Every competition pool is clearly marked with a "T" at the end of each lane. The T simply alerts you that the wall is coming up soon. Watching for the T allows you to approach the wall without looking forward. Keeping your head in proper alignment, with your eyes down, keeps your hips in line, and helps you keep a fast pace into the wall.
In your home pool, be acutely aware of the T, or cross line, every time you approach the wall. Count your strokes at every wall until you are used to your count. It takes practice and you must think about it regularly.
Always get familiar with the T when you travel to away meets. Warm-ups are the perfect time to look closely at the T, and practice your stroke count into the wall.
Make it a point to watch for the T the next time you get in the water!
USA Swimming Rules and Regulations:
103.5 /M/ POOL AND BULKHEAD MARKINGS —
.1 Pool bottom lane markers: Minimum 10 inch (25 centimeter) wide lines of a dark contrasting color (preferably black) shall be provided in the middle of each racing lane on the bottom of the pool. The lines should be uninterrupted the length of the course and shall end with a distinctive cross line 1.0 meters (3 feet 4 inches) long and the same width as the bottom marker. The line, including the cross line, shall terminate 2.00 meters (6 feet 7 inches) from each end wall.