Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Swimming Terms

A Champs - invitational meet at the end of the SAL season, usually in February, that invites the top 18 swimmers from all divisions in each event to compete in a championship league meet.

B Champs - invitational meet at the end of the season, usually in January, that allows all swimmers to compete in a championship style meet against swimmers in their division. Cannot compete in events at this meet if you are qualified for the event in A champs.

Bronze Champs - a USA meet at the end of the season, usually in March, that allows USA swimmers with qualifying times to compete. Not as high of a level as silver champs.

DQ - (disqualification) when a swimmer is disqualified by a meet official for a stroke violation, mistake, early or false start, or inappropriate conduct.  

Dual meet- a meet that has two teams competing against each other for points to win.

Event - any race defined by age, sex, stroke, and distance. May also be a series of dives.

False Start -

Freestyle relay - when 4 swimmers compete together in a relay, each one swimming the same distance of the freestyle stroke.

Heat - a divided segment of an event in which there are too many swimmers to compete at the same time.

JO’s - (junior olympics) a highly competitive USA meet for swimmers 14 and under who meet certain high level qualifying times.

IM - (individual medley) an event in which one person swims a series of specified distances in each of the four competitive strokes in this order: Butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle.

Lane- the specific area in which the swimmer is assigned to swim. Can range from 6 to 10 lanes usually.

Lap - one length of the pool, usually 25 yards. Two laps is 50 yards, 4 laps is 100 yards. Many outdoor pools are 25 meters in length instead of yards which is a little bit longer. Olympic pools are 50 meters in length.

Leg - the part of a relay race that is swum by a single team member. There are four legs in every relay. The first leg is called the Lead-off and the last leg is the Anchor.

Long course - (LC) meets or events that are swum in a 50 meter pool.

Medley relay - a relay in which 4 swimmers compete together with each swimming a different stroke in a specified distance to complete the event.  The order is backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, freestyle.

Mid Atlantic  - our branch of USA swimming comprising of many states in the mid Atlantic region. See the website for details.

Psych sheets - a list of swimmers entered in a meet in the order of their seed time. Usually from slowest to fastest. This is often released before a meet to give swimmers and coaches an idea of the level of competition at a meet.

Qualifying times - a set of minimum and sometimes maximum times a swimmer must attain in each event to be eligible for a particular swim meet.

SAL - Suburban Aquatic League. A league that is comprised of 21 teams from Bucks, Montgomery and Delaware counties. It is broken into 4 divisions, north, south, east, west.

See the website for more information.

Scratch - when a swimmer is withdrawn from an event or from a meet for any number of reasons.

Seed - when swimmers are placed in a meet according to their submitted times.

Senior Champs - a high level USA meet for swimmers usually 15 and over but may include younger swimmers. Must have qualifying times.

Silver Champs - a USA meet designed for swimmers who do not meet the qualifying times for Junior Olympics or Senior Champs. Still a high level competitive meet with qualifying times.