Gulf Swimming

Block—The starting platform.

Bulkhead—A moveable wall, to divide a pool into different courses, such as a 50-meter pool into two 25-yard courses.

Chase Starts—In long course, male and female swimmers will start their events on opposite ends of the pool and each event will alternate one heat of girls, then one heat of boys.  When the heat in the water completes 3/4 of their race, the heat at the opposite end of the pool will start their race.

Circle-In—Performed by swimmers upon arriving at a meet to designate their intention to swim a race.  The swimmer will actually circle in their name for each event they intend to swim at that competition.

Circle Swimming—Performed by staying to the right of the black line when swimming in a lane to enable more swimmers to safely swim in each lane.

Clerk of Course—Person responsible for receiving deck entries at a meet and for handling the circle-in process for swimmers.

Cut—Slang term for a qualifying time.  A time standard necessary to attend a particular meet or event.

Deck Entries—Entries for events that are not done in advance, but on the swimming deck prior to the start of the meet.

Distance Events—Term used to refer to events over 500 yards.

DQ—Disqualification.  This occurs when a swimmer has committed an infraction of some kind (ex. Freestyle kick in butterfly.  A disqualified swimmer is not eligible to receive awards, nor can the time be used as an official time.

Drill—A teaching exercise involving a portion of a stroke which is used to improve technique.

Dryland Training—Training done out of the water that aids and enhances swimming performance; usually includes stretching and calisthenics.

Entry Form—Form on which a swimmer enters a competition.  Usually includes club and swimmer name, USA Swimming number, age, sex, event names and entry times.

False Start—Occurs when a swimmer is moving before the start is sounded.  In USA Swimming, one false start will result in disqualification.

Final—The championship heat of an event in which the top swimmers from the preliminaries compete.

Flags—Backstroke flags placed 5 yards from the end of the pool.  The flags enable backstrokers to execute a turn safely and more efficiently.

Goal—A specific skill or time achievement a swimmer sets and strives for.  Can be short or long term.

I.M.—Short for Individual Medley.  An event in which the swimmer uses all four strokes in the following order: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle.

LSC—Local Swimming Committee.  The governing body for swimming at the local level.  Our LSC is the GULF.

Meet—Competition designed to be a learning experience.  By implementing what has been learned in practice, the swimmer races against the clock to determine improvement.

Negative Split—Swimming the second half of the race equal to or faster than the first half.

No-Show—When a swimmer circles-in for his/her event but does not report to swim the event or misses the event.  There is a $5.00 fine imposed by Gulf Swimming at the end of each season (May and July) for each no-show event.

Official—A judge on the deck of the pool at a sanctioned competition who enforces USA Swimming rules. There are stroke and turn judges, administrative officials, starters, timers and referees.

Pace Clock—Large clock with a large second hand and a smaller minute hand, used to check pace or maintain intervals in practice; may also be digital.

Prelims—Short for preliminaries.  Also called Heats or Trials.  Those races in which swimmers qualify for the championship, consolation finals or semi-finals.

Proof of Time—Swimmers must qualify for certain meets based on their best times.  Entry chairpersons must send in proof that the entry time has been made, including the time and meet the time was achieved.  If a swimmer competes in an event where he/she does not qualify and the time cannot be proven, there is a $20.00 fine per event levied by Gulf Swimming at the end of each season (May and July).

Q-Time—Qualifying time necessary to compete in a particular event and/or competition.  Also known as a cut.

Relay—An event in which four swimmers compete together as a team to achieve one time.

Scratch—To withdraw from an event prior to it being held in a competition.

Short Course—A pool 25 yards or meters in length.  USA Swimming conducts most of its winter competition in short course yards.

Split—A time recorded from the official start to the completion of an intermediate distance within a longer event.  Also the time for one of the four individuals in a relay.

Sprint—Describes the shorter events (50 and 100).  In training, to swim as fast as possible for a short distance.

Streamline—The position used by swimmers when starting or pushing off the walls designed to reduce water resistance.

Taper—The final preparation phase, sometimes referred to as “rest”.  The slow gradual reduction of work loads and intensities in preparation for season ending competition.

Three-Event Rule—A swimmer with three “A” times may swim all other events offered in that division entered at the qualifying standard.

Time Standards—Performance requirements to enter a swimming competition.  Standards are determined for local swim meets by the LSC.

Time Trial—A time-only swim, which is not part of a regular meet.

Touch Pad—A large touch sensitive board at the end of each lane where a swimmer’s finish is registered and sent electronically to the timing system.

Up/Down Rule—If a swimmer has an “A” time in a particular stroke he/she may swim the immediately preceding or following distance of that stroke in that division.

USA Swimming—The national governing body for competitive swimming in the United States.

Warm Down—Low intensity swimming used by swimmers after a race or main practice set to rid the body of excess lactic acid and to gradually reduce heart rate and respiration.

Warm Up—Low intensity swimming used by swimmers prior to a main practice set or race to get muscles loose and warm.  Warm up gradually increases heart rate, respiration and helps to prevent injury.

Watches—Stopwatches used to time swimmers during a competition.  When totally automatic timing equipment is used, watches serve as a back-up method.

Weight Training—A form of dryland training that is suggested only for older swimmers.