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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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Poppy
1 year ago.
My pool is 20m so how many length do I need to do to swim.a mile?
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Poppy!

There are 1609 meters to 1 mi. Thus it would be 80.45 lenghts (one-way in the pool) or 40.225 laps (round trip).
jeff
1 year ago.
Hi-

I started swimming a year ago and have been swimming 36 laps (there and back) to make sure that I am definitely swimming a mile or more. To date, I have swam 450 "miles" if i consider 1800 yards to be a mile. So if I was to compare this to an open water swim, I would take 450 x 1800 which equals 810,000 yards and then divide by 1760 to get the "true amount of open water miles", which wold be 460.2273. And then if I wanted to find out how many "pool miles" I had done, it would be 810,000 divided by 1650 which would be 490.9091. Do I have this correct?

Thanks in advance.
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Jeff!

We are so sorry, we do not have the open water mile calculation. Though, if you have the exact distance, you may calculate it the same way as per pool yard/mile measurements.
Missy
1 year ago.
I can swim 50 lengths (25 laps) in a 23 meter pool. Did I swim a mile?
kayla Rahou
1 year ago.
Hello, I am swimming in the ocean, an one mile open water swim for the first time and I would like to know how many laps I am doing.
Thank you for your response.
Kayla
Brigid
1 year ago.
My pool is 38 Ft. How many laps for a mile?
Michael Jordan
10 months ago.
I think it is around 136 laps
Colin
1 year ago.
I have done 40 lengths of a 15m pool at the gym today can you tell me how many calories in have burned please
Marcel
1 year ago.
If I swim 6000 yards in a 25-yard pool how many miles is it?
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Marcel!

That would be 3.409091 miles
Amy
1 year ago.
I’m a little confused by the math in this article (doesn’t take much as numbers aren’t my strong point) so if I’m swimming an 18m pool, how many lengths would I need to complete a mile?
Swimoutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Amy!

To swim a mile in a 18-meter pool, you will need to complete about 13 lengths.

Read more at: https://www.swimoutlet.com/guides/how-many-swimming-laps-are-in-one-mile
mark
1 year ago.
ho amy

1650/18 = 91.7
rounded up
so 92 would be just over at 1656
13 lengths as suggested above 13x18 = 234 mtrs ...thats not a mile its not even a quarter of a mile so ....
Tina
1 year ago.
I swim in an 18 meter pool & do about 90 lengths which covers a mile
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
Helen
1 year ago.
If the pool is 33 metres how many lengths do a need to swim for a mile thanks
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Helen!

To swim a mile in a 33-meter pool, you will need to complete about 49 lengths.
Helen
1 year ago.
If the pool is 33 metres how many lengths do a need to swim for 1 mile please
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Helen!

To swim a mile in a 33-meter pool, you will need to complete about 49 lengths.
John
2 years ago.
I need to swim one third mile for a sprint triathlon. I’m swimming at LAFitness in the lap pool that is 25 yards in length.. How many lengths will I need to swim to swim the one third mile?
SwimOutlet
2 years ago.
Hi John!

You need to do 23 laps on that particular pool for a third of a mile swim objective.
John Bontly
2 years ago.
Join the discussion...I want to run a mile in a 50 yard pool at LA fitness. I swim laps but I want to Run in the water. How many lengths would be equal to a mile run on the street
swimoutlet.com
2 years ago.
Hi John! The run to swim ratio is about 4:1, meaning that four miles of running equals one mile of swimming. At 8:00 to 10:00 pace, you'd be running 32 to 40 minutes (respectively) for approximately a four-mile run to equate to one mile of swimming.
John Bontly
2 years ago.
I want to run laps in a 50 yard pool at LA fitness how many lengths will I have to go. I swim laps too but I want to water run
SwimOutlet
2 years ago.
Hi John!

In a pool measuring 50 yards you would need to do 33 lengths.
Nate
2 years ago.
I am 14 years old and I will be attempting to swim 20 miles in one day. Is this a good idea? I will have to swim 3 miles per hour.
SwimOutlet
2 years ago.
Hi Nate!

With a strong endurance, you can do that feat. Make sure that you are physically and mentally ready for the quest. Make a record for yourself!
Gina
2 years ago.
And watch "Kim Swims," on Netflix!
SwimOutlet.com
1 year ago.
Great recommendation Kim, very inspiring, a must watch.
Mrs Maria Burke
2 years ago.
I am doing a 22 miles challenge for Diabetes, how many laps should I do to complete the 22 miles in 12 weeks?
SwimOutlet
2 years ago.
Hi!

In your case, another factor is missing and that is how fast your swim time. You need to get your speed to complete the calculation.
Tania
2 years ago.
How many lengths of a 25m pool will I need to do to reach 22 miles. As I’m doing the swim 22 2019 for diabetes uk. Thanks
Swimoutlet.com
2 years ago.
Hello Tania,
In your pool, one mile is going to be 66 lengths. Making 22 miles 1,452 lengths.
Susan Peters
2 years ago.
Good morning....

My goal is to swim 60,000 miles in a year. My pool is 25 years long. What are the average yards I need to swim each day to achieve my goal?
Thank you!
SwimOutlet.com
2 years ago.
Hi Susan,

That is quite a goal. Is it 60,000 or 6,000?
James
2 years ago.
if you really meant 60,000 miles than you will need to swim 289,315 Yards per day. if you meant 6000 miles than you will have to swim 28,931 yards per day. In either case its not possible. If your trying to swim 60,000 than you need to swim 6.84 miles per hour for 24 hours straight and faster if you take time out to sleep.
Twogolf
2 years ago.
I am disabled and swim laps to get into shape. I swim at the Y and the pool is 25 feet long. I swim 36 down and backs in 32 minutes. I can't kick my legs so I put a swimming inner tube around my thighs. Is that a decent time?? don't know.
twogolf
2 years ago.
Sorry, 25 yards long, not feet.
SwimOutlet.com
2 years ago.
In a pool measuring 25 yards you would need to do 66 lengths.
twogolf
2 years ago.
If I am doing 36 down and backs... that is 72 lengths, isn't it?? 66 lengths is one way, right?
Swimoutlet.com
2 years ago.
For a 25- meter pool, 33 down and backs is half way. So you have to do 66 down and backs so it is equivalent to one way.
twogolf
2 years ago.
I guess I don't get it. if a pool is 25 yards long. and you go from one end to the other, then back to the other end, isn't that 50 yards?? so, if you divide 1650 by 50 you get 33??
Swimoutlet.com
2 years ago.
Yes, that is correct.
Kelly
2 years ago.
1760 or 1650. I cant believe no one is centering in the open swim versus pool swim. In open swim you swim in one straight line. So 1760 equals a mile. It makes sense to shorten a pool swim because at the end of each lap you essentially go straight down 4 Feet on average, do dolphin kicks on a diagonal Dor say 10-20 yards And then do it again at The other end for 66 laps. If we add up the added distance it almost equals a mile for most pools the extra Distance is as follows: 66 laps for which you travel downward about 4 feet with a turn and dolphin kicking. Where you rise up slowly for about 30 yards. The formula for the extra Distance is a squared plus b squared equals c squared. We know the straight distance to the edge of the pool is say 20 yards. We know the dive downward in the turn is about 4 feet. What we don’t know is how much more in the 20 yards do we travel on our diagn trip upward. I did the math for the addition distance and multiplying the added distance times the 66 laps I came pretty close to the full 1760 yards. So quit your complaining. It’s a full mile for Pete’s sake. You add distance you travel on every mike. But if you are not turning you are short changing your mike swim just swimming on the surface From edge to edge.
JRow
2 years ago.
It doesn’t matter how efficient nor inefficient you may or may not think you are with transitions at the wall- if you go down 4 feet and spend however much time/distance you may happen to choose being submerged with dolphin kicks - your choice - (you actually aren’t utilizing the surface tension for however much time and so then that’s your choice) - some people stay deep and some people stay shallow - your strength should determine your method - however all that matters in record keeping is the linear distance displaced
Maths
2 years ago.
I'd have to disagree. If we are going to include vertical distance traveled, then we may as well add an extra yard at each turn when circle swimming for the distance traveled from lane line to lane line. It's your own fault if you dive excessively deep and/or bounce from lane line to lane line. A mile is 1760 yards and that is measured linearly. As most experienced swimmers can, if you can complete the 1760 yards faster by diving/flipping 4-feet deep at each end, rather than touch and turn, great for you. It doesn't mean that you traveled any further linearly - just that your technique yields a faster result.
Liz
2 years ago.
If my pool is 15 by 30 irregularly shape. How many laps I need to do to equal one mile??
swimoutlet.com
2 years ago.
You would need to swim 36 laps or 72 lengths.
Heather
2 years ago.
So if I have a 36ft pool then I would have to do 146 lengths. 36ft = 12yards. 12yards /1760=146 right
SwimOutlet
2 years ago.
Hello Heather,


Yes, that's correct.
Sharleen
2 years ago.
The pool at my gym is 25 yards. I thought 60 laps (120 lengths) was 2 miles...I just came across your forum & am so confused...how many laps/lengths is 2 miles? I look forward to your response. Thanks!
Swimoutlet.com
2 years ago.
Hello Sharleen,
Yes, 60 laps is 2 miles if you are considering that 120 lengths. In the chart, a lap is considered once across the pool, therefore 60 "laps" is actually only 30 true laps.
Kevin
3 years ago.
I've worked up to 20 laps (up and back) in a 25 meter pool. How much more to swim a mile. I feel I'm a least more than half way.
Swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Hello Kevin,
To swim a mile you would need to swim 33 laps, or 66 lengths.
Doug
2 years ago.
That's right. What's wrong with the info on this web site?
Anna Kate Kochansky
3 years ago.
Tonight at swim practice I did 114 laps and was wondering if I did a mile ?
Swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
What is the length of the pool?
Anna Kate
3 years ago.
25 meters
swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Yes, it was just over a mile.
Sophie
3 years ago.
My pool is 20 metres and today I did 100 lengths in total, is that a mile?
Swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Hello Sophie,
You actually swam over a mile. One mile is 82.5 lengths of your pool.
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