Glossary of training terms

Here are some of the terms you'll see used during a training session.  You will quickly become familiar with them, but if there is ever anything you don't understand, don't be afraid to ask!

Alt: alternating by distance set.  Eg. 4 x 50m alt br - bk = 50m breaststroke, then 50m backstroke, then 50m breaststroke and finally 50m backstroke.  (Don't confuse with "as".)

As: as sets for each distance.  Eg. 4 x 50m as br - bk = 25m breaststroke, 25m backstroke for each 50m.  (Don't confuse with "alt".)

BBM: beats below maximum heart rate (in beats per minute).  Calculate your maximum heart rate by taking 220 and subtracting your age in years.  (This isn't exact, but it works well enough.)  So if you are 10, use 210 as your maximum heart rate.  BBM will generally refer to what your heart rate should be when you have finished the distance.  If your heart rate is lower than the specified BBM, you need to work harder; if it is higher, then ease off a little bit.

Bk: backstroke.

Br: breaststroke.

Building: build up your speed within the distance.  eg. 4 x 25m building = for each 25m, start slow and build to fast.  (Don't confuse with "dec".)

Dec: descending.  Each distance in the set should be quicker than the one before it.  eg. 4 x 25m descending = do each 25m at a constant speed; the first one slowest, then getting quicker for each one. (Don't confuse with "building".)

F/c: front crawl.

Fly: butterfly.

Kick: swim with just your legs, not your arms.  Often you will use a kickboard for this, but not always.  Butterfly kick should always be done on your side or your back, to allow you to maintain a rhythm rather than pausing each time you need to breathe.

FTF: finish to feet.  Instead of a normal finish, which is with your hand(s), approach the wall as if you’re going into a turn, start the turn and stop when your feet touch the wall (do not push off).

IM: individual medley.  The event which uses all the four strokes; the order is butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, front crawl.  "100m IM" is 25m of each of those strokes; "200m IM" is 50m of each of those strokes and "400m IM" is a gruelling 100m of each of those strokes.

LiFo: last in, first out.  The first person in the lane should start as soon as the last person finishes.  This is often used for butterfly as it allows each swimmer to use the whole width of the lane.

Max: maximum effort.  As fast or as hard as you can.

No.1: your number 1 stroke - ie. your best one (or, if you have a gala coming up, the one you are intending to compete in.)

O/ch: own choice.  You choose which stroke to do.  Sometimes you will be told that this should not be front crawl.

On: set out on this time for each distance.  eg. 50m x 5 on 2mins = start each 50m two minutes after the one before.  Your rest time is the time between when you finished the previous 50m and the two minute point: eg. if the 50m takes you 1min 40sec, you will get 20sec rest; if it takes you 1min 30sec, you will get 30sec rest.  You will need to remember to look at the clock when you set out!  (Don't confuse with "rest".) 

Pull: swim with arms only (generally with a pull buoy between your legs). 

Rest: pause for this long between swims.  eg. 50m x 5, 30sec rest = take 30sec rest between each 50m, regardless of how long the 50m takes.  (Don't confuse with "on".)

RTC (or IM RTC): this means go through the IM strokes in pairs, in order, going "round the clock" - ie. 1st length fly, 2nd length back; then 3rd length back, 4th length breast; then 5th length breast, 6th length f/c; then 7th length f/c, 8th length fly.  It is a way of practising all the IM turns.

SKiDS: Swim, Kick, Drill, Swim - ie.  first length swim, 2nd length kick, 3rd length drill, 4th length swim.  If you aren't sure which drill to do, then ask!

SKiPS: Swim, Kick, Pull, Swim - ie. first length swim, 2nd length kick, 3rd length pull, 4th length swim.