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I used to go lane-swimming in the nineteen nineties. I swam regularly at two pools in the UK; Godalming Leisure Centre and Woking Pool in the Park, but I have also swum at The Lido, Guildford, Farnborough, Walton, Haslemere, Cranleigh, Brentford, Prince Regent, Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings pools. Most had 2-3 lanes for slow, medium and fast swimming but they weren't always available together. My average speed was medium although I could sprint for short periods in the fast lane. My aim was to swim continuously for 55 minutes using all four strokes. Occasionally I used to use swim-fins and hand-paddles which made a nice change and slowed my action down.
In the past I have swum with Guildford City Swimming Club and Godalming Amateur Swimming Club. I prefer Godalming Club as the galas are friendlier and more relaxed. I used to help out poolside but I didn't usually get to compete accept in emergencies! Sessions usually started around 7 p.m.(but Godalming Club had a session that started at 9 p.m.) and lasted an hour or so. The swimming wasn't continuous as in lane-swimming because we stopped for coaching and rests etc. but it was more fun.
I prefer Speedo swimming-trunks but I have swum in Marus and C&As. They are easy to obtain although the quality varies wildly. Speedo Classic goggles are, in my opinion, the best for lane-swimming. The sponge seal works better for me than the plastic. I use their anti-fog spray to help with vision although I have to leave the goggles on to keep the protection throughout a session. I also use a Speedo or Eyeline noseclip because I don't like stinging in the nose during tumble turns. My swim-fins are Plana and hand-paddles Speedo blue. I also use a JPL pull-buoy and Maru kick-board.
I use all four of the main swimming strokes mainly for fitness reasons. I tend to concentrate on style rather than speed and this gives me something to think about if the lanes are busy and I can't swim at my best pace.
I concentrate on smoothness, bilateral breathing and arm action.
I concentrate on body position and smooth action.
I concentrate on strong arm action and symmetrical leg kick.
I concentrate on keeping feet together and smooth arm action.
Lane-swimming has guidelines posted up in some pools although these are not always strictly enforced.
For safety reasons pregnant women shouldn't be allowed in lanes.
Lanes should run in the correct rotation to avoid clashes of arms in parallel lanes.
Generally, you shouldn't swim down the centre of a lane and you should adjust your speed to avoid collisions.
Any lane markers and pool signs should be adhered to and life-guards should be obeyed at all times.
The Amateur Swimming Association is a good organisation for information about the sport. Their address is:-
Harold Fern House
Further information and news can be found at:
Swimming Pool Database
Social swimming network
Nigel Barksfield's Swimming page created 29th May, 2000.