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Swim Terms

“A" Times, “B” Times, etc: (also called Time Standards)A time designated by a hosting team 

or LSC or USA Swimming that a swimmer must achieve for qualification or recognition. (See 

Appendix B for current Short Course Standards) 

 

Age-UpOn their birth date, swimmers move into the next age group. 

 

AnchorThe final swimmer in a relay. 

  

BlocksThe starting platforms located behind each lane.  

 

Championship MeetThe meet held at the end of a season. Qualification times are usually 

necessary to enter meet. 

 

Circle InThe procedure required before a swimmer swims an event in a deck seeded meet. 

Sometimes referred to as a "positive check in", the swimmer must mark their name on a list 

posted by the meet host. 

 

Clerk of CourseThe area of a swim meet that the administrative aspects are done. The "on- 

deck entry" is usually located in this area. 

 

DeckThe area around the swimming pool reserved for swimmers, officials and coaches. 

 

Drag SuitAn extra suit worn over a practice or racing suit to provide extra resistance.  

 

DrillA set of swimming exercises designed to improve technique. 

 

Dropped TimeWhen a swimmer goes faster than the previous performance, they have "dropped 

their time." 

 

DrylandThe exercises and various strength programs swimmers do out of the water. 

 

EntryAn individual, relay team, or club roster’s event list entered in a swim competition. 

 

False Start When a swimmer leaves the starting block before the horn or gun. One false start will 

disqualify a swimmer or a relay team, although the starter or referee may disallow the false start 

due to unusual circumstances. 

 

HeatsA division of an event when there are too many swimmers to compete at the same time.  

There are usually 8 swimmers per heat. 

 

IntervalA specific elapsed time for swimming or rest used during swim practice. 

 

Lane AssignmentThe lane a swimmer will be in for their heat of the event they are swimming.  

 

LapOne length of the course. Sometimes may also mean down and back (2 lengths) of the 

course. 

 

LengthThe extent of the competitive course from end to end. See Lap. 

 

Long CourseA swim season running from early April to mid-August. Meets are generally held 

outside in a 50 meter pool. 

 

LSC Local Swim Committee. The local level administrative division of USA Swimming with 

supervisory responsibilities within certain geographic boundaries designated by USA Swimming. 

FCST is in the Gulf LSC. 

 

NT or No TimeThe abbreviation used on a heat sheet to designate that the swimmer has not 

swam that event before. 

 

On-deck EntriesEntering a swimmer on the day of the meet. Usually done at the Clerk of 

Course area and the entry fees usually double. 

 

Qualifying TimesPublished times necessary to enter certain meets, or the times necessary to 

achieve a specific category of swimmer. See “A” Times/Time Standards 

 

ScratchTo withdraw from an event after having declared an intention to participate. Some meets 

have scratch deadlines and specific scratch rules and if not followed, the swimmer can be 

disqualified from remaining events.  

 

SeedAssign the swimmer’s heats and lanes according to their submitted or preliminary times. 

 

SetA series of laps and strokes done during practice. 

 

Short CourseA season of swimming running from mid August through May where meets are 

swum in an indoor, 25 yard pool. 

 

StrokeThere are 4 competitive strokes: Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, Freestyle. IM 

(Individual Medley) is an event in which all four strokes are swum in sequence.  

 

TAGSTexas Age Group Swimming meet held at the end of each season. Qualifying time 

standards for TAGS generally fall between the national “A” and “AA” time standards. 

 

TaperThe resting phase for swimmers at the end of the season before the championship meet. 

 

TimerThe volunteers sitting behind the starting blocks/finish end of pool, who are responsible for 

getting watch times on events and activating the backup buttons for the timing system. At meets 

each team is usually assigned lanes for which they are responsible for supplying timers for the 

duration of the meet. 

 

USA SwimmingThe governing body of swimming in the United States. 

 

USA Swimming Number  Membership number for all USA Swimming members. Needed for 

“on-deck" entries. Consists of the first 3 letters of the swimmers last name, the middle initial, and 

the first 4 letters in the last name. For example: Kent Michael Nelson, born Aug.27, 1976, would 

be 0 8 2 7 7 6 k e n m n l s 

 

Warm-downThe loosening-up a swimmer does after a race when pool space is available. 

 

 
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