My exercise is swimming, and also it’s an important part of my day. I track mine distance. Typically I swimming a mile or so. Come swim a mile in a 25-yard pool, you need to make 36 round trips.

You are watching: How long is one lap in a pool

I say this as, “36 laps.” The authorize at my pool states a mile is 36 laps.

I to be listening come the exactly how to Do whatever podcast, and also they had a question around whether a lap is once across a pool, or there and back. I smugly believed to myself, “there and also back, of course.”

To prize the question, lock asked Natalie Coughlin, an Olympic swimmer, that said,


In swimming, the lap describes swimming from one end of the pool to the next. Without a doubt, it’s one end of the pool to the other. It’s not ago and forth.


What!? exactly how does this do sense? We already have a word for one end to the other, “a length.” space we yes, really going to usage both native to mean the very same thing, and then have no word because that there and also back?

In any type of other sport, a lap takes you from a starting point, out some distance, and also then back to where you started. Why should swimming be different? I believed this was claimed to be an erudite sport?

Looking because that a higher authority, ns consulted the glossary in ~ USA Swimming:


Thanks a lot... This definition both exposes the absurdity, by specifying lap to mean exactly “a length,” and also then throws the end there the some people use the word differently (in the advantageous way), so we really don’t know what we’re talk about.

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Can we carry out something about this? Can’t the cosmos make simply a little an ext sense?

#language #swimming»  19 reaction
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Matt: wow, I had actually never also heard of a swimmer"s mile. 36 round-trips in a 25-yard swimming pool is 5400 feet, which is slightly much more than an really 5280-foot mile. :)
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girlfriend should call swimming around the entirety circumference of the swimming pool a "lap", to be an ext consistent through running, and additionally swim that method to annoy everyone else in the pool immensely.
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I think *part* that the confusion is because a large portion of compete swimmers train (most the the time) in 25 meter pools, however compete (most that the time) in 50 meter pools. For this reason 1 size of racing == 1 lap that training.s/25 meters/25 yards if "Muricah
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Alexandre: this is an interesting point, and also might provide some hope the there is at the very least a modicum that logic somewhere in here.
because that a slightly various perspective, i did a many amateur competitive swimming in my teens, and also length always meant come the other finish of the pool. I don"t recall lap gift used, though as soon as I read your article for some factor I assumed of swimming across, fairly than along, the pool.
Forgot come mention, but that"s in brother (not that i have any kind of idea if my experience is representative).
because of the confusion, I practically always use the word "length" and also forgo the word "lap". Once I to be on swimming team "lap" and also "length" were constantly synonymous, however.