A Glossary for Parents of Competitive Swimmers

A

  • Age At: Swim meets have an "Age At" definition for the meet. This will either be:
    • Age of the Swimmer on the last day of the meet
    • or
    • Age at 31st December

    IMPORTANT: When entering any competition, you need to check which age category your swimmer is swimming in, so that you can ensure they meet the correct "No Faster Than or No Slower Than" entry conditions - otherwise your entry could be rejected.

  • Age Group: Division of swimmers according to age, usually in one or two year bands (i.e. under 10, 11 and under, 13 and under over 15 etc).
  • Anchor Leg: The final swimmer in a relay.
  • Appeal: It a coach disagrees with a swimmers disqualification from an event, a coach (and only the coach!) can raise an appeal with the meet officials. This must be done very quickly after the disqualification has been announced (i.e. usually within 30 minutes - dependent on the meet conditions). The Meet Officials will then review the appeal and either retain or remove the disqualification.
  • Arena Swimming League: A national swimming league whereby the head coach chooses their fastest swimmers in a variety of age categories (11 & Under, 13 & Under, 15 & Under and Over 15) swimmers to represent the club in a variety of 50m, 100m and 200m events. Swimmers race results based on their finishing position for an event are translated to points. The club with the most points at the end of the event wins the meet. The meets take place once a month on a Saturday evening during October to December and are invite only by the head coach. Swim Bournemouth are in the South league http://www.nationalswimmingleague.org.uk/
  • ASA: Amateur Swimming Association, the governing body of British swimming. They have now rebranded as "Swim England". http://www.swimming.org/swimengland/
  • ASA/Swim England Membership: Each competitive swimmer has a unique ASA Membership number, you have to supply this information each time your swimmer enters a competition. This ensures the times are correctly recorded in the ASA Rankings system. You can find your swimmers membership number here: https://www.swimmingresults.org/membershipcheck/index.php
  • ASA/Swim England Membership Category: There are 2 levels of membership for swimmers :

B

  • Back Up Time: The time given to a swimmer when they fail to stop the electronic timing by hitting the timing pad hard enough or the pad fails to record a time. The back-up time is initiated by the time keeper pressing a button when the swimmer finishes the race.
  • Beep: The starting sound made from an electronic timing system to signal the start "go" of a race
  • Blocks: The starting platforms which are located behind each lane.

C

  • Calendar: This is the latest set of dates/meets that Swim Bournemouth have planned. Please check this site regularly to keep up-to-date with the latest information https://uk.teamunify.com/team/reczzsb/page/member-portal/events-calendar
  • Chair: This is the chairperson of the Swim Bournemouth committee. They can be contacted via clubchair@swimbournemouth.uk
  • Check with Coach: Before entering any competition, a swimmer should talk to their coach and confirm the events they wish to enter at a meet.
  • "Clear the pool": Swimmers are asked to do this at the end of a race when it is safe for them to exit the pool.
  • Closing Date: The last date when entries into a competition have to be received by the club in order to send them to the Meet Organiser. Entries will not be accepted after the closing date. NOTE: This date WILL be earlier than the closing date specified by the meet organisers. This is to allow time for the entries to be checked and processed by Swim Bournemouth prior to being submitted to the meet organisers
  • Club Championship: A swimming competition that is open to all members of the club regardless of their age or experience.
  • Club Kit: The Swim Bournemouth branded clothing that is required to be worn by Swim Bournemouth swimmers at any licenced meet where they are representing Swim Bournemouth. Details regarding the current kit can be found here https://uk.teamunify.com/team/reczzsb/page/club-shop/club-kit1
  • Club Records: These are the fastest times and that have been recorded by a Swim Bournemouth swimmer since the records began. The latest version can be found here https://uk.teamunify.com/team/reczzsb/page/member-portal/club-records
  • Coach: A person who trains a squad of swimmers. Each squad may have one or more coaches.
  • Competition Info: There is some additional useful information available on the Swim Bournemouth website about competitions etc - please read https://www.swimbournemouth.uk/aboutcompetitions
  • Conversions (LC->SC OR SC->LC): Some meets allow you to convert a swimmers time from a Long Course(LC) time to a Short Course(SC) time or vice versa. Occasionally, you may want to do this if your swimmer can only enter an event using a converted time (i.e. their current LC time is old and out of date, and their most recent SC time is much faster). If you need to convert any times, you should use the following website: http://www.swimcalc.com/cgi-bin/convert.cgi
  • County Championships: Usually held at the end of Jan/Early Feb across a number of weekends. To be eligible to enter the competition, swimmers must have achieved a County Qualifying time (CQT - see below) within the qualifying window of March-Dec prior to the championships. This competition is designed as the next step after the Development County Championships.https://www.dorsetasa.org/
  • County Development Championships: Usually held at the beginning of July (at the end of the swim season). To be eligible to enter the competition, swimmers must NOT have achieved a County Qualifying time and must be no faster than the upper limit times specified for the meet. This competition is designed as the first stepping stone for competitive swimmers.
  • County Qualifying Time (CQT): To enter the County Championships, a swimmers entry time must meet one of the qualifying times detailed below:
    • Auto County Qualifying Time: Anyone with an "Auto" county qualifying time WILL be guaranteed a swim at a county championship should they enter. These qualifying times will be faster than the Base/Consideration times. or
    • Base/Consideration County Qualifying Time: Anyone with a "Base/Consideration" county qualifying time MAY be able to swim at county championship. If there is space available once all the "Auto" qualifying swimmers have been selected for an event, swimmers that have achieved the base/consideration time may be accepted. Those swimmers who are closest to the automatic time shall be accepted first until the swimmer limit is reached for each event.
  • Course: The length of pool: Long Course = 50 metres / Short Course = 25 metres.

D

  • Disqualified (DQ): The swimmers performance in an event is not counted because they breached the rules and hence their swim result is null and void. Full details of the rules of swimming can be found here http://www.fina.org/content/swimming-rules
  • Distances:
    • Short Course Distances are always in a 25m pool
      25 metres = 1 length
      50 metres = 2 lengths
      100 metres = 4 lengths
      200 metres = 8 lengths
      400 metres = 10 lengths
      800 metres = 32 lengths
      1500 metres = 60 lengths
    • Long Course Distances are always in a 50m pool 50 metres = 1 length
      100 metres = 2 lengths
      200 metres = 4 lengths
      400 metres = 8 lengths
      800 metres = 16 lengths
      1500 metres = 30 lengths
  • Distance Meet: A meet that normally consists of 800m and 1500m events.

E

  • Electronic Timing: A timing system that is operated electronically which normally has touch pads in the water that hook up to a computer and records the swimmers split and finish times when they touch the pad. This is also technically known as Automated Officiating Equipment (AOE).
  • Eligible to compete: The status of a member swimmer that means they are registered with the ASA and have met all the entry requirements.
  • Entry Fees: The amount per event a swimmer or relay is charged. This varies depending on the type of meet.
  • Entry Limit: Normally meets have a maximum number of swimmers they can accept for each race
  • Event: A race.

F

  • False start: When a swimmer leaves the starting block or moves on the block before the starter has started the race. The swimmer will be disqualified for making a false start. If you dispute a false start, i.e. have evidence to prove it wasn't a false start, a coach (and only the coach!) can make an Appeal to the meet officials. The appeal must be made within the time limit specified in the meet conditions. This is normally with 30 minutes of the disqualification being issued.
  • Fastest Swimmers Accepted First Meet: These type of meets take entries (normally Level 1 and Level 2) based on seeding the entrants by their entry time. If an event is oversubscribed, those with the fastest times in time order will be accepted until the maximum number of entries allowed has been reached, the remaining swimmers will be scratched. These meets tend of have LATER Closing Dates than "First-come-first-served" meets, to give Swim Bournemouth swimmers the best chance of entering their fastest times before their entries are submitted to the meet organisers!
  • Faulty Start: When a swimmer or swimmers leave the starting block because of an error of an official or failure of the starting equipment.
  • FINA: Federation Internationale de National de Amateur, the international governing body of competitive swimming, diving, water polo and synchronized swimming.
  • FINA Points: All swim times recorded for a swimmer at a licenced meet will have FINA points associated with it. The faster the swim the more FINA points will be awarded. Some meets (i.e. Swim Bournemouth Club Championships) will use the FINA points as a method of calculating a top swimmer award.
  • Final: The championship final of an event in which the fastest swimmers from the heats or semi-finals compete.
  • Fins: Rubber training fins worn on the feet designed to help develop kick and ankle flexibility
  • First-Come-First-Served Meet: These types of meet take entries (normally Level 3 and Level 4) based on the date on which entries are actually received. These meets tend to have EARLIER Closing Dates than the "Fastest Swimmers Accepted First" meets, to give Swim Bournemouth swimmers the best chance of their entries being accepted before other clubs enter!
  • Flags: The flags / pennants that are suspended over the width of each end of the pool. These are designed to assist backstroke swimmers to determine how far away the end of the pool is.
  • Free: Freestyle is a category of stroke defined by the FINA rules, in which competitors are subject to only limited restrictions on their swimming stroke. (In other words, they have great freedom with respect to their swimming style.) The stroke used almost universally in freestyle races is the front crawl, as this style is generally the fastest.

G

  • Gallery: The spectator viewing area.
  • Goals: Short, Medium and Long term targets for the swimmers to aim for

H

  • Head Coach: This is the top coach in the club. They are responsible for making sure all coaching is up to standard and they normally coach the top squad (i.e. Performance). They can be contacted via mattheathcock@swimbournemouth.uk
  • Heats: When an event has too many swimmers to allow them to all compete at the same time. The swimmers are split into heats and then the overall results for the event are given after all heats of the event are finished. Some races have an arrowhead configuration (normally finals and the fastest heats) whereby the fastest swimmer is in a middle lane, then the other swimmers are ordered based on their entered time, working outwards with the slowest qualifying swimmers swimming in the outside lanes. Other heats, may place swimmers based on speed across the pool from one side to another (i.e. Lane 1 has the fastest swimmer and Lane 6 has the slowest swimmer). You need to look at the programme for the event and position of the swimmers at the start of the race, to determine which approach has been used!).
  • Heat Declared Winner: Many races have heat declared winners, whereby swimmers in the same category will swim in different heats. The result will then be based on the times achieved by each swimmer within the category, with the fastest swimmer being declared the winner.

I

  • IM: Individual Medley, The swimmer uses all four competitive strokes in the order: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle.

K

  • Kick: The leg movements of a swimmer.
  • Kick Board: A flotation device used by swimmers during training when swimming with legs only.

L

  • Late Entries: Meet entries from a club or individual which are received by the meet host after the entry deadline. These entries are usually not accepted and are returned to sender.
  • Leg: The part of a relay event swum by a single team member.
  • Long Course: A 50 metre pool.
  • Long Course Time: The time recorded for an event in a long course (50m) pool. Note: times swam in a Long Course pool will normally be slower than those swam in a Short Course pool. This is because there is only half the amount of turns in a Long Course event compared to a Short Course event. The ability to push off from a wall, really helps swimmers during an event and enables them to achieve quicker times in Short Course races compared to Long Course. Please don't compare Long Course Times directly with Short Course Times, they aren't the same!

M

  • Masters: Swimmers aged 25+
  • Maximum Number of Entries: Each meet and/or event has a maximum number of swimmers that can be accommodated. If more swimmers enter than can be accommodated, the meet and/or event is Oversubscribed and some swimmers may be Scratched
  • Medley Relay: A group of four swimmers in a relay team, whereby each swimmer swims a single stroke within the event. The stroke order for a Medley Relay are: backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle.
  • Meet: A series of events held in one programme. Also known as a Gala.
  • Meet Level: Each swim meet is licenced by the ASA and assigned a level, 1,2, 3 or 4 (http://www.swimming.org/sport/licensed-meets/) as follows:
    • Level 4 - This is often seen as an entry level meet for new competitive swimmers, an internal club meet or a small invitation only meet where only a few external clubs attend. These meets normally have no entry restriction regarding a faster than or slower than time.

      Aim: Level 4 meets are aimed at swimmers trying to obtain their first recorded times or those swimmers targeting County Championships. Times achieved at level 4 meets CAN be used for entering County Championships
      Which Squads: All members of Swim Bournemouth Squads can normally attend a level 4 meet. This means that a level 4 meet can have a spread of ability from both entry level development swimmer right up to the performance/elite swimmers.
      Where can a time achieved at Level 4 meets be used: Times achieved at Level 4 meets CAN be used for entering County Championships. They CANNOT be used to enter Regional or National meets. For other meets, you must check the specific meet entry conditions to confirm if times from a Level 4 meet are acceptable

    • Level 3 - These meets normally have a "No faster than" time limit for events. Often these times are in-line with the "Auto" County Championships. These meets are specifically designed for swimmers that are trying to obtain "Auto" county times. Hence, these meets exclude the elite/performance swimmers and are more suitable for entry level competitive swimmers<

      Aim: Level 3 meets are aimed at swimmers trying to obtain "Auto" County Championship entry times.
      Where can a time achieved at Level 3 meets be used: Times achieved at Level 3 meets CAN be used for entering County Championships and Regional meets. They CANNOT be used to enter National meets. For other meets, you must check their entry conditions to confirm if times from a Level 3 meet are acceptable
      Which Squads: These meets are designed for County or Regional squads or for Performance swimmers wishing to improve times for their weaker stokes. A level 3 meet will normally exclude elite regional and national level swimmers.

    • Level 2 - These events are all "Short Course" and have a "No SLOWER than" time restriction for events. These meets are designed for county level swimmers that are trying to obtain regional or national times. Hence, these meets are not suitable for the development swimmers.

      Aim: Level 2 meets are aimed at swimmers trying to obtain Regional or National Championship entry times.
      Where can a time achieved at Level 2 meets be used: Times achieved at Level 2 meets CAN be used for entering any meet.
      Which Squads: These meets are designed for performance/elite swimmers. Hence, normally swimmers in the Regional and Performance squads will be invited to attend a level 2 swim meet.

    • Level 1 - The only difference between a Level 2 and Level 1 meet is that Level 1 meets are all "Long Course" 50m events.

      Aim: Level 1 meets are aimed at swimmers trying to obtain Regional or National Championship entry times.
      Where can a time achieved at Level 1 meets be used: Times achieved at Level 1 meets CAN be used for entering any meet.
      Which Squads: These meets are designed for performance/elite swimmers. Hence, normally swimmers in the Regional and Performance squads will be invited to attend a level 1 swim meet.

  • Mini-Gala: An event or series of events where a swimmer records their times in order to improve on personal best times and achieve qualifying times for entry to events. These are sometimes known as Time-Trials and may be classed as a Level 4 meet if appropriate.

N

  • Nationals (Summer/Winter): ASA senior, junior and age group meets conducted each year at a national level (i.e. England, Scotland or Wales). This competition is designed as the next step after Regionals for competitive swimmers.
  • No Faster Than Time: When a swimmer is entered for a race that has a "No Faster Than" time specified, the swimmers entry time must be SLOWER than the "No Faster Than" time for the event. NOTE: If a swimmers time is faster than the "No Faster Than" time, they will not be eligible to enter the race.
  • No Slower Than Time: When a swimmer is entered for a race that has a "No Slower Than" time specified, the swimmers entry time must be FASTER than the "No Slower Than" time for the event. NOTE: If a swimmers time is slower than the "No Slower Than" time, they will not be eligible to enter the race
  • Novice: A beginner or someone who does not have experience (i.e. Novice Swimmer, Novice Time Keeper).
  • NTR: No Time Recorded. The abbreviation used on a heat sheet to show that the swimmers time was not officially recorded.
  • Nutrition: Swimmers need to have a balanced diet and often need additional calories to replace those used during training. Swim England provide excellent information regarding they type of food and snack bars swimmers should be eating here. http://www.swimming.org/sport/swim-parents-advice/young-swimmer-nutrition/

O

  • Official: A judge on the poolside, dressed in white at licenced swim meets. The judges have a variety of roles, including an official starter, referee and also lane judges monitor the swimmer's strokes, turns and finishes. You can really help Swim Bournemouth by becoming an official - Swim Bournemouth can't run meets without officials, so they are always desperately needed. Plus, when your swimmer attends other non-Swim Bournemouth meets, you can help there too and it means you'll always be poolside to see your swimmer swim! Don't delay - start your officials training today! Please contact volunteers@swimbournemouth.uk to find out about the next set of free courses.
  • Official Time (OT): The swimmers event time recorded to one hundredth of a second (.01).
  • Open Age Category: An event where a swimmer of any age can enter. However, these are normally associated with having a "No Slower Than" entry time, hence swimmers of any age can enter, so long as they meet the minimum qualifying time!
  • Open Meet: A competition which any qualified club, organisation, or individual with Category 2 membership may enter.
  • Oversubscribed: Each meet and/or race has a certain number of swimmers that can be accommodated. If more swimmers enter than can be accommodated, the meet and/or event is oversubscribed and the swimmers that can't be accommodated will be Scratched
  • Over the Top Start: At some meets and galas for Front Crawl (Freestyle), Breaststroke and Butterfly races to save time the swimmers will remain in the water after their event until the next race starts. Swimmers will be asked to "Clear the pool" when it's okay for them to get out of the pool, once the swimmers have left the blocks.

P

  • Pace Clock: The large clock at the end of the pool so the swimmers can check their times during warm-ups or swim practice.
  • Paddles: Hand paddles are devices worn by swimmers during training. They consist of a curved plastic plate worn over the swimmer's palm and attached over the back of the swimmer's hand with elastic cords. The plate is often perforated with a pattern of holes. These give the swimmer considerably more forward propulsion from the arm stroke than the hand can give alone.
  • Parents: The taxi service to/from the pool for swimmers! A useful site that all parents should regularly check is: http://www.swimming.org/sport/swim-parents-advice/
  • PB (Personal Best): The best time a swimmer has done so far in each stroke and distance. A swimmers PB times are available here https://www.swimmingresults.org/individualbest/
  • Pull Buoy: A pull buoy or leg float is a figure-eight shaped piece of foam used in training. Swimmers place the buoy between the legs - either between their thighs or their ankles to provide support to the body without kicking the legs. This allows the swimmer to focus on training only their arms and developing both endurance and upper body strength.

Q

  • Qualifying Time: Published times necessary to enter most Open Meets, and all County, District and National competitions. Some competitions will have upper ("No Faster Than") and lower ("No Slower Than") qualifying times.

R

  • Rankings: All swimming times that are recorded at a licensed Swim England meet are entered into an online database called rankings. This is where you can compare your time to others in your age group, county, region or country. https://swimmingresults.org/
  • Referee: The head official at a licenced swim meet.
  • Regional Championships: Usually held across a number of weekends in May. To be eligible to enter the competition, swimmers must have achieved a Regional Qualifying time (RQT - see below) within the qualifying window of Jun-Mar prior to the championships. This competition is designed as next step after the County Championships. https://www.swimwest.org.uk/
  • Regional Qualifying Time (RQT): To enter the Regional Championships, a swimmers entry time must meet one of the qualifying times detailed below:
    • Auto Regional Qualifying Time: Anyone with an "Auto" regional qualifying time WILL be guaranteed a swim at a regional championship should they enter. These qualifying times will be faster than the Base/Consideration times. or
    • Base/Consideration Regional Qualifying Time: Anyone with a "Base/Consideration" regional qualifying time MAY be able to swim at a regional championship. If there is space available once all the "Auto" qualifying swimmers have been selected for an event, swimmers that have achieved the base/consideration time may be accepted. Those swimmers who are closest to the automatic time shall be accepted first until the swimmer limit is reached for each event.
  • Registered: Swimmers register with the ASA to be able to participate in competitive swimming meets.
  • Relays: A swimming event in which 4 (or more) swimmers participate as a relay team and each swimmer swims an equal distance of the race.

S

  • Scratch: To withdraw from an event after having declared an intention to participate.
  • Scratched: The swim event was oversubscribed and that swimmer was not able to be entered for the scratched event by the meet organisers.
  • Seed: The swimmers are assigned heats and lanes according to the times they submitted for a race (normally their PB times).
  • Senior Meet: A meet that is for senior level swimmers and is not divided into age groups. Qualification times are usually necessary and will vary depending on the level of the meet.
  • Set: Swim workouts during training are divided up into sets of swims in a particular stroke, style, and distance, such as kick sets, pull sets, distance sets, sprint sets, IM sets, etc. Sets are given in terms of the distance to be swum in metres.
  • Short Course: A 25 metre pool.
  • Short Course Time: The time recorded for an event in a short course (25m) pool. Note: times swam in a Short Course pool will normally be faster than those swam in a Long Course pool. . This is because there are twice as many turns in a Short Course event compared to a Long Course event. The ability to push off from a wall, really helps swimmers during an event and enables them to achieve quicker times in Short Course races compared to Long Course. Please don't compare Long Course Times directly with Short Course Times, they aren't the same!
  • Southern Junior League: A team event for younger club swimmers. Swimmers get to compete as a team with other clubs in and around the southern area. Clubs are ranked in a league.
  • Split Time: A swimmer's intermediate time in a race. Splits are registered every 25 or 50 metres depending upon the distance of the race and are used to determine if the swimmer is swimming at the correct pace.
  • Sprint Meet: A meet that normally consists of 50m and 100m events.
  • Squad: A group of swimmers grouped by similar ability
  • Squad Fees: These are the monthly fees that need to be paid for each swimmer to cover the cost of the coaches and pool hire. The latest fees can be found here https://uk.teamunify.com/team/reczzsb/page/about-us/squad-fees
  • Squad Timetable: The timetable that details when and where each squad swims. The latest timetable can be found on the Swim Bournemouth website https://uk.teamunify.com/team/reczzsb/page/about-us/training-schedule.
  • Step-Down: The command given by the Starter or Referee to have the swimmers step down and move off the blocks.
  • Submitted Time: Times used to enter swimmers in meets. These times must normally have been achieved by the swimmer at a prior meet. For County, Regional/District & National championships the submitted times must be achieved in Designated Meets
  • Swim England: Formally known as the ASA (see ASA for more info). http://www.swimming.org/
  • Swim Season: The swim season usually runs from September through to August. Usually the following main events occur throughout the season:
    Month Meet Minimum Age How to qualify
    Jun-Sep Southern Junior League Swimmers aged 9 to 12 Invite only
    Sept-Jul Open Meets Varies - As defined by the meet conditions Info sent out to relevant squads as appropriate
    Sep Swim Bournemouth Club Championships Normally swimmers aged 8+ Member of a Swim Bournemouth swim squad
    Oct-Dec National Arena Swimming League Normally swimmers aged 10+ Invite only
    Oct Inter-Counties Championships Normally swimmers aged 12+ Invite only
    Nov Winter Regional Championships Normally swimmers aged 16+ Meet the minimum RQTs at Level 1, 2 or 3 meets
    Dec Winter National Championships Normally Female Swimmers aged 12+ or Male swimmers aged 13+ during the year of the competition Invite only
    Jan/Feb County Championships Swimmers aged 10+ during the year of the competition Meet the minimum CQTs at Level 1, 2, 3 or 4 meets
    May Summer Regional Championships Swimmers aged 11+ during the year of the competition Meet the minimum RQTs at Level 1, 2 or 3 meets
    Jul County Development Championships Swimmers aged 9+ at the time of the competition Slower than the "Upper Limit" qualifying times
    Jul Summer British Championships Normally Female Swimmers aged 12+ or Male swimmers aged 13+ during the year of the competition Invite only
    Aug English National Championships Normally Female Swimmers aged 12+ or Male swimmers aged 13+ during the year of the competition Invite only

T

  • "Take your Marks": The command to take your starting position at the beginning of a race.
  • Team Manager: A volunteer that is poolside with the swimmers at a meet that directs them to the Whipping Area, when it's their time to swim.
  • Time Trials: An event or series of events where a swimmer records their times in order to improve on personal best times and achieve qualifying times for entry to events. These are sometimes known as Mini-Galas and may be classed as a Level 4 meet if appropriate.
  • Touch Pad: The removable pad (on the end of pools) which is connected to an automatic timing system. A swimmer must firmly touch the touch pad for it to register their official time in a race.
  • Treasurer: This is the person who manages the purse strings for Swim Bournemouth. They can be contacted via treasurer@swimbournemouth.uk

V

  • Volunteers: These are super, amazing, lovely people that help the club, FOR FREE - this could be you. Swim Bournemouth always needs helpers for meets or behind the scenes. All help is gratefully received no matter how big or small! Don't delay - volunteer today! Get in touch via volunteers@swimbournemouth.uk and offer your help.

W

  • Whipping Area: A room or area on or near the pool side for the swimmers to gather before they compete in a race

Other useful resources:

http://www.swimming.org/sport/swim-parents-advice/

Have we missed anything?

If so, please get in touch with us via volunteers@swimbournemouth.uk or meets@swimbournemouth.uk