While we are lucky enough that we frequently have three coaches on deck, it will make LETC swim practices even better, more fun and more efficient if we can learn to have some leadership from within each lane.
Lead by example
All swimmers should use a combination of experience and common sense to realize that the way they swim the practice affects everyone in the lane, be that positively or negatively. Someone, usually the first swimmer in a set has to lead by experience. In return, the other swimmers need to support their Lane Leader, politely correcting errors and taking their turn as leaders when they can.
If you are one of the slower swimmers in your lane, do not try to be a hero by leading out your lane during the main set. Doing so will only cause a backlog of angry swimmers behind you. Conversely, if you are one of the faster swimmers, do not start near the back of the lane because you will inevitably have to pass everyone unnecessarily.
Understand the workout
While it should be every swimmer’s responsibility to know the workout, things go much more smoothly if the lane leader understands as they are the person everyone will be following.
The leader of a set is responsible for following the pace of the set set by the coach(es). A good leader will pace the entire lane and won't "blow it out" on the first set and then die on the next ones. Remember, during challenging or longer sets, the leader of the lane will inevitably be working very hard. Even allowing five seconds between swimmers, everyone is usually drafting off the leader. If everyone is swimming at the same speed, trade off the lead every few repetitions rather than trying to pass the leader in the middle of a set.The second swimmer in a pace line can save up to 20% effort relative to the first swimmer and the third swimmer close to 30%!
Timing sets to accommodate all swimmers in the lane
If you have slower swimmers in your lane, add a few seconds to your rest interval to allow them to catch up. This will prevent them from getting exhausted and prevent you from having to pass them. If you as a swimmer are always off the back, drop down a lane. If you are always off the front and way faster than the rest of your lane, move up to a faster lane.
Get out of the way!
It is important to know your time after each effort. This can only be done you can get to finish by reaching the wall at the end of the effort. The lane leaders should finish then move quickly over to the opposite side of the lane... and if there are 3 or more swimmers in the lane move over and out a little from the wall to make room for everyone. Each person following should do the same so that everyone can finish and get an accurate time. If you can't remember to move out of the way go last in the lane. Or have a shower. Or swim in open water only.
Swimming etiquette is tricky but easy to learn. If you want to learn more feel free to read up in these references: