How To & Glossary of Swim Terms

How To...

Glossary of Swim Terms

  • BLOCK- The starting platform.
  • CONSOLATIONS- The second fastest heat in the finals. These swimmers can not move into the finals for places.
  • CUT- Qualifying time. A time standard is necessary to attend a particular meet or event.
  • DQ- Disqualified. This occurs when a swimmer has committed an infraction of some kind; e.g., a freestyle kick during butterfly.
  • DRILL- An exercise involving a portion or part of a stroke, used to improve technique.
  • DRYLAND TRAINING- Training done out of the water that aids and enhances swimming performance; usually includes stretching, calisthenics, and/or weight training.
  • DUAL MEET- Two teams competing against one another for team scores.
  • EXHIBITION- Competing in a heat as a “practice,” no points are earned by the exhibition swimmer, but the time is official.
  • FALSE START- Occurs when a swimmer is moving before the start is sounded. In USA-S and YMCA, one false start will result in a DQ.
  • FINAL- The championship heat of an event in which the top swimmers from the preliminaries compete.
  • FLAGS- Backstroke flags are placed 5 yards (short course) or 5 meters (long course) from the end of the pool.
  • HEAT- Specific race in an event. Each race is numbered by heat, usually, the last heats are the fastest times.
  • HEAT SHEET- Printed or electronic meet listing of all athlete’s lane assignments ordered by event number.
  • I.M.- Slang for Individual Medley, an event in which the swimmer uses all four strokes in the following order: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle.
  • OFFICIAL- A judge on the deck of the pool at a sanctioned competition who enforces rules. There are stroke and turn judges, 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- Slang for preliminaries, also called Heats or Trials. Those races in which swimmers qualify for the championship and consolation finals in the events.
  • SCRATCH- To withdraw from an event in a competition.
  • SPLIT- A time recorded from the official start to the completion of an initial distance within a longer event. Also the time for one of the four individuals in a relay. Under certain conditions, splits may also be used as official times, for example, the lead-off swim in a relay, or the lead-off portion of an event.
  • TIME TRIAL- A time-only swim that is not part of a regular meet.
  • TOUCHPAD- A large sensitive board at the end of each lane where a swimmer’s finish is registered and sent electronically to the timing system.

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