Swimming Pool Etiquette

Winter is cold and wet in Denmark, making the prospect of doing any sort of exercise outside, such as walking or running, very easy to resist. Sitting at home is not good for anyone’s health, so we have decided on swimming as an alternative form of exercise during these cold winter months.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I would say swimming pools are not my natural habitat. I grew up swimming in the sea, and probably graced the depths of a swimming pool not more than 5-10 times in my life, none of which I distinctly remember. I also grew up in quite a conservative Catholic country.So imagine my surprise when I turned up at the pool first time!

  1. You need to shower with your clothes off. No idea WHY wearing a swimming suit while bathing is bad, but it is. Very bad. Or so I have been told.
  2. Shoes stay next to the door. Take them off as soon as you get in and don’t wear them until just before you leave.
  3. Wash yourself properly before entering the pool. With the given soap. Yeps, there’s even pictures of how you should wash in case you are confused.

So far, these are the rules I have gleaned from looking at others. All signs are in Danish, so it is a bit of a challenge to figure them out, especially since I don’t wear glasses when in water so cannot see anything much around me! Oh, and did I mention that Michael didn’t think of enlightening me beforehand? He left me to walk into a room full of Danes glaring at me with no information. Thanks huh!

Other than that I am enjoying swimming ‘for exercise’. I have always seen swimming as a leisurely activity to do with friends in summer, so it is a bit of a change. Couple this with me never having learnt how to swim besides being plonked in the sea as a kid and floating, and everyone around me being super swimmers with all the right technique, and I can say it has been an interesting experience.

Have I missed any rules or norms? Have you found any rules surprising yourself?

4 thoughts on “Swimming Pool Etiquette

  1. LeneNJ

    Hej Ann,
    the rules of washing yourself properly before entering the pool are there for a very good reason: The more clean everybody is, before they get into the pool, the better(cleaner) is the water quality. This means in turn, that they can put less chlorine in the water. That is better for all of us (red eyes, allergic reactions etc). When a swimming pool really smells bad of chlorine it is because the water is dirty. (e.g. someone peed in it).
    If you wear your swimsuit while showering, you don’t get as clean as you should. Also – the bacteria on you before showering then gets into the swimsuit and does not get washed off.

    As a typical Dane it get a little angry every time I see someone not showering properly, because it is bad for all of us, when they have to raise the chlorine levels.
    These are all things that are not necessary, when you swim in the sea – but it’s so cold 😉

    And while we are at it:
    If you head into the sauna, there are also a few rules, that unfortunately are not written anywhere:
    – DON’T bring your slippers, swimsuit, etc into the sauna (they are full of bacteria)
    – sit on a towel and make sure your body does not touch the wood (also the feet – bring a large towel, so you don’t sweat on the wood)

    Good luck swimming next time! 😉

    1. Ann Post author

      HMM – OK. Based on this maybe I should just not bother? I don’t understand how washing with water just coming from a fixed point on top of you can actually get you clean either…but that is OK?

      1. LeneNJ

        What do you mean “not bother”? You should definitely follow the “rules” and shower without swim-gear and use soap.
        I never use our bathtub at home, but believe I get clean enough everytime I take a shower. Don’t you?

  2. Jerry

    You may get angry, but it is impolite not to make clear the rules – say with simple signs – to guests in your country. Oh and by the way, the etiquette differs in different countries.


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