Some Swimming Terms
• Anti-wave Lane Ropes – This type of lane rope provides an effective barrier against the waves formed by swimmers by dispersing them down the lane lines and deep into the water.
• ASA – Amateur Swimming Association and the governing body in England.
• Aquathlon – This is a swim and run event where a competitor swims, followed immediately by a run and the winner decided by the fastest total time (including the time it takes to change for the run). We do offer our swimmers an opportunity to enter such events as an alternative challenge.
• Backstroke – Supine (on your back) and a horizontal position with many similarities to front crawl such as an alternating arm and leg action. • Blocks – These are the small platforms off which swimmers dive or hold to start races. • Breaststroke – The oldest and slowest of the four competitive strokes as it’s the least streamlined but it is the most technical to master.
• Butterfly – The second fastest stroke after front crawl with a horizontal body position and undulating, wave-like movement from head to toe.
Deck – The area around a swimming pool reserved for swimmers, coaches and judges. • Development Meets – Some galas do not specify qualification times for entry and are called ‘development meets’ as an opportunity for those new to swimming and with no times against their names.
• False Start Rope – A rope is suspended across the pool from fixed standards placed 15metres in front of the starting end. It’s attached to the standards by a quick release mechanism and is released when a false start occurs as a means of informing the swimmers.
• Flags – The line of flags stretched across the pool at either end indicate the 5m mark from the pool end and enable swimmers on their back to count strokes ahead of their turn or finish.
• Front Crawl – Fastest of the four competitive strokes. Body position is almost flat with an alternating arm and leg action. • Gala/Meet – The terms used to refer to a swimming competition.
• Heat Declared Winners (HDW) – Most galas operate on the basis where swimmers compete across a series of heats and the winner and other placings are sorted afterwards on the basis of their individual times
• Heats & Finals – Some galas operate heats & finals and competitors swim in a heat in the morning with the aim of qualifying for a final in the afternoon or evening but this is generally limited to national championships.
• Individual Medley (IM) – A combination of the four competitive swimming strokes swum in the following order: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle (usually front crawl). But if swam in a relay format, the order slightly different: backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly & freestyle.
• Jammers – A style of swimsuit worn by male swimmers. Tight fitting to reduce drag/resistance in the water.
• Kick Board – A small buoyant board that is used to support the arms of a swimmer in training to practice the kicking movements.
• Lane – The section of a pool, distinguished by lane lines/ropes, in which a swimmer races. Lanes are numbered from 1 to 8; some pools are of course limited to six or even four lanes.
• Lane Rope Coloring – The floats on the lane ropes extending for a distance of 5 metres from each end of the pool are red in colour. At the 15metre mark from each end wall the lane floats are also distinct in colour (usually red) from the surrounding floats, these are the resurfacing markers. In 50 metre pools the floats are a distinct colour (usually red) to mark 25metres.
• Long Course (LC) – This refers to a 50m long pool.
• Negative Split – When the second half of the race is swum faster than the first half.
• Open Water – Swimming events contested either in rivers, lakes or the sea where depending on water temperature, wet suits usually need to be worn.
• Psyche Sheet – This is an official form that displays all the swimmers who have entered a particular event.
• Pull Buoy – A figure-eight shaped piece of buoyant foam placed between the swimmers thighs or ankles to support the body without kicking their legs allowing them to focus on their arms to develop endurance and upper body strength.
Qualification Times (QT) – Most galas have specified times that must have been achieved for a swimmer to enter an event. Entry forms will state a time for each event and to enter you need to have swum a faster time than the QT listed. Other galas operate the opposite whereby they state a time for a particular event and to enter you need to be slower than that time. It all depends on the level & ability of swimmer the gala is seeking to attract.
• Resurfacing Markers – These are the red floats on the lane ropes at 15meters from each end wall and their relevance is that after both a start and turn, a swimmers head must break the surface at a distance no greater than 15metres. This applies to freestyle, backstroke and butterfly. The rule no longer applies to breaststroke as stricter rules have replaced it.
• Seed – Used to assign a swimmer to a heat or lane according to their qualifying time. Heats are usually run on the basis of slowest in heat 1 through to the fastest in the final heat. The idea here is that you swim against others of a similar ability irrespective of age e.g. a 9yr old might swim next to a 13yr old if their entry times are similar but they’ll still each compete in their own age group category. Those with the fastest qualifying times in each heat are assigned the middle lanes.
• Short Course (SC) – This is a 25m long pool.
• Split Times – For instance, if a swimmer is competing over 100m in a short course pool, the time for each length is often recorded as a coaching tool to determine if they went off too fast, too slow. These are known as ‘splits’.
• Swim Fins (or flippers) – These are worn on the feet in training to aid movement through the water & develop the kick.
• Swim Snorkel – A frontal snorkel is sometimes used in training to allow swimmers to concentrate on body alignment, stroke and kick technique as you’re able to glide through the water without lifting or turning the head.
• Swim Wales – The swimming governing body for Wales. As a ‘team’ of volunteers we seek to provide our swimmers with as much coaching, training, competition & support as possible in a fun & friendly environment. The more volunteers we have, the more we can offer. As you become familiar with your Swimming Club, why not get involved too?