Pool Impropriety Distresses Wylie

The Mail

To the Sports Editor of the Crimson:

We might rejoice that the swimming pool has become so popular, if it did not mean that the pool is more crowded than it has ever been. This unpleasantness might be more tolerable if all swimmers adopted the protocol that 95 per cent of them customarily follow. (Except after 5:30 p.m., when the rule of the jungle alone applies. Swim at your own risk.)

Protocol for the Use of the Swimming Pool

According to overwhelmingly universal custom, swimmers swim lengths, not widths of the pool.

Each swimmer has his own lane, indicated either by chains or by a course clearly plotted as customary by other swimmers, and should adhere strictly to his course.


The pool is for serious swimming only. Lolling, loitering on the ladders, fondling and other forms of country club pool behavior interfere with serious swimming and are taboo. (Why not set up the Radcliffe pool with sunlamps, coke machines, chaises longues, etc., so that it would attract people who associate swimming with dating?) Tag, king-of-the-raft, horseplay and other forms of activity appropriate in YMCA and public swimming pools are limited to Saturday morning.

People who monopolize lanes for hours by swimming endless lengths side-stroke in the mistaken belief that they are exercising should use the small pool when the big pool is crowded. (They should also read a little paperback entitled Aerobics). Most swimmers get excellent exercise by swimming hard for 10 to 20 minutes, so that the turnover of swimmers may be more rapid.

Only nylon tank suits are allowed in the pool.

All swimmers must take a shower before swimming. (For some unfathomable reason this rule is customarily not observed by members of the swimming team.)

(I understand that the authorities are about to accept the suggestion of this rule: All swimmers--male and female--should wear a swimming cap.)

If the pool gets even more crowded, so that the situation becomes really impossible, other regulations might be useful. The pool could be opened at 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. Swimmers training for the Boston lighthouse swim or sidestroke marathon swimmers should be encouraged to use the pool in off-hours. With five minutes instruction, most swimmers could vastly improve the efficiency of their exercise and would need less time.

Of course the real answer is to provide more facilities. It is rumored that the University has turned down gift money for such a building. If so, what a pity.

The pool is not just an athletic frill. It is a sort of extension of the University Health Services. There are people who have been seriously advised by their doctors to swim regularly but who shun the pool because it is so crowded. Laurence Wylie   Dillon Professor of the   Civilization of France

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