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It is hard to know all the acronyms, terms, etc, especially if you are new to the sport of swimming.  Here are some commonly used terms & acronyms, along with their meaning.  If you think of any others, please feel free to reach out to the Director of Communications so they can update the list.

  • DQ: This stands for disqualified or disqualification. There are many ways a swimmer can be disqualified.  If you or your swimmer have questions about a disqualification, please reach out to one of the coaches.
  • SCRATCH: When a swimmer is a no show.
  • LANE LINE: The purpose of a lane line is straightforward. It is there to separate lanes in the pool and help swimmers not collide with each other, whether that is in competition or during swim practices.
  • STROKES: There are (4) strokes. They are butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle.
  • IM: This stands for Individual Medley. In the I.M., all (4) strokes are performed in a specific order: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle.
  • MEDLEY RELAY: This is similar to the I.M. where all 94) strokes are swum.  The difference is each swimmer on the relay team will swim (1) of the strokes AND the order is not the same as the I.M.  The (4) strokes are performed in a specific order: backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle.
  • BUTTERFLY: The butterfly is swum on the chest, with both arms moving symmetrically, accompanied by the butterfly (dolphin) kick.
  • BACKSTROKE: The backstroke is swum on the back while alternating arms.
  • BREASTSTROKE: The breaststroke is swum with the body facing down. The arms perform semicircular movements, and the legs perform a frog kick.
  • FREESTYLE: The freestyle is swum in a horizontal position with the body facing down. The body rolls from one side to the other, always turning to the side of the arm that is currently pulling in the water.
  • READY BENCH: This is where swimmers get put in order, by lane and heat, as they get close to their upcoming event.
  • FLIP TURN: A turn in which the swimmer does a somersault just before reaching the wall so that only the feet make contact with the wall. There are two strokes where the swimmer can perform a flip turn. Those two strokes are freestyle and backstroke where the races are longer than 25 yards.
  • TWO HAND TOUCH: There are two strokes where the swimmer is required to touch with two hands at every wall: breaststroke and butterfly. If the swimmer fails to touch with two hands in these strokes, they will be disqualified.
  • STARTING BLOCK: The diving platform a swimmer dives off of.
  • TAKE YOUR MARK: The words said right before the beep that indicates the swimmers can dive into the water. Typically, when the words "Take your mark" are said, the swimmer reaches down to grab the starting block.
  • FALSE START: If a swimmer dives into the water before the beep, this is called a false start. When this happens, an alarm will sound and a rope at the center of the pool will drop to try to get the swimmers to stop and head back to the starting blocks.
  • HEAT SHEET: This informational sheet provides details for all the swim meet events. It will list event and heat numbers with swimmers names and lane assignments. Heat sheets are typically circulated by coaches via email days prior to the swim meet.
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