Restringing Racing Lanes – It’ll Happen To You
Just as motorists will eventually be forced to confront changing a flat tire, aquatics directors, coaches, and even team parents will likely be involved with a lane rope restringing project.
There can be many reasons to restring. Replacing a damaged lane float, replacing old or failed lane divider cable, and adding a 15 meter resurfacing marker and other regulation lane markings for training or competitions are just some likelihoods that require restringing.
Rushing this project causes a mess. Loose floats quickly become disorganized, leading to recounting, or configuration mistakes.
It’s A Priority
No matter the reason, you’ll need to take care of it quickly. Taking a pool lane divider out of service can delay swim meets, eat up swim practice time, and irritate aquatic center patrons.
Aquatics programs can delay restringing by purchasing backup lanes for interim use, and this is an excellent short term solution. But using a backup is like driving on a spare tire: when your spare fails, you’re in hot water.
The following advice is the quickest and easiest method I’ve ever used for restringing lanes. Enough preamble – let’s get on with it.
What You’ll Need
- Replacement racing lane cable
- Replacement lane floats (for adding new markings or replacing damaged floats)
- A friend
- A good cable cutter
- Box packing tape
Racing Lane Restringing – The Secret Sauce
- Move Lane: Use a helper to remove racing lane from pool or pool storage reel to the pool deck and arrange in a straight line.
- Release All Slack: Release all slack from your lane tension reel, so cable is fully payed out.
- Cut Old Cable: On the tension reel end, severe cable with cable cutter between the reel and furthest point from the end of the lane floats. Important: Cut at the point where lane cable is in good condition, after fraying and kinks have ended. The cable needs to slide through the floats and you don’t want snags!
- Join Cable Ends: Making sure cable ends are butted and positioned in a straight line,
join the replacement cable end to the old cable end at your cut point, using a carefully tight and tidy (to avoid snags) double wrap of packing tape.
- Old Cable Out – New Cable In: Make sure replacement cable is unspooled to eliminate pulling resistance. Using the remaining end fitting as a handhold, pull the old cable out of your lane, as the new cable slides through the floats. Your helper should continue to unspool the replacement cable to reduce resistance. Important: Don’t rush the pulling – going fast can burn the tape and cause your joined cables to break.
- Just Replacing Cable? Done! If you aren’t adding/removing/replacing floats, pull the new cable all the way through the lane, break your packing tape connection, and reattach your tension reel and spring end fitting. You’re done restringing.
- Replacing Lane Floats? Almost There: If adding or replacing floats, pull your joined cable ends to the replacement point, watching for a little skip in the floats as your packing tape splice travels through the lane rope. When you’ve hit your mark, break your tape,
make your float replacements,
, rejoin cable ends with tape,
and continue to pull the new cable through your lane.
All done – that was easy!
Have any tricks to share? We’d love to hear from you.
If you have any questions we can answer – let me know.
Robin Spencer Kiefer