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Lane swimming etiquette amidst COVID-19

Lots has changed in the last six months, including lane swimming rules - written and unwritten

lane swimming

Swimming pools are beginning to open across the country. While many will air on the side of caution, which is good – there is no rush to get back to the pool. There will be others that will be diving into a local pool the first chance they get. Here is an explanation of the ‘new’ written (and unwritten) rules of lane swimming etiquette amidst COVID-19. 

lane swimming COVID-19

Related: Swim Training post-COVID: Getting back to the pool

Sign up and be on time. Swimming at your local pool looks a lot different now. Signing up doesn’t just allow facilities to monitor the number of people on their grounds, but it also enhances contract tracing protocols in case an individual is to test positive.

Obey municipal signs around the pool and other facilities. This is a given, but it should be still be said. Now after months of news and repetition of municipal, provincial and federal guidelines, make sure to stay informed.

lane swim COVID-19
Ironman 70.3 swim start. Photo: Jan Hetfleisch/Getty Images for IRONMAN

Related: What not to do when lane swimming

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Wear a mask when not in the water. While you’re walking through the locker room, going to the bathroom or walking on the deck, wear a mask. This is the new normal.

If you’re planning on using a kickboard, flippers, snorkel, pull buoy or paddles, bring your own equipment. If you don’t have the equipment you need now is the time to invest. By bringing your own equipment you have control over what comes into contact with it and are able to do your own disinfection. 

Clean your swimsuit and equipment before and after use. Hygiene is essential.

Shower before and after entering the pool. Before COVID-19, swimmers could jump into the pool without a care in the world, despite signs saying to shower beforehand. While now it is best you do both – before and after.

Related: The six unwritten rules of the lap swim

Complete screening forms when you sign up and enter the swim facilities. Complete these honestly. 

lane swimming covid-19
Sample checklist from the City of Toronto. Other questions include if you’ve come into contact with someone who has contracted COVID-19 and if you’ve traveled outside of Canada in the last 14 days.

Stay home if you’re sick. Even if you suspect that it isn’t coronavirus, play it safe and respect others at the pool. Races aren’t happening this year, you can afford to miss a swim. 

If something appears to be unsafe or against the guidelines, voice your concern to managing staff. You don’t need to make a big deal or simply bring it to the attention of the lifeguard.

And, of course, Do not pee. Peeing in your wetsuit before an Ironman is understandable, but don’t do it in a public pool.