Is It Time for Aquatic Centers to Rethink Lane Allocation?

lap swimming

The Nassau County Aquatic Center features three pools: two 25-meter pools and a 25-yard pool. Occasionally, the center opens up the lanes to create a 50-meter pool during events.

A Crowded Day at the Pool

I knew the lanes were set to 50 meters and that at least four of them would be occupied by master swim groups, leaving only six lanes for the general public. Sharing lanes was inevitable.

A Gracious Swimmer

An older woman initially took the first lane, but after I asked if two of us could join her, she graciously stepped aside, saying, “I’ll leave the 50 meters to real swimmers.”

A Challenging Swim Session

My training partner and I began our workout, but about 1500 meters in, another woman joined our lane. Her swimming technique was far from perfect, and she was moving very slowly. As I tried to maintain my pace, I found myself passing her repeatedly, which became increasingly frustrating.

Eventually, my training partner left for the gym, and I asked the slower swimmer if we could split the lane. She insisted on continuing to circle swim, and another older woman wearing a swim belt joined us, adding to the challenge of navigating the lane. The woman with the swim belt was aqua-jogging in the lane.

A Suggestion for Aquatic Centers

At that moment, I couldn’t help but wonder why the aquatic center didn’t reserve one or two of the 25-meter lanes specifically for recreational swimmers or those wearing swim belts for jogging. This arrangement would prevent their workouts from being disrupted by faster swimmers and create a more enjoyable experience for everyone.

Everyone pays the same fee to access the pool, so it’s unfair for either slower swimmers or those training for an event to have their workouts constantly interrupted.

Please don’t get me wrong here. I love that everyone is swimming at their own pace but if you are in training, it’s difficult to get in your workout in an environment like this.

A Common Issue?

While this may not be a problem at every aquatic center, it’s a frequent enough occurrence that it warrants consideration. I’ve heard similar stories from other swimmers who have faced the same issue.

My suggestion is for aquatic centers to designate specific lanes for recreational swimmers, those wearing swim belts, and those who are training for an event. This would allow everyone to enjoy a peaceful swim session without disruptions.

What are your thoughts? Have you encountered similar challenges at your local aquatics center?