Today, we are going back to reform school to learn proper lane etiquette.
It is rare to get a lane by yourself unless you are so fast that you intimidate anyone who might consider hopping in next to you, have your own pool, or break in at night to your local Y so that you get your workout in (I would neither condone nor condem this last action). Therefore, the responsible triathlete and novice swimmer (experienced swimmers know how to swim in groups since they have been doing it for years during team practices) need to learn how to swim nicely and safely with others.
Rule #1: Swim in circles
Even if you start alone in the lane, by the end of your swim, chances are that others will join you. Therefore, swim in cirlces so that others can hop into the rotation without having to stop you.
Rule #2: Chose the right lane.
Many pools rank the lanes on speed. Follow these reccomendations because no one likes a really fast swimmer in a slow lane or a really slow one in the fast lane. If you do find yourself out of your league (or lane in this case) do not be affraid to move up or down. There is no shame in it! Even if the fast lane is completely empty while the medium lane has only two people already swimming in it, stay with the medium lane.
Rule #3: Pass it on.
When passing someone, simply tap his/her feet to alert him/her of your prescense, then speed past until you are about 1 meter fully ahead then quickly cut back in. To avoid a collision, though, make sure that no one is coming down the other side (this is a perfect time to test your sighting skills). Moreover, do not try to pass on a flip turn!
Rule #4: Let them pass
When someone is passing you, please let him/her pass. If you notice that the swimmer behind you is tailgaiting then stop at the next wall and move to the side to allow him/her to breeze by. When getting passed in the middle of the lane, slow down, allow them to pass quickly, and do not try to race them. If you are getting passed multiple times then it is time to move lanes.
Rule #5: drill sets and cool downs
When doing long drill sets, kick sets, or very slow cool down it may be wise to move to a slower lane to allow the fast swimmers to continue their workout without ramming into you.
Overall, just be aware of your surroundings, know your pace, and be curtious of others.
Please do not give triathletes a bad rep in the pool; we are already made fun of because of our goofy one pieces and bulky swim watches.