Swimming Terminology

For those of you who are new to swimming and have already been exposed to some of swimmings terminology and are confused by it. Well, here's our attempt to shine a little light on the murky world of swim speak.

Accredited Meet.This is a competition where there is a full compliment of officials and all the rules of swimming will be applied.

Swim England.The national governing body of swimming in England.

Considered Time. Is a time set by the meet organiser that may be considered for entry into the event.

Converted Time.Is a calculated time used to compensate for a change in pool length. A 25m pool time can be converted to an equivalent time for a 50m pool and vice versa.

D.Q or disqualification.Means the swimmers time does not count and cannot be used in the future.

Drill.Is an exercise which is designed to address a weakness in a particular stroke. For example the 'rib tickle' drill is a front crawl drill. The thumb of the hand that is exiting the water is dragged along the side of the body from thigh to armpit, this helps a high elbow recovery which is a characteristic of good front crawl technique. Other examples would be ?catch up? and ?finger trail?.

Dual Meet. Is a competition between two clubs.

Fly Is short for butterfly stroke.

Free. Is short for freestyle or front crawl.

Graded meet. Swimmers must be able to swim faster than a specified time for the event and be slower than the cut of time for it. If a swimmer does swim faster that the cut off time they will be awarded a ?speeding ticket? and will not qualify for a trophy.

Heat Declared Winner or HDW. Means there will be no final and the winner of the event is determined by times swam once all the heats are completed.

Heats and Finals.Occur when there are too many swimmers for them all to compete in one race, the event will be split into heats with the fastest swimmers from each heat going forward to the final.

Individual Medley or IM.Is a race comprising all four strokes in the following series Fly, backstroke, breaststroke and front crawl.

Kick sets. Are lengths done in the pool using legs only.

Kickboard. Are rectangular piece of foam used in kick sets.

Long Course or LC. Means any competition held in a 50M pool.

One Start Rule. Is a rule applied at almost all competitions and it means that a swimmer is automatically disqualified if they fall or dive into the water before the starting signal.

Open Meet. At an Open Meet swimmers are required to meet qualification times in order to compete. There are 4 levels of open meets and they are licensed according to the purpose of their competition.

  • Level 1

    is aimed at National qualifiers, or swimmers close to National qualification, looking for opportunities to achieve National qualifying times. These meets will have qualifying times for entry, which will be just below the national times.

  • Level 2

    is aimed at Regional qualifiers and will have qualifying times and upper limit times. Access to the ASA ranking information could be used to enable meet organisers to verify that entry times submitted by swimmers fall within the stated range.

  • Level 3

    is for Club swimmers who are looking for County qualifying times and again would have qualifying and upper limit times set at an appropriate level. These meets would provide a programme throughout the year to support the requirements of swimmers below Regional level.

  • Level 4

    it is intended that the system of licensing may ultimately develop to include a fourth level for club swimmers and those beginning competition through initiatives such as Active Sports.

National qualifying times. Are accepted from meets licensed at Level 1 and 2.

Regional qualifying times.Are accepted from meets licensed at Level 1, 2 &3.

Paddles. Flat pieces of plastic worn on the hands, usually during pull sets.

PB. is an abbrevSetiation for Personal Best, which is the best time that a swimmer has achieved for an event. Swimmers should know their PB for each event and keep a PB chart of their times so that they can follow their improvements.

Pullbuoy. Is piece of foam that goes between your legs and helps you float whilst doing pull sets.

Rep. Shorthand for repeat, so 5 reps of 50 backstroke would mean swimming backstroke for 50 metres five times.

Short Course or SC. Any competition held in a 25m pool.

Set. A set is a group of related swims e.g. 4 x 100 freestyle with 10 seconds rest between each 100. A training session is divided into a number sets including some or all of the following kick, pull, drill , swim etc.

Speeding Ticket. This is awarded to a swimmer at a graded meet who swims faster that the cut off time for an event. A swimmer who gets a speeding ticket will not get a trophy.

Splits/Split time. The time taken to complete a portion of a swim, for example if a swimmer is swimming a 400 metre event then the times taken to swim the first, second, third and fourth 100 metre segments of the race. This would be the 100 splits or split times.

Swim age. Meets tend to be divided by groupings decided in reference to Swim age. Rules of different meets will be different and could be :

  • The age that they are on the day of a competition, or

  • The age they will be at the end of the year i.e. 31st December 201X.

Swim Down. Is an easy swim at the end of a session that is designed to relax the muscles, slow the heart rate and respiration and help to work off any toxins built up during the session.

Swim Off. Occurs when two or more swimmers have achieved identical times in heats. These swimmers will compete against each other for a place in the final.

Warm up. A swim at the start of a session which is designed to warm up the muscles, raise the pulse and prepare the body for training or competition.