How To Swim Laps & Look Like You Know What You’re Doing

Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Swimming laps in a pool is the ideal cardio workout for people who hate running or using machines. It's easy on your joints, works your heart, and builds strength because the water adds extra resistance, according to the American Council on Exercise. But diving into a lap pool can be intimidating if you don't really know what you're doing, and experience-wise, most of us are somewhere between a kid with arm floaties and the CGI shark that famously raced Michael Phelps.
"At the end of the day it's simple: You get in, swim around, and you'll figure it out quickly," says Katie Meili, a two-time Olympic medalist and Team Speedo athlete. That said, there are a few important etiquette tips that you should keep in mind as a courtesy to other swimmers.
The most important tip? Remember that you can do it. "I hope people aren't discouraged to go swimming because they feel like they don't know what they're doing," Meili says. "The pool is one of those most peaceful places to be." Ahead, Meili explains exactly what to do when you swim laps in a pool — and you don't have to be an Olympian (or a shark) to keep up.

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