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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.

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Ivy
4 months ago.
Hi how many do you swim to like 50 miles to 1000 miles in the pool?
SwimOutlet
4 months ago.
Hi Ivy! Here's the equation: mile/pool length = # of laps in a mile
Bry
4 months ago.
Hi I need to do 22 miles in a 25 metre pool how meny laps is
ivy
4 months ago.
how far is 50 miles in a pool?
Bryan
4 months ago.
How laps to do 22 mile in a 25m pool
SwimOutlet
4 months ago.
HiBryan! Here's the equation: mile/pool length = # of laps in a mile.
Lou
4 months ago.
22 miles in a 25 metre pool laps
Lou
4 months ago.
Hi how meny laps to do 22 miles
SwimOutlet
4 months ago.
Hi Lou! Here's the equation: mile/pool length = # of laps in a mile
George
4 months ago.
How many lengths is a mile in a 22 yard pool?
SwimOutlet
4 months ago.
Hi George! Here's the equation: mile/pool length = # of laps in a mile
Laura
4 months ago.
I need to do 11 mile in a 25m how meny laps do I need to do
SwimOutlet
4 months ago.
Hi Laura!

You will need to do 352 laps.
Abbs
5 months ago.
I need to swim 2 miles in a 25m pool how many laps would that be?
swimoutlet.com
5 months ago.
Hello!
You would need to complete 128 laps to swim 2 miles in a 25m pool.
Sydney
6 months ago.
If I need to swim 600 meters in 18 minutes, how many laps do I need to swim? In a 25 m lane?
SwimOutlet
6 months ago.
Hi Sydney!

You need 24 laps.
Marsha Suwienski
8 months ago.
Hi I have an above ground pool. I have devised a system where I use rope and a floating noodle. It allows me to stay in one place while I swim. If I stay at a good even pace how long will it take for me to swim 1.2 miles? Thanks Marsha
SwimOutlet.com
8 months ago.
Hi Marsha,

It typically takes the average swimmer roughly an hour to swim 1.2 miles. The actual time will vary on the speed at which you swim.
Victoria
9 months ago.
Hi i am swimming in a 25m×5.5m area of the pool in a rectangle. I swam 32 of these rectangles what distance have I done in miles?
Shop@SwimOutlet
9 months ago.
Hello Victoria!



The area of your pool would be 137.5 meters (0.08 miles). If you swam 32 rectangles you would have swam 2.56 miles.
Suzanne Healey
10 months ago.
I’m swimming 80 times around our 27 foot pool daily. How far do I swim per day?
Swimoutlet.com
10 months ago.
Hi Suzanne,

You are swimming 1,440 miles per day. 80 times around your pool is 160 laps multiply by 9 yards (27 foot pool).
Mona Lonial
10 months ago.
Did you mean to say 1,440 yards instead of miles?
Swimoutlet.com
10 months ago.
It is in miles and not in yards.
Anonymous
9 months ago.
She is not swimming 1400 miles per day. That’s from Boston to Miami.
Janine
10 months ago.
How many laps do I need to swim for 300 yards?
Shop@SwimOutlet
10 months ago.
Hi Janine,

That will depend on how many yards your pool is. So for instance if you are swimming in a 25 yard pool you would need to swim 12 laps to get to 300 yards (300 divided by 25)
Tony
11 months ago.
I swam 6 length. How far did i swim on 25 m pool.
SwimOutlet.com
11 months ago.
Hi Tony!

6 lengths of a 25 m pool is 150 meters or 0.09 miles.
Paul
11 months ago.
I can measure along the side walking across. I don't need to be in it. Also any home owner knows the size already from the survey or inspection or ad
Namadina
11 months ago.
I swim in a 12.5 meter pool. How many lengths do i have to swim to equal a mile please?
SwimOutlet
11 months ago.
Hi Namadina,

For a 12.5 meter pool you would need to swim 132 laps for one mile.
Sandi
11 months ago.
My pool is 16.3 yards, how many laps do I need to swim to swim a half mile? Mile?
SwimOutlet
10 months ago.
It's 54 laps.
katie
1 year ago.
I am swimming in a 30.3 pool how many lengths is a mile please
SwimOutelt.com
1 year ago.
Hi Katie,

A mile has 64.36 lengths. Kindly follow the calculation or formula above.
Renee
1 year ago.
One mile 25m pool 64 lengths. The rest do your Maths. Valerie burnt depends on your speed etc. open water one mike depends how straight you swim.
Neena Berrie
1 year ago.
My club pool is 17m long. How many laps will make a mile?
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Neena!

That would be a total of 95 laps.
Tiwa
1 year ago.
If I swim 4 laps of a 50 meter pool, how many meters have I swum? I'm not too sure, but I think I swam 200 meters...
Swimoutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hi Tiwa,

Yes, you are right. You have swum 200 meters.
Denyce
1 year ago.
If I swam in a 25 yards Pool and I did 33 laps back and forth counting as one lap how far is tht? My Fitbit versa 2 said I did 1969 yards? How far is tht? I was hoping my new Fitbit versa 2 would tell me;) but it does not so I have to figure this out and I'm really not a math person;)
Swimoutlet.com
1 year ago.
It would be 1650 meters.
Carol
1 year ago.
I have a Garmin Vivactive 3 which keeps track of # of lengths. I swim 25yds x lengths = total yards:
Today I swam 70 lengths * 25 = 1750. I give myself a mile
Hugues Gingras
1 year ago.
Thanks for not using the oxymoronic term "metric mile" (1600 m), irritates me to no end.
Denise Mcallan
1 year ago.
I swim 60 lengths a day in a public length swimming pool ! How many miles is this?
SwimOutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hi Denise,

What's the length of the pool?
Jayne
1 year ago.
In a 20 meter pool how many lengths do I need to swim for a one mile challenge.
SwimOutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hi Jayne,

You would need to swim approximately 80.5 lengths in a 20 Meter pool to reach your goal of 1 mile (1609.34 meters).
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