Age Group – Division of swimmers according to age. Age Group divisions are: 10-under, 11-12, 13-14, 15 and up.
Anchor – The final swimmer in a relay.
Backstroke – One of the four competitive racing strokes, basically any style of swimming on your back. Backstroke is the first stroke in the Medley Relay and second stroke in the Individual Medley.
Blocks – The starting platforms located behind each lane. Some pools have blocks at the deeper end of the pool, and some pools have blocks at both ends.
Breaststroke – One of the 4 competitive racing strokes. Breaststroke is the second stroke in the Medley Relay and the third stroke in the Individual Medley.
Butterfly – One of the four competitive racing strokes. Butterfly (nicknamed ‘fly’) is the third stroke in the Medley Relay and first stroke in the Individual Medley.
Deck – The area around the swimming pool reserved for swimmers, officials, and coaches.
Distance – How far a swimmer swims. Race distances for short course are: 25 yards (1 length), 50 yards (2 lengths), 100 yards (4 lengths), 200 yards (8 lengths), 400 yards (16 lengths), 500 yards (20 lengths)
Disqualification – A swimmer or relay team’s performance is not counted because of a rules infraction. A disqualification is shown when an official raises on arm with open hand above their head.
Dropped Time – When a swimmer goes faster than their previous performance in a particular event, they have ‘dropped time.’
Dual Meet – Type of meet where two teams/clubs compete against each other.
Event – A race or stroke over a given distance.
False Start – When a swimmer leaves the starting block before the horn or gun.
False Start Rope – A recall rope spanning the width of the racing pool dropped into the water to stop swimmers who were not aware of a false start. The rope is positioned about halfway for yard pools and about 50 feet from the starting end of meter pools. Once the swimmers are stopped by the rope, they return to the blocks to re-start the race.
Flags – Pennants that are suspended over the width of each end of the pool approximately 15 feet from the wall. Back strokers use these as a gauge as they approach the wall for their turn or finish.
Freestyle – One of the four competitive racing strokes. Freestyle (nicknamed Free) is the fourth stroke in the Medley Relay and fourth stroke in the Individual Medley.
Goggles – Glasses-type devices worn by swimmers to keep their eyes from being irritated by the chlorine in the water.
Heats – Swim meets are broken down into a series of races called ‘heats’ because too many swimmers enter to all compete in the pool at the same time. Each event is separated into heats of four to eight swimmers racing at a time (based on the number of lanes in the pool). Swimmers are seeded into heats by their entry times to allow each heat to be competitive. The slowest swimmers typically swim first, with the fastest eight swimming in the last heat of an event. Swimmers times are recorded and processed into an overall result for each event.
Heat Sheet – The pre-meet printed listings of swimmers’ seed times in the various events at a swim meet.
Illegal – Doing something against the rules that is cause for disqualification.
Individual Medley (IM) – A swimming event requiring all four of the competitive strokes on consecutive lengths of the race. The order must be: Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and Freestyle with equal distances of each stroke.
Lane – The specific area in which a swimmer is assigned to swim. (ie) Lane 1 or Lane 2.
Lane Line – Continuous floating markers attached to a cable stretched from the starting end to the turning end of a pool, used for separating each lane and reducing the waves caused by racing swimmers.
Leg – The part of a relay event swam by a single team member. A single stroke in the IM.
NT – No Time. The abbreviation used on a heat sheet to designate that the swimmer has not swam that event before
Officials – The certified adult volunteers who operate the many facets of a swim competition on deck.
Official Time – The swimmers event time recorded to one hundredth of a second (.01).
Qualifying Times – Published times necessary to enter certain meets, or the times necessary to achieve a specific category of swimmer.
Relays – A swimming event in which 4 swimmers participate as a relay team each swimmer swimming an equal distance of the race. There are two types of relays: 1) Medley relay- One swimmer swims Backstroke, one swimmer swims breaststroke, one swimmer swims Butterfly, one swimmer swims freestyle, in the order. 2) Freestyle relay – Each swimmer swims freestyle.
Split – A portion of an event, shorter than the total distance that is being timed. (ie) A swimmer’s first 50 of a 100 race.
Start – The beginning of a race. The dive used to begin a race
Starter – The official in charge of signaling the beginning of a race and insuring that all swimmers have a fair takeoff.
Stroke – There are 4 competitive strokes: Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, Freestyle.
Stroke Judge – The official positioned at the side of the pool, walking the length of the course as the swimmers race. If the Stroke Judge sees something illegal, they report to the referee and the swimmer may be disqualified.
Timer – The volunteers sitting behind the starting blocks/finish end of pool, who are responsible for getting watch times on events and activating the backup buttons for the timing system.