A Guide to Swim Meet Terminology

BULLPEN: The area on deck where age group swimmers report at a swim meet prior to each event.

CLERK OF COURSE: The individual who places swimmers in their events according to their seed time.  They also provide cards/info to coaches and deck officials.

COURSE: Designated distance over which the competition is conducted. Long course ~ 50 meters. Short course = 25 yards.

DECK ENTERED MEET: Meet where all entries are accepted on the first or later day of that meet and subsequently seeded into events.

DECK SEEDED MEET: Meet where all entries are due prior to first day of meet and swimmers must declare availability to swim prior to scratch deadlines.

D.Q. (DISQUALIFIED): The swimmer’s time is not considered in the competition due to an improper or illegal stroke technique or other rules infraction. The referee determines DQ’s.  Coach will notify you.

ENTRY CARD: An event card filled out for each swimmer’s events. These cards are to be picked up by each swimmer at the meet before his event, then given to the timer for his assigned lane.  These are used mainly for relays.  

FALSE START: A false start is a D.Q. that can be declared at the start of the race or during a relay exchange.  Once your swimmer has been advised to take their mark, they are to lock into position.  If they make a movement outside of this prior to the take off signal, they can be D.Q.'ed.  A swimmer in a relay can be D.Q.'ed if the swimmer leaving the block takes off before the approaching swimmer touches the wall.

HEAT: A division of an event in which there are too many swimmers to compete at one time.

INVITATIONAL COMPETITION: For those swimmers, organizations, and clubs invited by the host club.

LSC (Local Swim Committee): An administrative division of USA SWIMMING with supervisory responsibilities within certain geographic boundaries designated by USA SWIMMING.

OPEN: Each age group will have no qualifying times. B/C swimmers may compete, but awards will only be given to the top 6 or 8 fastest swimmers. Also, may refer to a division at a swim meet that includes events that are open to all ages, but awards will only be given to the top 6 or top 8 fastest swimmers that swim each event within this division, regardless of age.

PEAK/TAPER:  A carefully planned program that involves getting a swimmer’s body and mind into top or peak performance levels before a major competition.

PRELIMS & FINALS MEET: A swimmer swims an event early in the day and returns later and swims that event again if he/she makes the consolation or final heat.

QUALIFYING HEATS: Competition in which a number of heats are swum to qualify the fastest swimmers for the finals where final placing for the event will be determined by the final heat of the fastest 6 or 8 swimmers.

SEEDING: Events seeded on the deck—Swimmers are called to report to the clerk of course for their event on the day of the meet. After scratches are determined they are then seeded in the proper heats.

PRE-SEEDED HEATS: Swimmers are arranged in heats in events according to submitted times and heat sheets are prepared prior to the day of competition.  In the shorter distance races, the swimmers will put in heats from slowest to fastest with the fastest heat swimming last.  The fastest swimmers will be in the middle of the pool.  

SES: Southeastern Swimming, our LSC.

SPLIT MEET: The club hosting a swim meet may choose to divide age groups into whatever order it wished for the morning and afternoon sessions.

TIMED FINAL HEATS: Competition in which placing in heats are determined by the times performed in the qualifying heats.

UNATTACHED (UNAT): An athlete member who competes but does not represent a club member of USA SWIMMING. Any swimmer who transfers to another USA SWIMMING team, must swim unattached for 120 days between representing either of the two teams in competition.

UNITED STATES SWIMMING: USA SWIMMING: The organization that conducts swimming programs and supervises amateur competitions in the United States.

WARM-UP: A planned session prior to a meet or practice.

WARM-DOWN: A period after a race/practice for the swimmer to loosen up the muscles to prevent stiffness or soreness