinal issues like bloating, cramps, and indigestion. ...
  • High fiber foods. ...
  • Sugary foods. ...
  • Cereals and Granola bars. ...
  • Caffeine.


1. SwimGym’s Pool Rules: HOW TO SHARE A LANE?
2. Lap Swimming Etiquette
(Simply Swim)
3. Swimming Pool Etiquette on Sharing Lanes : Swimming Tips
4. Do you know what swim etiquette is?
5. Quick tip: LANE ETIQUETTE for swimming
(AssureFit Coaching)
6. Swimming Lesson 1: Locker room rules
(TYIS Athletics)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Patricia Veum II

Last Updated: 06/16/2023

Views: 5433

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (64 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Patricia Veum II

Birthday: 1994-12-16

Address: 2064 Little Summit, Goldieton, MS 97651-0862

Phone: +6873952696715

Job: Principal Officer

Hobby: Rafting, Cabaret, Candle making, Jigsaw puzzles, Inline skating, Magic, Graffiti

Introduction: My name is Patricia Veum II, I am a vast, combative, smiling, famous, inexpensive, zealous, sparkling person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.