Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Swimming Terms for the Novice Swim Parent

DISQUALIFICATION (D.Q.) - when a swimmer is disqualified by a meet Official for a stroke violation, early/false start or inappropriate conduct.


DISTRICTS - This is the YMCA championship meet in March.  There are certain time standards (see Qualifying Times) that a swimmer must attain to qualify for this meet.  The top 6 swimmers in each event advance to states.


EVENT - Any race defined by age, sex, stroke and distance. May also be a series of dives ‘in one division.

HEAT - A divided segment of an event in which there are too many swimmers to compete at one time.


JOs - This stands for Junior Olympics.  It is a highly-competitive meet for swimmers ages 14 & under who meet certain qualifying times.

INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY (IM) - An event in which one person swims a series of specified distances in each of the four competitive strokes: back, breast, butterfly and free.


LANE - The specific area in which the swimmer is assigned to swim, i.e., Lane 1, Lane 2, etc.

LAP - One length of the pool, which is 25 meters or yards. Two laps is 50, four laps is 100 etc.


LEG - The part of the relay event that is swum by a single team member.


PSYCH SHEETS - A list of swimmers entered in a meet in order of their seed time.  This is often released the week of the meet to give swimmers and coaches an idea of the level of competition at a meet.


QUALIFYING TIMES - This is a set of minimum (and sometimes maximum) times a swimmer must attain in each event to be eligible for a particular swim meet.  Not all times have qualifying times, but several of the meets we attend as a team do.

SCRATCH - Withdraw an individual from competition or an event.

SEED - Distribute the swimmers among the required number of heats and/or lanes according to their submitted times.During Invitationals, the swimmers with the slowest times swim in the first heat, and subsequent heats progress to the swimmers with the fastest times.