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I used a single swap partition with several parallel distros and it worked out fine. While installation of a new linux on your box you should assure that the existing swap partition is really used...
Yeah in the installation make sure you use the same swap partition. I would recommend doing this
You will have to use extended partitions as the maximum partitions you can have on a hard drive id 4
/dev/hda1 - /boot
/dev/hda2 - /swap
/dev/hda3 - linux 1
/dev/hda4 - linux 2
/dev/hda5 - linux 3