Skip Nav

The Skinny on Swimming Terms

If you feel like you're underwater when it comes to pool distances, swimming lingo, and lane etiquette, then here is a short primer for you. I have put together a few swimming terms to help you navigate poolside life.

Distances
  • Length = Swim one length of the pool
  • Lap = Swim down and back, or two lengths
  • Swimmers mile = 1500 meters or 1650 yards
  • 30 laps in the 25 meter lanes
  • 33 laps in the 25 yard lanes

Lingo

  • Split a lane: Two swimmers share a lane, splitting the lane down the middle.
  • Circle: When three or more people share a lane, they swim down one side of the lane and back on the other. At most pools this is done in a counter clockwise direction.
  • Pull: Put a buoy between your legs and just use your arms to "pull" yourself through the water.

Learn some etiquette too.
Etiquette

  • Wait at least five seconds before starting after another swimmer.
  • Pay attention to who is swimming with you, if you have swimmers hot on your tail, pause at the wall so they can pass.
  • Before you enter a lane with two other swimmers, make sure they both know that it is time to circle. Not only is this courteous, but it can prevent head on collisions as well.
  • Pass slower swimmers at the wall instead of mid-lane.
Source: Getty
Latest

Download our new Selfie app!

+