Swim Terms


A glossary of terms from the 'swimming-english' dictionary:

Age Group

Division of swimmers according to age. The National Age Group divisions are:  10-under, 11‑12, 13‑14, 15‑16,17‑18. Some LSC's have divided the swimmers into more convenient divisions specific to their situations: (ie) 8-under, 13-Over, 15-Over, Junior, Senior.

'B', 'BB'

Time classifications for swimmers created and updated by USA Swimming. Levels include 'B', 'BB', 'A', 'AA', 'AAA', 'AAAA' and 'Top 10'. Used by Arizona Swimming for qualifying times in some invitational swim meets and championships.

Championship Meet

The meet held at the end of a season. Qualification times are usually necessary to enter meet.


Designated distance (length of pool) for swimming competition. (Long Course = 50 meters (summer season) / Short Course = 25 yards or 25 meters (winter season)


A division of an event when there are too many swimmers to compete at the same time. Spoken this way: 'I am in Event 3, Heat 4, Lane 1' or 'What heat and lane am I in?'


Local Swim Committee. The local level administrative division of the corporation (USA Swimming) with supervisory responsibilities within certain geographic boundaries designated by the Corporation. Our LSC is 'Arizona Swimming'.


No Time. The abbreviation used on a heat sheet to designate that the swimmer has not swam that event before.


Short for 'No Time Standards'. Swim meets that do not require qualifying times for entry. This encourages participation from new swimmers, as well as swimmers trying new events.



The procedure required before a swimmer swims an event in a deck seeded meet. The swimmer must mark their name on a list posted by the meet host. Usually associated with distance events like the 1650 free or 400IM
Prelims/Finals Type of meet with two sessions. The preliminary heats are usually held in the morning session. The fastest 8 (Championship Heat) swimmers, and the next fastest 8 swimmers (Consolation Heat) return in the evening to compete in the Finals. A swimmer who has qualified in the Consolation Finals may not place in the Championship Finals even if their finals time would place them so. The converse also applies.

'Qualifying Time' Minimum time standard set to participate in a championship or some invitational swim meets. Arizona Swimming updates their championship qualifying times each season.


Assign the swimmers heats and lanes according to their submitted or preliminary times. Deck Seeding - swimmers are called to report to the Clerk of the Course. After scratches are determined, the event is seeded. Pre Seeding - swimmers are arranged in heats according to submitted times.


A portion of an event, shorter than the total distance, that is timed. A swimmers first 50 time is taken as the swimmer swims the 100 race. It is common to take multiple splits for the longer distances. This is also the individual leg of a relay, 'relay split'.

Timed Finals Races swum only once to determine the final placings.

Time Standards

A time set by a meet or LSC that a swimmer must achieve for qualification or recognition. Also known as a QT