Sharing is Caring

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A strange story that my fellow swimmers will especially relate to.  You know how if the lane already has someone in it, you wait on the edge until they swim up and say, “Hey, do you mind sharing?” and the other person always says, “No, that’s fine, of course we can share,” not only because that’s good swimming etiquette, but also because they have to share per the rules?  So asking to share is just a polite way of indicating, “Hey, scoot over” instead of just wordlessly hopping in? 


Today, I asked a guy if he would share the lane with me and he said no!  I had to share with him, so I wasn’t sure what to do next – strangest and most awkward experience ever.  Luckily, the lifeguard came over immediately and told him to move over (maybe he refuses to share regularly?!).  Has anyone else encountered this at the pool?  Someone actually saying no when you ask to share a lane?  I’ve been swimming for a while and shared a dozen lanes and this is the first time it’s happened to me.  I’ve said this before, but I love to share lanes because it makes the water choppier and more like a lake swim. Smile 


All in all, I swam 1,000 yards.  Not bad.  Oh, and Henry had his first gym daycare experience.  Apparently, he loved it.  Toys galore!



Off to get work done… Oh, Monday.



  • Corrie Anne December 3, 2012, 2:49 pm

    That’s crazy!!!! I would have been so shocked, I wouldn’t have known what to do. I don’t swim, but runners are always polite about sharing space – haha. 🙂

    • Caitlin December 3, 2012, 2:50 pm

      I think I literally said, “mehhhhhhhhh???”

  • Cara @ I Don't Believe in Diets December 3, 2012, 2:51 pm

    omg that is so awkward!! that has never happened to me and I have swam a lot, but mostly in high school, which is where no one could say that at all. haha.

  • Emily December 3, 2012, 2:52 pm

    Gym daycare can really be a life-saver!! When my little one was a baby, it really was the only time I had to myself. Glad to hear that Henry is a fan! 🙂

  • Kristy @ Kristy's Health Revolution December 3, 2012, 2:56 pm

    Wow, what a jerk!! I’ve never had that happen. I dread sharing my lane, because I’m afraid I will accidentally kick someone or slap them on a downstroke, but I can’t imagine saying no!

  • Marie December 3, 2012, 2:59 pm

    I have said no before, but just because the lanes at my gym are SO small, trying to swim the butterfly would be dangerous to my lane-partners face if we shared…

  • Stephanie December 3, 2012, 3:07 pm

    Ok – I have to admit I have been the one to say no. I was just learning to swim and was pretty much petrified to put my face in the water and was scared to death I would kick them. And no one else in the pool was sharing yet. I felt awful after I begged the guy to share with someone else and ended up leaving. I got over my fear of sharing but I still don’t like it!

    • Caitlin December 3, 2012, 3:17 pm

      I think I would’ve been fine if someone like you had begged off sharing!! he was just meanie.

  • Coco December 3, 2012, 3:07 pm

    Oh man, I’ve never had someone say no! How rude..

  • Victoria (District Chocoholic) December 3, 2012, 3:14 pm

    I always word it as “do you want to split the sides or circle swim” thereby not giving them the option of non-sharing.

    • Caitlin December 3, 2012, 3:16 pm

      haha nice one.

      • Angie December 3, 2012, 4:18 pm

        Exactly what I do! Sharing is required…

    • Lisa December 3, 2012, 6:53 pm

      I love your wording. 🙂

  • Katie @ Peace Love and Oats December 3, 2012, 3:14 pm

    That’s super awkward! And I actually hate sharing lanes, I spend the whole time worrying that I’ll be too slow or I’ll hit the other person!

  • Amanda December 3, 2012, 3:14 pm

    What the heck? You were trying to be polite. I hate when people are selfish.

    I love the new headband, by the way!

  • Sarah @ Yogi in Action December 3, 2012, 3:20 pm

    Wow- that’s crazy! I can’t believe they said No! How rude!

    I don’t ask if I can share with someone, as I figure the answer has to be yes. Now I don’t want to ask- because I would also be very awkward if they said no. I’ve also never had anyone ask me if I would share- they always just hop in and start going.

    I’m ok with sharing, as long as the person is swimming at about the same level as me. There’s nothing worse than if I’m in the lane titled “Fast” and someone hops in that can barely swim and I end up getting stuck behind them every couple of minutes. They label the lanes by speed for a reason!

  • Emma December 3, 2012, 3:22 pm

    One time I asked someone to share and she said “No, I’m 40 weeks pregnant, I take up the whole lane!”
    I hadn’t realized she was pregnant, but I didn’t mind – I feel like she deserved a lane to herself

  • Kendra @ My Full-Thyme Life December 3, 2012, 3:38 pm

    What would you have done if the lifeguard wasn’t there??? I don’t know if I would have the guts to explain that we HAVE to share or if I would have chickened out. Confrontation isn’t always a fun thing!

    Glad you were able to get your workout in!

  • Barbara December 3, 2012, 3:42 pm

    I dont mind sharing lanes, but this brings up an issue Ive had before and maybe you can answer it for me. Is it acceptable to say no to three in a lane? Im really uncomfortable with three in a lane because I am not a good circle swimmer, and I heard that saying no to three is ok. Do you know the correct etiquette?

    • Caitlin December 3, 2012, 3:45 pm

      I think it depends on your pool rules… but at my pool, you can’t refuse to share regardless if you’re splitting or circle swimming.

  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More December 3, 2012, 3:47 pm

    SO awkward! I’m not a swimmer but I couldn’t imagine that happening. You’d think the person must know the rules…weird.

  • Nicole@ December 3, 2012, 3:59 pm

    hahaha…what a weirdo! I have been swimming for a long time and I have never once had someone say no to me…you should have waited until he started swimming again and did a cannon ball on him.

  • laura December 3, 2012, 4:02 pm

    haha that is totally beyond awkward. people don’t even surprise me anymore with their rudeness. the other day at a coffee shop there were NO seats left and this guy had his briefcase in one. I asked if he wouldn’t mind moving his briefcase so I could sit down, and he said no, it was too nice to be on the floor. Um, okay… so I sat on the floor next to an outlet until I stalked someone leaving…. while he smugly sat there the entire time working away. Seriously? Doesn’t surprise me, though. It’s a brutal, RUDE world out there, haha! I get so surprised when people do nice things for me now!

    • Caitlin December 3, 2012, 4:12 pm


    • Sara December 3, 2012, 4:35 pm

      That is unreal. I would’ve had a hard time not dumping my coffee on his briefcase

    • Susan December 3, 2012, 4:40 pm

      I think I would have gone to management. What gives him the right? He could have put the too-nice-to-be-on-the-floor briefcase on the table! Or on his lap, like a pet puppy.

      • laura December 3, 2012, 9:53 pm

        ha! i agree–surprised he didn’t sit there stroking it, saying, “my precious”

    • Carly December 3, 2012, 5:31 pm

      What a PRICK! ughh I would have been so annoyed!

    • Kari December 3, 2012, 6:29 pm

      Oh my gosh. I would of told him either his nice briefcase could sit on the floor or he could because I was taking that chair.

    • Kim December 3, 2012, 7:13 pm

      That is insane. One chair per customer, so his precious briefcase can sit in the chair and he can sit on the floor.

      • Bobbie December 5, 2012, 2:08 pm

        I agree with Kari. I would have said, “if you think your briefcase is too nice for the floor then I guess you’ll be sitting on it!” Then I would have gotten management if he refused to budge. What is wrong with people????

  • Amber K December 3, 2012, 4:07 pm

    I have no idea what I would have done. Probably stare at him in confusion and awkwardly back away.

  • Carrie @ Fitness and Frozen Grapes December 3, 2012, 4:12 pm

    I went swimming this morning, too! I’ve been swimming for a few months, so I don’t have a ton of experience, but no one has ever responded no to the lane-sharing question–that’s so strange! It sounds like that guy usually says no since the lifeguard went right over.

  • Diana December 3, 2012, 4:20 pm

    The very first time I had to ask someone to share a lane the woman I asked said no and I was so embarrassed that I asked. I stood at the side of the pool so upset for 10 minutes just staring at the pool waiting for someone to leave. I was to intimidated to ask someone else. I almost gave up myself and was going to give up on the swim that day when the gentleman in the lane next to the lady who had declined me gave me his lane and he went in her lane to share because that was his wife! I was seriously mad that she couldn’t move to share a lane with her husband when the pool was full and it says you have to share lanes.

  • Laura @ She Eats Well December 3, 2012, 4:34 pm

    I grew up swimming and though I no longer swim competitively, I still enjoy an occasional lap swim. I have NEVER heard of that and I think it is horrible! Sharing a lane isn’t a big deal. It forces you to swim straight ha! 🙂 Sorry for that awkward situation…!

  • Ellie @ December 3, 2012, 4:47 pm

    I have never had anybody say “no” to me flat out. But, one time I went up and did the normal “Do you mind” thing and the girl in the lane said… “well, I am going to do butterfly and I take up the whole lane.” In my head, I was like, “Well… don’t do the butterfly because I obviously came here to do a work out too and if you do the butterfly, I don’t get to do anything.” But, I kind of just stared for a second with surprise and said “okay”. I swam with somebody else in another lane. No bit deal. But annoying. Especially since she was a lifeguard herself and we had chatted before at the pool!

  • Katie December 3, 2012, 4:49 pm

    Happened to me once. So rude. Same thing: lifeguard came over and told him he had to (and then told me as he swam away that he does that all the time). He also said, “damn high school kids” to me, to which I replied “I am not a high school kid, I am a 25 year old woman (at the time), and even if I was a high school kid, YOU HAVE TO SHARE A LANE!”

  • Beth December 3, 2012, 5:13 pm

    I’m and aquatics director and this happens ALL the time at my pool. We have had to go though a ridiculous amount of customer service training with our lifeguards to help them deal with patrons. Our pool was very quiet but now we have a lot of user groups and sharing is necessary.

    It is ok to say no to 3 🙂 And, always feel free to ask lifeguards for clarification or help, that is their job!

  • Amy @ Eat Workout Succeed December 3, 2012, 5:19 pm

    How rude!!!! I think you can only say ‘NO’ if you own the swimming pool and the pool is in your own back garden!!!

    Poor you, i’m not sure what i would have done… it’s one of those awkward moments isn’t it?

    Well done to the life guard for helping you out, at least if you are in the pool again and the same guy jumps in your lane you can tell him that you’re not sharing LOL!

  • Sarah December 3, 2012, 5:23 pm

    I would be worried the whole time I was swimming past him that he’d peed in the pool because he was mad at me.

  • Caroline December 3, 2012, 5:41 pm

    Haha- that is a weird encounter. I actually really struggle with sharing a lane, but not because I don’t want to. I don’t do the front stroke- I do the breast stroke, and that stroke is really difficult to do while sharing a lane because you take up more than half a lane. I tried once and it ended up really badly. So I can’t really share a lane. Usually someone asking to share a lane means that i end my workout.

  • Steph @321delish December 3, 2012, 5:42 pm

    I had someone say no to me once too!! He followed up with, “I just have a cool down left and then you can have the lane to yourself,” but still!

  • Alett December 3, 2012, 5:58 pm

    OMG! I cannot believe that happened! Admittedly I do try and go to the pool in less busy times to get my own lane BUT! I would never ever say that a person couldn’t share. I mean seriously, if the guy wants his own lane then he needs to buy his own pool!!

    Usually people are very respectful – that being said I’m a little gun shy as they say as the husband and I shared a lane about a year ago and our arms whacked each other so hard that I got a tiny fracture of my hand! He kept on swimming but the initial whack was so hard I thought I’d vomit (I didn’t) plus my hand started to swell up so much I couldn’t swim. LOL.

    • Jacalyn December 3, 2012, 6:40 pm

      “I mean seriously, if the guy wants his own lane then he needs to buy his own pool!!”
      PREACH IT!

  • Michelle December 3, 2012, 6:17 pm

    Man as a new swimmer (read: injured runner) that would have been enough to scare me away forever from the pool. I made my (very patient) roommate come swimming with me every time for two weeks when I first started cause I was scared I wouldn’t know what to do.

  • ChristinaCerritos December 3, 2012, 6:18 pm

    No, but I hate encountering rude people, they’re rare so that’s good. Once I was on vacation, and I asked this seemingly nice passerby to take our pic, abs she said “no! I don’t have time” even though she was still in the same area doing nothing for the next 20 min.

  • Jacalyn December 3, 2012, 6:39 pm

    I’m impressed your pool has a lifeguard! I’ve never swam in a gym pool with a lifeguard. I have never had anyone say no. How awkward. What do you do with no lifeguard and its the last lane to split?

  • Chantal December 3, 2012, 6:51 pm

    I’ve had someone refuse to split and insist on circle-swimming (when there were two of us). The pool rumor was that he could only turn in one direction?! And then a few minutes later when another lane opened up, he left to go be by himself. People are weird.

    I feel like I spend so much time being polite at my own discomfort (I won’t even tilt my seat back on a plane because I hate it when the person in front of me does that!), that I don’t even know how to respond when people are selfish.

  • May December 3, 2012, 6:51 pm

    I have a swim story! Actually I have a couple…
    I’m a rather fast swimmer so I typically swim in the fast lane (we have a big pool with designated lanes for pool running, slow, moderate, or fast). One time I was all alone swimming when suddenly 4 teenagers will in the middle of my lane splashing around. They weren’t even wearing swimming suits! The girl had on a sports bra and shorts and the guys had adidas. They weren’t swimming laps, just splashing around laughing and then STANDING at the shallow end talking, which made it impossible for me to flip turn. After about 20 minutes the lifeguard FINALLY went over and told them to move to the slow lane or start swimming and get out.

    • May December 3, 2012, 6:53 pm

      An another story. I was injured for awhile and couldn’t run so I took up pool running regularly. Like I said, our pool has a designated pool run lane with a sign that says “pool running”. There was an elderly man slowly swimming in that lane so I asked if we could split the lane and he said yes. I started pool running and every time he swam past me, he would lift his head and GLARE at me. We met up once at the end of the pool and he said “excuse me, but you can’t walk around in the pool here. You have to be swimming.” and then it was super awkward because it was clear he didn’t know that pool running was an actual thing. I think he thought I was just effing around or something.

  • Lisa December 3, 2012, 6:52 pm

    I’ve NEVER had someone say no. I’ve wanted to say no a few times when someone joined my lane that did horribly annoying things (like doing the butterfly and taking up the entire lane). What a rude guy!

  • Elise @ Expeditions of Elise December 3, 2012, 7:04 pm

    That sort of thing is why I’m really afraid to go swim at the gym! I used to swim when I was younger and tried to do swim team in high school (but couldn’t because I was too busy during the season.) Now that I’m running regularly, I think swimming would be a good cross-training. Any suggestions for getting over my fear of looking like an amateur?

  • Nicole N. December 3, 2012, 7:18 pm

    I have never had that happen! I’ve even had 2 people offer to share a lane with me and we had 3 people share. It worked out great and it was a lot of fun.

  • Karlee December 3, 2012, 7:34 pm

    how rude! that would have scared me!

  • Helena December 3, 2012, 8:43 pm

    The rudeness of some people is unbelievable. I was in a coffee shop recently and there was a girl with an ADORABLE baby daughter who had Downs Syndrome. And some total a**hole walked up to her and asked if she could take her baby elsewhere because “people are trying to eat”.


  • Ashley @ This Is The Place December 3, 2012, 8:54 pm

    So weird. I hate sharing lanes because it makes things choppier but I would never say no!! Well I would if there was still an empty lane…but obviously you wouldn’t ask if there was an empty lane.


  • Jenny @ For Your Consideration December 3, 2012, 9:44 pm

    Wow! That’s crazy. I’ve never had anyone refuse to share a lane before. I have, however, had to share lanes with people who seemed to be oblivious to my presence, and just splashed about as if I wasn’t there. I once had a guy kick me 3 times. When I stopped to yell at him, he acted like I was being unreasonable. Now that I’m pregnant, I am super vigilant about watching out for these people.

  • Liz December 3, 2012, 11:13 pm

    Wow, what a jerk!
    It’s funny, I never knew that asking to share a lane was a thing. I always just hop in and start swimming. I lifeguarded for several years and never saw people ask others either. But then I have always swam (and worked) at very busy pools, so having your own lane would be extremely rare. The pool I worked at usually would have 3-4 people per lane, circle swimming and it always seemed to work out.

  • kat December 4, 2012, 12:11 am

    ha, what a freakshow! I am also enjoying a lovely view of a roaring fire and x-mas tree, but sadly, no dachsie 🙁

  • Lauren @ SassyMolassy December 4, 2012, 12:57 am

    Oh gosh, that is so awkward. I can’t even imagine saying that to someone! Way to get your workout in anyway.

  • Nicole December 4, 2012, 3:19 am

    O no, that literally made me lol! I really feel for you, as have had experiences like that and it’s literally just like “no” *crickets chirping while you dumbly stare at said person blankly* thank god the life gaurd came over!! In saying that, that etiquette is totally foreign here as you always share lanes no matter what – lanes are just split into slow, medium and fast speeds and that’s it! (though introduces the problem of people swimming in the fast lane when they’re supppppper slow!)

  • Laurie December 4, 2012, 5:22 am

    I’m a regular reader but had to weigh in with my first time comment (Hi!) because this post momentarily mortified me! I have NEVER asked anyone if I could share their lane – I just plop in and carry on my merry way. I had no idea that there was actual requesting-to-lane-share etiquette and suddenly felt so bad for breaking the rules on a regular basis! But then I thought about it, and realised that no one has ever asked me if they could share my lane either. I guess maybe it’s because in the UK there are so few pools and each pool has so few lanes that there’s usually 3+ in each lane and it’s a necessity to share so it’s not even a question (plus when there’s more than one person in the lane already, do you wait and ask each swimmer in turn if they mind?). Or it could just be that we are not as polite as you guys! Nevertheless, thank you for bringing it to my attention – I will be sure to ask next time. And they’d better not say no!

    • Caitlin December 4, 2012, 6:59 am

      I don’t think you HAVE to ask. But you definitely can’t refuse!!

  • Jen December 4, 2012, 5:38 am

    This is one of my biggest pool-related fears! Also, I’m super jealous that your son did well at the pool / gym daycare. My 16-month-old struggles with it right now, which I don’t understand – it has the greatest toys! Alas, this type of logic is lost on him.

  • Nikki December 4, 2012, 9:02 am

    I had that same thing happen to me a few weeks ago! The pool was super busy at 5:30am, and I asked an older “regular” man if I could share a lane with him. There were a few open lanes at one end of the pool that were reserved (for Master’s practice) and he said “Why don’t you go down there?” the lifeguard and I explained why I couldn’t and he threw his hands up, huffed loudly and swam off!!! The lifeguard said “screw that guy!” and I asked another swimmer if I could share (he obliged, thankfully!).

    I’m super shy and I hate having to ask to share as it is, so that experience really shook me! What a jerk! Now I’m sure to get to the pool shortly after 5am so that I can get my own lane 🙂

  • Amanda K. December 4, 2012, 1:06 pm

    i don’t love sharing lanes with other people (but i’d NEVER say no!! come on!!) but i really like our optimistic outlook that the waves make it more like open water swimming — i’m going to adopt that line of thinking 🙂

  • Caitlin December 4, 2012, 5:56 pm

    Karma. Next thing you know that guy will be looking to get a swim in and will have to share a lane and maybe you’ll be the one he chooses to ask. And I bet you’ll be the bigger person and say yes. What a jerk!

    This is similar to asking someone if you can work in while doing weights at the gym- everyone says yes!

  • Sarah W. December 4, 2012, 7:04 pm

    I’ve never had anyone say no, but a couple weeks ago I did have a woman who wanted to join my lane ask if we could split the sides and if I would take the wall side. She said she had bad experiences with bigger people making such a wake she hit the wall. She said that she’s never done it to anyone else, nor that she thought I would have done it to her (I’m pretty petite), but that was her preferred side if I didn’t have a preference.

  • courtney December 5, 2012, 8:51 am

    I have had someone say no. I also have had someone say no to circle swimming. In that case I told her she didn’t really have a choice because it was busy, and I hopped in. More often I have people who avoid stopping at the end so they don’t get asked to share. Then I’ll just hop in and make sure they see me. The gym I swim at only has usually 3 lanes for lap swimming so sharing a lane is pretty much guaranteed. And mandatory! The rules are posted.

    The worst experience I had was with 2 ladies who pretended not to speak english come into my lane and then float and talk (they weren’t swimming laps either) right next to each other and wouldn’t move over when I came through. I actually had to swim right into them more than once. Luckily the lifeguard stepped in on that one and made them move.

    My gym has made me the mean lap swimmer who will swim right through you if she needs to. ha. But when splitting a lane with a normal polite person I am extremely polite, not doing fly or breast kick when they’re going by, giving lots of space and not doing a flip turn if they’re hanging at the wall.

    I like what a PP said, to ask “do you want to split the lane or circle swim?” I’m going to try that from now on.

  • Nadiya December 7, 2012, 4:51 pm

    Haha! I’ve had it happen at the pool in my condominium. I think it was more that the lady though I was under 18 and it was during adult swim times. -.- She wouldn’t believe me when I told her I was 20… It was awkward but I went swimming anyways.

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