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 – Used in long course meets; back-to-back heats will start their events on opposite ends of the pool; 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 during practice


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 400 yards


DQ – Disqualification.  This occurs when a swimmer has committed an infraction of some kind (ex. Freestyle kick in butterfly.  A disqualified swimmer does not receive points for that swim, 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


Entry Form – Form on which a swimmer enters a competition (usually during the ‘deck entry’ process).  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


Long Course – A pool 50 meters in length.  USA Swimming conducts most of its summer competition in long course meters


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


Meet – a swimming competition between two or more teams


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 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 – clock used to check pace or maintain intervals in practice


Prelims – Short for preliminaries. Races in which swimmers swim in order to qualify for finals (or championship heats of an event)


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


Qualifying Time – 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.  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; the slow gradual reduction of workloads and intensities in preparation for season ending competition


Three-Event Rule – A swimmer with three qualifying 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 qualifying 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 and respiration and helps to prevent injury