Swimming is great. It's fun and it's beneficial for body and mind. A few lengths in the pool relieves stress, builds self-esteem, improves sleep and tones muscles. 

We have 12 swimming pools (including five large 25m pools) across GO Gateshead leisure centres where you can go and get your feet wet. Our lane swims and public swims are really popular with swimmers of all ages and abilities. It's inspiring to turn up and see people just like you putting in the lengths. Everyone working at their own pace, in their own style. Because it's so popular, it's likely you'll find yourself sharing lanes. If this is the case, it's good to know about swimming etiquette - a set of informal rules that swimmers abide by to keep it enjoyable for everyone.

1. Choose the right lane

Before you enter the pool, take a look at the lanes and choose one that has swimmers working at the same pace as you.

2. Wait your turn

Give swimmers the chance to turn and push off before you enter the lane. Dangle your legs in first to let others know you're there. If the lane is clear, you're okay to dive in - but only if the depth is greater than 1.5 metres.

3. Switch lanes if the pace isn't right

If swimmers are swimming faster or slower than you, be willing to switch to a more suitable lane.

4. Be respectful of space

The beauty of public swims is the varying skill levels of swimmers. Always be respectful of others' abilities and allow plenty of personal space.

5. Leave room when pushing off

Don't push off right behind another swimmer. Give them a good 5-10 yards of space first. Likewise, don't push off directly in front of a faster swimmer.

6. Go with the flow

Always follow the direction of other swimmers. It's a bit like the rules of the road: swim on one side going down the lane and the other side coming back.

7. Give way

Rest in the corner of the lane when taking a break so that other swimmers can turn and push off.

8. Overtaking

If a swimmer wishes to overtake, let them do so. If the lane is too busy to allow someone to pass, let them overtake when you reach the end of the pool.

9. Proceed with caution

Always overtake with caution. Take care to avoid collisions. Never try to swim over another swimmer.

That's really about all there is you need to know. Find your closest GO Gateshead pool, don your swimming costume and enjoy!

Oh, and no bombing in the shallow end!

Find a pool