swimming etiquette

Gym-Free Swimming Challenge

Monday I got home a little before noon. Michael was golfing with Charles on the way home from our camping trip so I had the day to do whatever I wanted. I unpacked, did laundry and then headed to my old pool. Being gym-free on swim days are stressful. I didn’t have any other options than to go to Mt. Scott Community Pool. It was where I started swimming to lose weight. It was where I worked really hard to lose over 100 pounds. I have very fond memories of Mt. Scott.


I also have some not so great memories of the place, which I remembered once I was there on Monday to swim. I arrived about 11:45 and was expecting it to be empty. I mean, it was the middle of the day on a work/school day. I paid the drop-in fee and got changed in the locker room. The pool wasn’t packed but it was busy. The whole pool was dedicated to lap swimming. Every lane had at least 2 people in it. I groaned inwardly and remembered what I disliked about community pools: sharing the lane when it was crowded.


I got in the fast lane with two other people already in it and they circle swam. I also remembered another thing I didn’t like about sharing a lane: everyone goes at a different pace. Even being in the fast lane with other fast swimmers, it’s so hard to find the right pacing. I had to slow down and sometimes stop in the middle of the lane because the guy in front of me wasn’t quite faster than me. I know it sounds petty to be annoyed with other swimmers in the lane but it really is hard to find swimmers who are evenly matched in pace. It’s hard to get a good workout when you have to stop a lot or slow to a breast stroke or dog paddle because you’ve caught up to the person in front of you.


Eventually one of the people in my lane left and we didn’t have to circle swim anymore. The rest of my swim was really enjoyable. It brought back fond memories of my time spent there. The pool at Mt. Scott really is a nice one.


By the time I was done with my 1.5 mile swim the lanes were all empty. Can you believe it? I guess I just picked the wrong time to go.


I relaxed in the hot tub and then took a shower. Where I remembered yet another thing I didn’t like about Mt. Scott: the showers. They are small and the water only stays on for about 15 seconds at a time before automatically shutting off.


You wouldn’t think that’s a big deal but it is when you’re in the middle of the shower and your water shuts off every 15 seconds. It’s these little things that remind me why I must have a gym membership somewhere.

Don’t let me discourage any Portlanders from using Mt. Scott, however. It suited my purposes just fine for 3 years. I used to work out in their small gym:


It had treadmills, ellipticals, weight machines and free weights. It was convenient to where I lived and in my price range. The pool is really nice, too. I definitely recommend Mt. Scott to anyone in the area looking for an affordable option. I just moved beyond this place and needed more in a gym.

Swim Stats:
Time: 57 minutes
Calories Burned: 400

Despite my minor annoyances, I was really glad I went and got in a swim session. I love swimming so much–it would be a really hard thing to give up. Until I figure out the gym thing I will probably drop-in to Mt. Scott for awhile.

The other part I disliked about swimming there: it took me two hours on Monday to swim. I had to drive to Mt. Scott, change, swim, sit in the hot tub, shower, dress, and drive home. Two hours? Two hours out of my life. It’s just not a convenient location to go to for me. 🙁

Monday night’s dinner was a quick and easy dinner. I didn’t feel like going big grocery shopping after camping all weekend. I bought a rotisserie chicken from the store and made us salads, complete with tomatoes from our garden.

It was a good, quick dinner when I really didn’t have much motivation to cook.

QUESTION: If you are a swimmer, how do you deal with pacing when sharing a lane with other people?

Lap Swimming Etiquette

I quit going to the community pool (Mt. Scott) last summer when I moved in with Michael. Mostly because I no longer lived near the Mt. Scott pool, but also because I was so annoyed with fighting people for lane space in the pool.

If you are new to my blog, just to bring you up to speed: I lost most of my 100 pounds through swimming. So you can imagine that I was annoyed with people not following the rules! Not only that, there were always swimming lessons, swim teams, water aerobics, and “family swims” taking up more than half the pool. Sometimes there was only one lane open for lap swimmers. Sucky!

So if you are new to swimming, or if you don’t know the general rules of pools, here are some tips:

1. Even if the lanes aren’t marked, there’s usually a “Fast,” “Medium,” and “Slow” lane.

2. Don’t join a lane with fast swimmers if you are a slow swimmer!! This is my biggest pet peeve and it amazes me that people are so clueless about this. When I was a slow swimmer, I was too intimidated to join the fast swimmers.

3. If there are more than two people in a lane, all swimmers need to CIRCLE swim.

4. If you are joining a lane with another swimmer already in it, ask if they prefer to split the lane or circle swim.

5. Try to avoid passing other swimmers if the lane is crowded. If you do pass them, touch their feet to notify the swimmer and PAY ATTENTION to oncoming swimmers.

6. Don’t crowd other swimmers–either swimming too close to the center of the lane, or swimming right on someone else’s tail.

7. Don’t “Water Run” in the same lane as people lap swimming. Find another spot for that.

8. Take a shower before getting into the pool. Don’t swim if you’ve had diarrhea recently or any open wounds. That’s just gross!

9. If you need to rest between laps, move out of the way at the end of the pool to allow people to continue to swim.

10. If someone is trying to pass you, don’t speed up and don’t stop in the middle of the pool.

11. Don’t do the Butterfly if you are sharing a lane!! This is another one of my pet peeves at the pool. It’s incredibly rude to take up the entire lane to do a stroke. Wait until the other person leaves before doing the Butterfly stroke.

QUESTION: Are you a swimmer? Did I leave anything out?