A Guide to the Rules and Etiquette Squad Training

If you've never swam with a squad before it can be a bit daunting to be put in a lane with 6 experienced swimmers. Here is a basic guide to the rules and etiquette of squad training.

Clockwise Rotation:

  • In our squad we always swim in a clockwise rotation. This basically means you always keep as far as practically possible to the left. The lane centreline is much like the centre line on a road, dividing traffic going either direction.

Starts, Turns and Finishes:

  • It is generally appropriate for each swimmer to start ten seconds after the person in front. The lead swimmer in the lane, or the coach will specify a time on the clock when he or she will start. Each swimmer thereafter watches the clock so as to push off at ten second intervals.
  • You should not start just before a swimmer coming towards you is about to touch the wall, unless you a certain he or she is not continuing on another lap.
  • When approaching a turn, after you pass the swimmer ahead of you, move to the centre of the lane to turn at the wall, after which you return to the left hand side.
  • If you are stopping at the wall, keep to the left of the lane. This swimmers behind you a clear turning area. Once stopped, move to the left of the lane(when facing down the lane). This keeps the finish and turn area clear.


  • Always keep track of where the swimmer ahead and behind you are. At turns you can see what the distance is.
  • If you are close to being overtaken, slow down and keep to the far left to enable the overtaker to get back to the correct side of the lane as soon as possible
  • If you feel the person behind you touching your feet as you swim, you should stop as soon as practical to allow them to pass. The wall is a good location to do so, continue on the left as if stopping to allow the overtaker to pass.
  • If you are catching the swimmer ahead, think carefully about overtaking. Once you pass the person you will no longer have the benefit of their slipstream to aid your speed. You may find you do not have the speed to overtake or keep ahead of the swimmer.
  • If overtaking always keep as far left as possible and lift your head to check for oncoming swimmers.

Lane Order:

  • The order of swimmers is determined by the coaches and the swimmers in the lane.
  • If you believe you will be slow on a particular item in the program, allow other swimmers to go before you
  • If a faster swimmer is waiting at the wall when you are ready to start a set, ask the faster swimmer if he or she wishes to go ahead of you.
  • When promoted to a faster lane, always start at the end of the order unless invited to move ahead.

There are many other unwritten rules of etiquette in swimming, but this basic guide should help you get started.