The reason you can't change things with swimlanes is that they're flexible. It's possible to do things like "swimlane 1 = component is a, b or c" and "swimlane 2 = priority is urgent". There's no way JIRA can know what to change if you moved an issue from one to the other.
You could do it when moving between status though (the status are grouped into the board columns, although a lot of people have a simple "each column is one status" approach). Post-functions on the workflow could set a priority.
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