There are few things more annoying than trying to get in a good swim workout in a pool full of idiots. In order to promote world peace and harmony and in an attempt to improve the overall workout environment for everybody, we have listed some basic etiquette that all swimmers should follow when in 'da pool' or even during a race.
Read Signs. Most pools put up signs that tell you what kind of swimmers should enter each lane. Follow the directions Sometimes these signs will post the etiquette policies right there. Follow what they say!
Lane Selection. Don't kid yourself about your skills. If you stink, swim in the slow lane. If you are good but are worse than all the people in the good lane, then swim in the next one down. If there is a lane empty, go swim there, regardless. If another swimmer comes who is of the proper caliber for the lane you are in, then switch to the one you belong in.
When you get ready to join a lane, let the people in the lane know you are coming. If they aren't stopping, dip your feet in the lane while you sit on the side so that they they can see you coming. Never just dive or jump in in front of another swimmer without their prior knowledge that you are coming. Try to slide into the water and stand on one of the far sides of the lane--not the center.
Circle. When you enter a lane with one person in it already. Ask that person what their preference is for swimming with two people, circle or side by side. If they don't stop, see what pattern they swim in as you stand in their lane off to the side. If they begin to circle, you know your answer. If they don't give you a clue, then you are free to do whatever you want because they have no clue, or no manners, or both. We like to do the ol' fly-by. Swim nice and close to them at high speed to get their attention. Then dictate the flow of traffic.
Unless it says otherwise, always swim on the right side of 'the road'. Also, if circle swimming, always leave at least 5 seconds between you and the person ahead of you. Leave as much time as possible to where you can both swim with as much distance between you as possible. Drafting is not permitted during lap swim, especially with people you don't know.
Passing. If two or more well-mannered, observant swimmers are sharing a lane, passing should be easy. As you see someone overtaking you, move as far over as possible and slow down a little if necessary to let the swimmer by. If you are the overtaker, get to their left and pass them quickly.
If the person ahead of you doesn't see or care that you are coming, give them a little tap on the foot, and they should slide over a bit. If that still doesn't work, run them down. Also, don't start to race just to avoid being passed--especially if you are being passed by a girl. Nothing pisses off the passer more than a scrub trying to prove his or her short term prowess. If someone is passing you, it is because you were swimming slower, not because he or she is a better person than you.
In an open water swim, tap the person on the foot to pass. If they don't make an attempt to move and you cannot get around them, either try again or go over them. Don't just swim over everyone in your way. And, if you feel a tap, be gracious and slide over a bit to let them through. Also, be understanding that at certain times during the race, that person in front of you could be stuck behind others. Don't drown someone who cannot get out of your way.
The Wall. When standing at the wall please stay on the sides to allow people still swimming to keep swimming and turning. When you stop, move immediately to the side. Always leave enough room on the center of the wall to allow for turns by other swimmers.
Be Adaptive. Don't start doing 25 yard or meter sprints while everyone else is doing slow distance sets, unless there is plenty of room. Don't start doing butterfly or your crooked backstroke until you are sure it won't get in anyone's way. Try to adapt your workouts to the surroundings if possible.
Always treat your fellow swimmers with the same respect you would expect them to give to you.