Meet Lingo


Why 25 and 50 Yards (meters)?

Age groups are organized around the different lengths. Generally, 25 yards is one length of the pool. Fifty yards is 2 lengths of the pool, or from the blocks, a turn and back.

What is Freestyle?

Freestyle is the front crawl, flutter kick.

What is Backstroke?

Backstroke is done on your back. Head is back, back is arched; use the flutter kick, arms alternate (one then the other). Swimmers cannot roll past 90 degrees from their back as they stroke and cannot roll onto their side or stomach when approaching the finish. (Many younger swimmers have a tendency to do this to see how close they are to the wall; they should learn to count the number of strokes they need to take after they pass under the flags.)

What is the Breaststroke?

The breaststroke uses the whip kick (or frog kick is acceptable), while arms pull underwater simultaneously. The head moves up and down but must not go below the surface of the water. Feet must stay below the water. The two hands must touch on the turn and finish level and simultaneously (two hand touch).

What is the Butterfly?

In the butterfly, the feet and knees are together on the kick, arms move simultaneously. The two hands must touch level and simultaneously on turns and at the finish.

What is Medley Relay?

It is a 4 swimmer event in which each swimmer on the relay team swims one of the 4 strokes in this order: back, breast, fly, freestyle.

What is the Individual Medley Relay (IM)?

An event for those 9 years and older, in which each swimmer in the event swims one length of each of the following strokes in this order: fly, back, breast, and freestyle.

My swimmer does well in the Freestyle. Why is he/she swimming the backstroke, his/her poorest?

The coaching staff attempts to give every swimmer the maximum opportunity to swim all strokes regardless of the swimmer’s ability as this serves to develop the swimmer’s overall performance.

My swimmer is only 10, why is he/she swimming in the 11-12 group?

Swimmers are sometimes moved up to help fill team requirements. Also, as a swimmer gets better, he/she can be moved up to give better competition and more of a challenge.

What is exhibition swimming?

If there are lanes open in an event, by agreement of the coaches, a swimmer, regardless of age or gender, can fill that lane as an exhibition swimmer. A participant swimming exhibition may not receive ribbons or awards for that event, and no points are awarded, but the swimmer will get a time and it is good practice. Some swimmers swim exhibition to be able to swim in more races, to practice on a stroke they have difficulty with; to compete against the opposite gender; to practice starts and turns; or because their coaches requested them to do so.

Who are the officials at the meet?

The basic officials include a referee, starter, stroke and turn judges, timers and scorers. All of our officials are swim parents who assist voluntarily.


What is a stroke judge?

The stroke judge determines if a stroke is being swum properly. He/she usually walks along the edge of the pool.

What is a turn judge?

A turn judge determines if the swimmer touches before starting another length and makes certain the swimmer complies with the turning rules applicable to the stroke used. Turn judges stand at the opposite end of the pool from the starting blocks.

What is a place judge?

A place judge determines the finish of the swimmers by lane. This is a visual determination. He stands at the side of the pool where the race will end.

What do timers do?

The timers (2-3 per lane) use stop watches or press buttons on automatic timing devices to obtain a swimmers time. They record the times on the swimmer’s card. Timers also stand at the end of the pool where the race will finish.

What do scorers do?

The scorers determine the winners in an event based on the timers and the place judge’s determinations. In the event of a timing malfunction or a discrepancy in times, it is the place judge’s determination that decides. People at the scorers table also record times on team records for the coaches.

What is DQ?

DQ means that the swimmer has been disqualified in that event. Generally, a swimmer is disqualified from an event when the swimmer does not swim a stroke properly, does not touch or turn correctly or swims a wrong stroke in a relay.

What are the common reasons for being "DQ"ed?

- Not swimming the stroke properly, e.g. in the fly, the swimmer may not use flutter kick

- Not swimming the stroke throughout the entire event

- More than one false start (diving before the start gun is fired)

- Failure to touch simultaneously with both hands on turns and finish in both butterfly and


- Taking more than one arm pull or leg kick while submerged at the start or at the turn on


- A relay team may be DQ’ed for starting before the preceding swimmer has touched

What should a swimmer do if he/she realizes they are DQ’ed?

Sometimes during a race a swimmer becomes aware that he/she has been DQ’ed. If this happens, he/she SHOULD KEEP SWIMMING TO THE BEST OF THEIR ABILITY. If one member of a relay team is DQ’ed the team still completes the relay.

Please help your swimmer realize that being DQ’ed is not the end of the world. It is important to try you best, but mistakes occur. Please realize it takes a special kind of determination and sportsmanship to continue under these circumstances. It is beneficial to let your swimmer know that you’re proud of him/her anyway.