Swimming Terminology

Swimming Terminology


Age group swim meet - all USA Swimming registered swimmers, 18 years of age and under, who have met the qualifying time standard for a specific event are eligible to participate in their age category. Age on the first day of competition shall govern the entire meet.

Deck seeding - a procedure of assigning swimmers to proper lanes and heats immediately before each event at the ready bench at the meet.

Finals - the session of a meet where qualifying rounds were held previously to determine the finalists. The finalists compete to determine the winner.

Heat Sheet - the listing of swimmers participating in a meet. Items are listed by event and by heat.

LAC - the official abbreviation for the Lancaster Aquatic Club for use on all entry forms for meets.

Long Course - a type of competitive pool which measures 50 meters in length. The standard size for all international competition and all world record swimming is the 50-meter course. Typically meets in these pools are conducted from the end of April through August.

Middle Atlantic - the regional area in which the Lancaster Aquatic Club competes.

Prelims - in certain meets, the qualifying rounds held for each event to determine the finalists.

Proof of Time - a requirement at some meets (usually "A" and above) to make certain that all swimmers have legally met the time standards for that meet.

Psych Sheet - a ranking by seeding times for all the swimmers entered in each race of a meet, sometimes used at meets in place of heat sheets.

Seeding Times - the time a swimmer uses to enter a meet. This time, which is located in the heat sheet, determines one's position and lane in the particular event.

Senior swim meet - all USA Swimming registered swimmers who have met the qualifying time standard for a specific event(s) are eligible to complete.

Short Course - a type of competitive pool which measures 25 yards or 25 meters in length. Typically meets are conducted in these pools from October to April.

Split - a per lap time that coaches often record for teaching the concept of pacing, for instance, a swimmer's time for each 25 yard leg of a 100 yard event in his/her split.

Swim-a-Thon - a swim to raise funds in which each team member solicits pledges per length for a maximum of 200 lengths or 2 hour time period. A portion of the proceeds goes to the USA Swimming Foundation and the rest to the team.

"Swimming World" - a monthly magazine with articles and stories about competitive swimming as well as some regional and all national meet results.

Time standards - certain qualifying times which have been set up annually by USA Swimming for all events in all levels of meets to insure that all competitors are of reasonably the same ability in their respective meets. The swimmer's goals should be betterment of his/her time progressing from the "C" standard to the "AAAA" standard.

"Top 16" - a tabulation of the Top 16 times in every age group and every event of all USA Swimming competition from the previous season. The short course "Top 16" are published in August and the long course "Top 16" are published every December.

Touch pad - the part of an electronic timing system that rests in the water at the finishing end of each lane. Swimmer's times are electronically recorded when the pad is touched.

Unattached - the status of a swimmer receives when changing from one USA Swimming club to another. A swimmer must be "unattached" for 120 days from their last competition with their previous USA Swimming club. During this time, they may compete individually but not in relays and many not represent any club.

USS# - the personal registration number for each athlete member in USA Swimming. The formula for deriving a USS# is:
Last initial, first initial, middle initial, then date of birth
For example, John A. Doe was born September 1, 1959.
His USS# is DJA090159