One of the concepts that is used worldwide in all community and club swimming pools and in India as well, is the concept of “specific lane swimming”. Specific lane swimming in fact maximizes the use of the swimming pool and more optimally uses every square footage/yardage of the pool area.
How? Say we have a pool of 25 yards with 5 lanes, each lane about 4 feet wide. Now say if you had two swimmers, (lets call them A and B in this example) swimming laps; each occupying about a 2 feet width. Now if each of those (A & B) swam “parallel” to each other (one besides the other) and did laps going in a straight line and returning back, there would be two swimmers using 4 feet of width area, about the width of one lane in this hypothetical pool. Thus a pool with 5 “non-specific lanes” would accommodate 10 swimmers doing laps, and any more would create inconvenience.
Now say the same pool put in “specific lanes” (meaning actually putting in the lane ropes and demarcating the lanes) and A and B did their laps “in lane formation” i.e. say they were both in lane 1, but went from the left of the lane and returned from the right side of the same lane (one after each other i.e. one behind each other); each leaving the shallow end at an interval of say 10 seconds; then instead of just A and B using that lane, suddenly 8 additional people – C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J + can also go on intervals of 10 seconds and use the SAME WIDTH of the pool. Thus in effect, if there were 5 lanes with 10-12 swimmers doing laps, you would in fact have 50-58 swimmers maximizing the pool yardage, instead of the 10 in the “non-specific lane-swimming” example earlier.
Now of course not everyone is lap training and so usually most clubs and community pools, block off half of the pool for lap training (at specific hours) and the other half of the pool for…non lap people or for recreational use.
A pool that follows “specific in-lane training and discipline” (by specific, I mean puts in the ropes and identifies an area where people can use the lane in que format), is in fact maximizing its yardage/footage. Most, if not all club/community pools around the world have this system. Of course this maybe new for some premium South Mumbai clubs (mentioned only since I live there -:)), but clubs like Otters, Khar Gym, NSCI, MCA (all established Mumbai clubs) etc. have been following this practice for years. In Australia, US, UK and most University campuses around the world, this is an age-old common practice. Even in pools around India this is common.
The problem is, our mind fools us repeatedly. When we see half the pool blocked off for lap training we think, oh we only get only half the pool?? When exactly the opposite has happened – you have maximised your pool. What has happened, is that a more democratic use of the pool has taken place and a larger number of swimmers are actually benefiting. If your pool does not have lap training lanes, go and ask for one!