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University of Chicago Department of Athletics & Recreation

Pool Entry and Lap Swimming Rules


In accordance with guidance from the Chicago Department of Public Health, Athletics & Recreation is modifying its building capacity and facility operations to ensure the health and safety of all students and building staff. Due to the necessary de-densification of fitness and recreation spaces and equipment, we will only be open to enrolled UChicago students for the Autumn Quarter.

* Students must complete the online training and attestation process in order to access campus buildings including the Ratner Athletics Center. Please complete the process before making facility reservations - Students in campus housing must complete either the 10-day "stay at home" period or the 14-day "quarantine" before using the facilities.

Reservations must be made 24-72 hours in advance in order to access the swimming pool and cardio and weight training facilities. Due to restrictions on group play and the use of shared equipment, the gymnasia will not be available for use. Activity areas will be closed for one hour mid-day to allow for more extensive cleaning. Please review the rules and reservation procedures listed below.

All updated policies and procedures for the Ratner Athletics Center can be found here: 


Pool Rules
45 minute reservation – 14 slots

Physical Distancing

  • Please be mindful of maintaining distancing within and moving between locker room and pool areas.
  • Avoid congregating near locker room doors, pool ladders, and lane lines.
  • Masks must be worn at all times in the locker room and pool area unless showering or swimming.

Locker Rooms 

  • Please limit your time in the locker room to maintain low occupancy and adequate space for physical distancing.
  • A shower is required before using the pool.
  • Do not leave belongings in the locker room. All belongings must be brought to the pool deck.
  • At the end of your session, please exit the locker rooms through the doors leading directly to the hallways.

Lap Swimming

  • One person is allowed per each reserved lane.
  • Use any open lane in your designated reserved lane group.
  • Place your reservation card on the chair behind your lane.
  • Please stay in the middle of the lane when stopping on the walls. 

Pool Entry Rules

• A lifeguard or designated supervisor who has been approved by the Aquatics Director must be on deck before anyone enters the pool.

• A cleansing shower is encouraged before entering the pool (820.360.d [IL Code of Public Health]).

• No street shoes allowed on deck.

• Users must wear a clean bathing suit to enter the pool (no cut-offs, gym shorts, etc.).

• No swimmer with open sores, infections, diarrhea, or contagious diseases may enter the pool.

• Children 14 years old or younger must be accompanied by an adult; children 5 years old or younger must be accompanied by a parent or guardian in the water; lifeguards have the authority to require a parent or guardian to be in the water with a child over 5 years old who they may judge to be a weak swimmer.

• Children in diapers are not allowed in the pool unless they wear rubber pants or swim diapers.

• Spectators are restricted to the bleacher area.

• No glass or sharp metal objects in the pool area.

• No food, drink, gum or tobacco products are allowed in the pool area (except plastic water bottles).

• Personal items (books, bags, clothes, etc.) are not allowed on the pool deck.

• Individuals under the influence of alcohol or drugs are not permitted in the pool area.

• Patrons must follow the rules and policies posted throughout the pool area.

General Pool Rules

• A lifeguard or designated supervisor who has been approved by the Aquatics Director must be on deck before anyone enters the pool.

• No running, pushing, horseplay or other high-risk behavior in the pool area.

• The use of inflatable flotation devices for children is prohibited (i.e. water wings); only approved life-saving vests are allowed.

• No balls, water toys or inflatable devices in the pool area during Open Recreation (except Family Swim).

• Kickboards pull buoys, and aqua-jogging belts should not be used as flotation devices.

• Swimmers are not permitted to hang on the lane dividers.

• No animals, bicycles, rollerblades, skateboards, etc. are allowed in the pool area.

• No diving or jumping from the starting platforms; starting platforms are to be used only under the supervision of competitive swim team coaches.

• No diving or jumping from or into the 4 feet shallow section; diving from the side of the pool is allowed only in areas of 5 feet or deeper.

• No diving into crowded lanes.

• No spitting, water spouting, blowing the nose, urinating, etc. in the pool or on the deck.

• No swimming under the bulkhead or walking across the top of the bulkhead (except for individuals designated by the Aquatics Director).

• No prolonged underwater swimming or breath holding.

• All University of Chicago staff, including lifeguards, have the authority and responsibility to enforce the rules of the Myers-McLoraine Pool; any user who elects to ignore staff requests regarding pool regulations will be subject to expulsion from the facility, and if the situation warrants, have his/her membership privileges revoked.

• Lifeguards may expel any patron who does not conform to the rules listed herein or posted in the area or for any behavior that is unsafe to that individual or to other patrons.

• Pool phone and first aid kits are for emergency use only.

• The pool water is not suitable to drink; avoid swallowing the pool water.

Lap Swimming Rules

"Lap Swimming" is designated for aquatic exercise only (exception: Family Swim, see below).

Rules pertinent to lap swimming are:

  • No swimming across lap lanes unless entering or exiting the pool from the side.
  • Lap lanes are for lap swimming or aquatic exercise only (unless otherwise designated).
  • Hanging on the lane dividers is prohibited.
  • No diving, jumping or performing "backstroke starts" from the starting platforms; starting platforms are to be used only under the supervision of competitive swim team coaches.
  • No diving or jumping from or into the 4 feet deep "shallow section"; diving into the pool is allowed only in areas 5 feet or deeper.
  • No diving into crowded lanes.
  • If there are two swimmers per lane, it is permissible for swimmers to swim on opposite sides of the lane; otherwise, swimmers are encouraged to "circle swim" and swim counterclockwise.
  • Lanes in the "competition" and "diving" sections of the pool are for regular lap swimming; lanes in the "shallow section" are designated for slow lap swimming, walking and aquatic exercise.

Family Swim

On certain days and times (see below), the "shallow section" and the "diving section" of the Myers-McLoraine Pool will be set aside for Family Swimming. This means that the "shallow section" lanes are to be designated for parents/guardians with children who do not wish to lap swim. Additionally, the two lanes directly underneath the diving boards will be available for the use of the diving boards. Pool admission and general rules are to be enforced. Children must be accompanied by a parent/guardian (see Pool Admission Requirements, pertaining to child to parent/guardian ratio, page 17) and all patrons who wish to enter the facility for Family Swim, including children, must be members of the Ratner Athletics Center or their officially registered guests. Spectators must sit in the balcony.

Dates and Times:

  • Late September (beginning of academic year) to mid-March:
    Fridays, 6 to 8:45 PM
  • Mid-March to mid-June (beginning of summer interim):
    Fridays, 5 to 8:45 PM
  • Mid-June to late September:
    Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 5 to 8:45 PM
  • All year:
    Saturdays and Sundays, 3 to 6 PM