How Many Swimming Laps are in One Mile?
skip to main content

How Many Swimming Laps are in One Mile?


How many lengths of a swimming pool is a mile? Swimming a mile is, well, a milestone! But how many laps are in a mile, anyway? The answer to that depends on two things: how you define a mile and the length of your pool.

Use Our Calculations and Get Back to Training

The overly-simple answer is this:

  • To swim 1650 yards in a pool measuring 25 yards you would need to do 66 lengths of the pool
  • In a pool measuring 50 yards you would need to do 33 lengths.
  • You can use the same calculation for a 25 meter pool (66 lengths to swim 1650 meters, or 33 length of a 50 meter pool)
Definition of a mile
(in yards or meters)
# of laps of a 25 yard or 25
meter pool in one mile
# of laps of a 50 yard or 50
meter pool in one mile
1500 60 30
1650 66 33
1760 70.4 35.2

In short, you divide one mile by the length of your pool. But, as usual, the devil is in the details. Let’s look at our equation: one mile/pool length = # of laps in a mile.

Define a "Mile”

What is a mile anyway? Ask a simple question, get a complicated answer. The definition of a mile will vary depending on who you ask. Here’s what various people will tell you.

  • Ask a scientist: Technically, a mile equals 1760 yards and 1609.3 meters.
  • Ask an open water swimmer: In open water, a mile is a mile. If your aim is to swim a mathematically-accurate mile and your pool is measured in yards, divide 1760 by the number of yards in your pool. If your pool is measured in meters, divide 1609.3 by the length. 
  • Ask a pool-swimmer about training: For training purposes, most competitive swimmers and their coaches think of a mile as 1650 meters (remember, a mile is technically 1609.3 meters). But here’s where it gets admittedly weird: competitive swimmers also tend to call 1650 yards a mile, as well. Yes, technically this is 90 yards short of a mile. 
  • Ask a pool-swimmer about a meet: In competitive swimming the “mile” event in a meet is either 1500 meters or 1650 yards, depending on whether the pool is measured in meters or yards.

If, like many people, you are swimming a mile in preparation for swimming the “mile” event in a meet, use 1650 as your mile-marker, regardless of whether your training pool is yards or meters, and you will have plenty of endurance to last until the last lap of your race. 

Pool Length

Once you have defined what you mean by “a mile” (probably 1650 meters or yards), you need to determine how long your pool is. This is about as simple as it sounds.

Most lap pools are 25 yards, 25 meters or 50 meters. Less common are 50-yard pools.

Even less common but still around are some mathematically difficult lengths: 33.3 meters, for example. Just ask an employee at your local pool what the length is or look it up in our pool locator if you are not sure.

Not sure how long your backyard pool is? Here’s an easy, not-so-technical way to measure your pool. Get a friend and a long, water-friendly tape measure. Jump in the water and put the 0-inches end of the tape against the wall at one end. Hold it there while your friend pulls the tape to the opposite end of the pool and reads what it says against the far wall.

Once you have determined how you want to measure a mile and how long your pool is you are ready to do some simple math.

Amazingly True Story

A 50-meter pool built before the invention of touch-pads is no longer 50-meters long when the touch-pads are IN the pool. Records set in so-called “short” pools cannot count as records.

Before a major international competition, meet organizers discovered this very problem. With touch-pads in the water, the pool was 1 cm short of 50 meters. With hundreds of swimmers set to arrive in a matter of days, the facility drained the pool, shaved 1cm off the wall, re-plastered the shaved surface, and re-filled the pool, with only hours to spare. The benefit of such frenzied, last-minute construction: over 100 new world records were set that week.

 

Do Some Math

Now that you have your definition of a mile and the length of your pool, plug your numbers into the formula below. Just make sure the units you are using are consistent. For example, if your pool is measured in yards, use a number of yards as your definition of a mile (1760 or 1650, most likely).

(Your definition of a mile) / (the length of your pool) = (# of laps you need to swim to swim a mile)

Define a "Lap”

The old-school, technically-probably-correct definition of a “lap” is two lengths of the pool: down and back. Linguistically this makes sense: when you “lap someone” you have swum two lengths of the pool to catch up to them. However, in practice, it is far more common for people to say “laps,” and mean “lengths.” In the chart, we have used the “one lap means once across the pool” definition.

Take the Easy Way Out

If you have a training watch designed for swimming you can pair it with the swim.com app to track how many laps you are swimming and in turn how far you swam.

Email Address Invalid. Please enter an email address in the format: xx@yy.zz
 
Keith foster
1 month ago.
Hi our pool is 25m and I want to do a mile how many lengths do I have to do
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hello Keith,
A mile in your pool will be about 64 lengths or 32 laps.
Fiona
1 month ago.
Hi, I have just signed up to the swim a mile challenge and want to train in my usual pool which is 18metres in length. How many lengths would I need to swim to complete a mile? Thanks
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hello Fiona,
You will need to swim just under 90 lengths to complete a mile.
Anne
4 months ago.
I am doing a 100 mile swim by end of year. It is a 25 yard pool. I am at 45 miles and I want to figure out between now and December how much and how often I would need to swim until the end of the year to meet this goal. For example, how many laps per swim session. Thank you!
Swimoutlet.com
4 months ago.
Hello Anne!
First of all, there are 11 weeks left in the year starting next week so you would need to swim 5 miles a week to meet your goal. One mile by scientific definition is going to equal a little over 35 laps (down and back) or 70 lengths of your pool. So if you swim 5 days a week you would need to swim 35 laps a day. If you swim 3 days a week you could swim 35 laps twice a week and then 17.5 laps once a week. We hope this was helpful!
Anne Savitsky Blondin
2 months ago.
Hi I am near the end of this. At close to 90 miles. I want to wrap this up before Christmas. What would you suggest for my remaining 3 days? (ideally 2)

Thanks!
Swimoutlet.com
2 months ago.
If you want to wrap it up in 2 days, just swim 105 lengths of your pool each day!
kristen
4 months ago.
In a 50 meter pool how many lengths must I swim to complete 1 mile?
thanks
SwimOutlet
4 months ago.
Hello Kristen!

In a 50 Meter Pool you would need to swim 30 lengths to complete 1 mile.
Gillian
5 months ago.
I've just swam 42 lengths in a 33m pool. How many would I need to do for a mile?
Swimoutlet.com
5 months ago.
Hi Gillian!
You would need to swim just under 49 lengths in order to swim 1 mile. The actual number comes out to 48.76 lengths.
Gillian
5 months ago.
Thank you
Anne
5 months ago.
I am swimming in a 25 meter pool how many lengths (once across the pool) is a mile?
Swimoutlet.com
5 months ago.
Hi Anne!
You would need to swim just over 64 lengths. The actual number comes to 64.37 lengths.
Kenzie
5 months ago.
How many miles would be if you are swimming 200 lengths in a 25 yard pool
Swimoutlet.com
5 months ago.
Hello Kenzie,
You would be swimming 2.84 miles.
vanessa graham
5 months ago.
hi i am swimming the equivalent of the english channel for charity my local pool is 21 metres long how many lengths do i need to do for a mile
Swimoutlet.com
5 months ago.
Hi Vanessa!
You would need to swim just under 77 lengths for one mile.
Tracy king
6 months ago.
If I swim a 12 ft pool 30 times, how many miles is that?
Swimoutlet.com
6 months ago.
Hello Tracy,
In order to swim 1 mile, you would have to swim 412 lengths of your pool, or 206 laps.
that'sonetinypool
5 days ago.
Pardon me but THAT'S ONE TINY POOL... sorry
that'sonetinypool
5 days ago.
Pardon me but THAT'S ONE TINY POOL... sorry
Joan
7 months ago.
I am training for the half iron man event. I have a 25 yard pool. How many laps would I have to swim to achieve 1.2 miles? In addition, is one lap there and back? Or just one way?
Swimoutlet.com
7 months ago.
Hello Joan,
A lap is two lengths of the pool: down and back. A length is once across the pool. In order to swim 1.2 miles you would need to do about 42 laps, or 84 lengths.
jess
7 months ago.
i am doing a competition that requires 8500 meter swim in a 25 yard pool. how many laps? what is the difference between laps & lenghts? also, my watch measured my last swim as 1000 meters. how many laps is that? thank you.
Swimoutlet.com
7 months ago.
Hello Jess,
A "length" is once across the pool, a "lap" is 2 lengths of the pool, so once across the pool and then back. For your competition, 8500 meters in a 25 yard pool is about 186 laps (or 372 lengths). And 1000 meters in a 25 yard pool is about 22 laps (44 lengths)
linda
7 months ago.
I thought that one mile was 36 laps and I have been swimming 54 laps thinking that it is 1 1/2 miles. So I have really been swimming more than 1 1/2 miles by 6 laps. Is that correct!
Swimoutlet.com
7 months ago.
Hello Linda,
What is the length of your pool?
linda
7 months ago.
25 meters
Swimoutlet.com
7 months ago.
Hello Linda,
So 1 "lap" on our chart is just referring to the length of the pool. A mile in a 25 meter pool would be around 33 laps (down and back).
Joanne Forkin
7 months ago.
For a 60 foot pool...how many laps = 1 mile. thanks
Swimoutlet.com
7 months ago.
Hello Joanne!
To swim an actual mile, you would need to swim 88 lengths. This is 44 laps (down and back). If you go by a competition meet "mile", you would need to swim 82.5 lengths.
Lori
8 months ago.
We are doing a family walk to a waterslide park that is a 142 mile drive from our house. Between the four of us that are participating, (myself, my husband, 12 year old daughter, and 9 year old daughter) we all have to walk/bike/swim the equivalent to 142 miles, and then we get a reward of going to the water slides. My daughters are on our local swim team and have practice everyday for one hour. It is difficult to know exactly how many laps they swim each practice but they are desperate to get credit for this time on the pool, as they should. I know for sure that yesterday they each swam a minimum of 400m (16 laps). How many miles is this equivalent to in a 25m pool? (25 meters being there, not there and back)
Thanks!!
SwimOutlet.com
7 months ago.
Hi Lori,
That's a fun idea! One mile is 1609 meters. 400m (16 laps) is just under 1/4 of a mile. To complete one mile in a 25m pool, they would need to swim the length of the pool 64 times (or 64.36 to be exact).
Sara
9 months ago.
20 metre pool i've done 80 lenghts how far have i swam
swimoutlet.com
8 months ago.
Hi Sara! If you swim 80 lengths in a 20 meter pool you have swam for 1 mile.
Tina
10 months ago.
I have a small pool, 10 yards or 30 feet, how many laps do i need to do for a mile, i came up with 165, is that correct?
swimoutlet.com
9 months ago.
Hi Tina! In a 10 yard pool you would have you swim about 177 laps to equal a mile
Tina
9 months ago.
One lap is back and forth right?
George
9 months ago.
yes
SwimOutlet.com
9 months ago.
Yep! One lap is back and forth.
Dave ski
11 months ago.
Hi I swim in a 25 meter pool and (there and back) is 1 lap and I do a average of 110 laps I believe this is 3.125 miles or I'm I doing the calculations wrong thank you dave ski
swimoutlet.com
10 months ago.
Hi Dave!
The calculation we came up with was about 3 1/3 miles, but close enough!
Monica W
11 months ago.
I just started to swim because of a knee injury. My pool is about 10 meters. I am up to 20 laps (back and forth= 1 lap.) what should be my ideal daily routine? I'm not trying to train for the olympics, just keep fit and above all exercising my knee and bad leg. Thank you!
swimoutlet.com
10 months ago.
Hello Monica,
Break your workout into intervals. For example, don't just get into the pool, swim 20 laps, and get out. Instead, do 4 easy laps for a warm-up. Then do 8 sets of 2 laps at a faster pace, resting 20 seconds between sets.
Randy
11 months ago.
Where is the pool locator you mention?
SwimOutlet.com
9 months ago.
Hi Randy! You can go to https://www.swimmersguide.com/ to find local pools.
Abby
11 months ago.
I am currently swimming 40 laps(down and back) or 80 lengths(down) in a 25 meter pool. How far am I swimming??
Swimoutlet.com
10 months ago.
Hi Abby,
You are swimming 2000 meters/ 1.243 miles.
Deb swift
1 year ago.
How many lengths do I need to swim in a 33.3metre pool to achieve 2.5km please
swimoutlet.com
11 months ago.
Hello Deb,
It would be about 76 lengths.
Deseret
1 year ago.
We have a 25 yard pool being built. What is the suggested length for a mile in yards? How many lengths does one need to complete in order to swim a mile? Do you know what UIL standards are for a mile in yards?
swimoutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hi Deseret,
For a 25 yard pool, defining a mile as 1650 yards, you would need to complete 66 laps to reach one mile. One lap means once across the pool. I hope this helps!
Mel
1 year ago.
33 Laps, up and back 66 lengths, one way
Sylviamangan@yahoo.com
1 year ago.
I swim a mile in 25 yard pool. Is there any site that you can recommend that lists the yards needed for anything above that?
swimoutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hi,
Here is a really great website that will help:
http://www.bluewave-aquatics.com/Resources.aspx?pageDirection=LapConverter
Dean
1 year ago.
My local pool is only a 20 metre pool so am I correct in thinking that would need to swim 80ish lengths?
swimoutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hi Dean,
Yes, you are definitely correct!
Anthony
1 year ago.
I swim here in Sydney, NSW, Oz - in a 50 metre pool. Basically, in a 50 metre pool, 1 mile = 1609.34 metres = 32 whole lengths + 9 metres (about another 1/5 or .18 of a length) + 34cm (here or there of 1 foot) So 1 mile is 32.18 lengths + 1 foot. Or 32.1868 lengths of a 50m pool. So for simplification I just round up to the next 100m or to 34 lengths (ie.1700m/1.7km) when swimming a 'mile' at my olympic pool. No point finishing up at the wrong end of the pool by doing half a lap to 1650m. A nautical mile is 1.852 km = 37.04 lengths. Once again when swimming a nautical mile i just round up to the nearest 100m so I swim 1.9km or 38 lengths. Cheers all
Dave
1 year ago.
Why redefine lap? A "Length" is once across the pool, a "Lap" is 2 lengths (up and back).
Displaying   1 - 25 of 31
Add a Comment
Name * Your Email (will not be displayed) *
To prevent automated bots from spamming, please enter the text you see in the image below: