Glossary of Terms

ASCA - The American Swimming Coaches Association is the professional organization for coaches in the United States. ASCA certifies coaches, offers education opportunities, assists coaches in a number of areas and is a strong political organization in United States Swimming. To be an ASCA member coaches must sign a code of ethics, continually work on their education and provide service to the swimming committee.

TWS - The official abbreviation for Tidal Wave Swimming. It will be listed in the heat sheets this way.

CLERK OF COURSE - at certain meets, the area where swimmers are organized before each event.

DQ - Disqualification. If listed on the results sheet for an event, it denotes a swimmer was disqualified for a rule infraction. If your child was disqualified in an event and is not aware of the reason; ask your child's coach. Do not approach meet officials about disqualifications.

DECK SEEDING - Usually at "A" and above meets, but also at some "B-C" meets, the longer events will deck seeded. Swimmers will be given lane assignments just prior to swimming. A check-in will be held early in the meet to determine who is present, so that full heats will be swum. Swimmers must check in for these events. An announcement is usually made over the public address system.

ESCROW ACCOUNT - Individual account administered by the team into which swimmers deposit funds to be used for meet entries. The escrow account must have an adequate positive balance in order for a swimmer to be entered in a meet for which he or she has signed up.

FALSE START - When a swimmer is in motion or leaves the starting block before the starting signal is given. One false start will disqualify a swimmer or a relay team.

FINALS - the session of a meet where qualifying rounds were previously held to determine the finalists (usually 6 to 20 in number depending on pool size and whether or not consolation finals are being held). The finalists compete to determine the winner.

HEAT SHEET - a listing of all swimmers in a meet by event, heat and lane assignments. These will be available at meets for a cost of $3.00 and up.

L.S.C. - Local Swimming Committee. Within USA Swimming there are 52 L.S.C.'s. Tidal Wave is a member of the North Division of the Georgia L.S.C

LONG COURSE - a type of competitive pool which measures 50 meters in length. This is the standard course for International, Senior National and Olympic competition.

PRELIMS - in certain meets, especially championship meets, the qualifying rounds used to determine the finalists. These meets are usually set up to swim Prelims in the morning and Finals in the evening.

REFEREE - the USA Swimming official who has authority over all other officials at a swim meet. He/She makes all final decisions and sees to the efficient running of the meet.

SEED TIMES - the time a swimmer uses to enter competitions. This time (generally the swimmer's best time) is used to determine a swimmer's heat and lane, when compared to other entrants. This system ensures that each swimmer is competing immediately with swimmers with similar best times.

SENIOR MEET - all USA Swimming registered swimmers who meet the qualifying times are eligible to compete. No age groups are used... the only classification is men or women.

SHORT COURSE - a type of competitive pool measuring 25 yards or 25 meters in length. Our pool is a short course pool.

SPLIT - a per lap time that coaches use to determine pace for each swim. Splits are a great teaching tool.

STARTER - The USA Swimming official at a meet responsible for starting each heat, calling the next heat to the block, and ensuring that each swimmer gets a fair start.

STROKE JUDGE - a USA Swimming certified official who determines the legality of a swimmer's strokes and notifies the Referee of disqualifications, if necessary.

TIME STANDARDS - certain qualifying times are established each year for both short course and long course and are used to classify swimmers for competition. These time standards are derived from a percentage formula based on the 16th fastest time in each event, each year.

TOUCH PAD - the part of the electronic timing system that rests against the wall at the finishing end of each lane. Swimmer's times are electronically recorded when the pad is touched.  

UNATTACHED - the status a swimmer receives when he/she changes from one USA Swimming club to another. Swimmers must be "unattached" for 120 days from their last competition for one club until they can compete for their new club. During this time they may swim for a club in individual events, but may not score or swim on relays.

USA SWIMMING - the abbreviation for United States Swimming Inc. which is the governing body for all amateur swimming in the United States. They are headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado at the Olympic Training Center.  

USA SWIMMING NUMBER -The unique registration number of each athlete member in USA Swimming. This unique number has 14 places. The formula for deriving your USA Swimming # is:

  • The first 6 places are the swimmer's birthday
  • The next 3 places are the first 3 letters of the swimmer's first name as it appears on birth certificate.
  • The 10th place is the swimmer's middle initial.
  • The last four places are the first 4 letters of the swimmer's last name.

If a swimmer does not have 3 letters in her first name, a middle initial, or 4 letters in her last name, then a z in used in those places. An example would be: 

Swimmer B. Fast, born on January 18, 1990. Their new number would be 011890SWIBFAST.

A swimmer with the name of Jane (No middle initial) Doe born on February 14, 1989 would have the number 021489JANZDOEZ.  

ZONES - The country is divided into 4 zones - Southern - Eastern – Central - Western. At the end of the long course season, in August, an All-Star competition is held between L.S.C. teams within each zone. The Southeastern Zone Team is picked at the Southeastern Long Course Championships and competes at the Southern Zone Championships the following week. Seven swimmers, male and female, are chosen from the following age groups, 11-12,13-14 and 15-18. Once a swimmer has qualified for Junior.