Swimming can be rather confusing for both swimmers and parents, especially at gala’s, until they have got used to the technical terminology which is used.

Below are a range of terms with short explanations. If you can think of any other terms you want adding to this list, then please contact the coaching team.

Open Meet (OM) At an Open Meet swimmers are required to meet qualification times in order to compete
Graded Meet At a Graded Meet a time cap is applied and only those swimmers below the cap are allowed to compete
Speeding Ticket This is what a swimmer receives for swimming too fast at a Graded Meet
Heat Announced Winners (Heat Declared Winners – HDW) This means that there are no finals and the age group winners are announced according to the fastest time after all the heats have been completed
Disqualification The most common reasons why a swimmer is disqualified are that a swimmer has not touched the wall properly when turning or has not used the proper stroke technique
Over the Top Starts  This means that swimmers stay in the water until the next heat has started (Butterfly, Breaststroke, Freestyle)
Side by Side Starts This means that the swimmers stay in the water until the next heat has started (Backstroke)
One Start Rule This means that a swimmer is automatically disqualified for provoking a false start
Starts and False Starts At the start of a race the referee will blow three times to notify the competitors that race is about to begin. The referee will then give one long blow which tells the swimmers to mount the starting blocks or enter the water (Backstroke) The referee will then hand over to the starter who will say “take your marks” Once all the swimmers are ready, the starter will either press the electronic starter button or blow a whistle. In the event of a false start, the starter will press the starter button again and/or the false start rope will be dropped into the water
Personal Best (PB) This is the fastest time that a swimmer has recorded in their lifetime,for a particular stroke and length. Apart from elite level, PBs can be recorded at internal club competitions or club time trials
Seasonal Best (SB) This is the fastest time that a swimmer has recored for a particular stroke and length, in that current season (Sept-Aug) When a swimmer achieves a PB, then they also achieve an SB. When a swimmer achieves an SB, they may not achieve a PB
Long Course/Short Course A long course pool is 50m in length. A short course pool is 25m in length. To convert times form LC to SC or vice versa, use the LC/SC converter found in the ‘coaches corner’
Dual Meet A competition between two clubs
Marshalling Area The area where swimmers are to report to ahead of their race
Kickboard A flat rectangular piece of foam used in kick sets
Pullbuoy A piece of foam that goes between your legs and helps you float whilst doing pull sets
Paddles Flat pieces of plastic worn on the hands, usually during pull sets
Individual Medley (IM) A race comprising all four strokes in the following series – Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, Freestyle
Touchpad A board at the end of the pool that acts as a stopwatch. When the swimmer finishes and hits the touchpad, it records the time
Heats The division of an event in which there are too many swimmers to compete at one time
Coach “The king of the pool and the one that is always right”