Home   |   SDA Swimming   |   Swimmers   |   Parents   |   Links   |   Contact Us   |   SDA Email Lists   |    

Home Pool for Sun Devel Aquatics
Parents' Corner
Team Policies
Team Equipment
Swimming Terms
Group Emails

USA Swimming logo

AZ Swimming logo

Sun Devil Aquatics
PO Box 3132
Tempe, AZ 85281

(480) 965-2870

Swim Levels, Meet Types

Glossary of Terms

Age Group Swimming: The program through which USS provides fair and open competition for its younger members. It is designed to encourage maximum participation, provide an educational experience, enhance physical and mental conditioning, and develop a rich base of swimming talent. Nationally recognized age groups are 10 and under, 11-12, 13-14, 15-16, 17-18, and 15-18. Local meets may also include events for 8 and under.

Age Group Regional Championship Meet:  These meets are only for swimmers 14 years old or younger.  Swimmers best time must be equal to or faster than the Regional Qualifying time.  They are usually held just before the State Championship meets for short course.  These are timed finals meets and are scored for team points. 

Block: The starting platform.

Bulkhead: A wall constructed to divide a pool into different courses, such as a 50 meter pool into two 25 yard courses.

Circle Swimming: Performed at practice by staying to the right of the black line when swimming in a lane to enable more swimmers to swim in each lane.

Code of Conduct: An agreement signed by a swimmer joining a swim program and/or prior to travel stating that the swimmer will abide by certain behavioral guidelines.

Cut: Slang for qualifying time. The time standard necessary to attend a particular meet or event.

DQ: Disqualified. This occurs when a swimmer has committed an infraction of some kind: e.g., freestyle kick in butterfly competition. A disqualified swimmer is not eligible to receive awards, nor can the time be used as an official time.

Drill: An exercise involving a portion or part of a stroke, used to improve technique.

Dryland Training: Training done out of the water that aids and enhances swimming performance, including stretching, calisthenics and/or weight training.

Entry Form: Form on which a swimmer enters a competition. Usually includes name, team, USA Swimming number, age, sex, event number and time.

False Start: Occurs when a swimmer is moving at the start. In USA Swimming, one false start will result in disqualification.

Final: The championship heat(s) of an event in which the top six or eight swimmers from the preliminaries compete, depending on number of lanes in the pool.

Finish: The final phase of the race; the touch at the end of the race.

Flags: Backstroke flags placed 5 yards (short course) or 5 meters (long course) from the end of the pool. They enable the backstrokers to execute a backstroke turn more efficiently by counting their strokes.

Goal: A specific time achievement a swimmer sets and strives to reach. Can be short- or long-term.

Gutter: The area along the edge of the pool in which water overflows during a race and is recirculated through the filtration system.

IM: Acronym for the Individual Medley, an event in which the swimmer uses all four strokes in the following order: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle.

Lap Counter: A set of plastic display numbers used to keep track of laps during a distance race. Also the person who counts for the swimmer, stationed at the opposite end from the start.

Long Course: A pool 50 meters in length. USA Swimming conducts most of its summer competition in long course.

LSC: Local Swimming Committee. Governing body for swimming on a regional level.

Meet: Competition designed to be a learning experience. By implementing what has been learned in practice, the swimmer tests himself against the clock to see how he is improving.

Time Standards: Time standards are derived from the previous years’ results. The results are broken down by age and sex as well as B, A, AA, AAA, and Q divisions. These designations are used for entry or qualifying purposes. Most LSCs develop their own standards. USA Swim also has National Standards.

National Age Group Top 16 Times: Time standards are set for both short course yards and long course meters. Only times meeting these standards will be submitted for consideration each year for Top 16 National Rankings.

Negative Split: Swimming the second half of the race equal to or faster than the first half.

NTS Meets: No Time Standard means that anyone may swim regardless of how fast they swim.  These are timed final meets and are not scored for points

Official: A judge on the deck of the pool at a sanctioned competition who enforces USA Swimming rules.  There are stroke and turn judges, administrative officials, starters and referees.

Q+ Meets:  Q stands for qualifying.  In Arizona it is used to designate the State Championship Qualifying time standard.  You must meet or exceed the standard for each event that you enter.  

  • Invitationals.  These meets are usually Preliminary/Final meets.  Teams are allowed to set their own rules about participation ps you need to read the meet flyers carefully.  Sometimes you will be allowed a "bonus" swim for each event you enter with a Q+ time.  This means if you have 1 Q+ time you may enter 2 events.  These meets are usually scored for team points and may also be scored for individual points.

  • State Championship Meets.  Held usually at the end of each season, short course is held in March and long course is held in July.  Swimmers may only enter events for which they have met or exceeded the Q+ time.  These are Preliminary/Final meets and are scored for both individual and team points.  

    • Age Group State is for those 14 years and older.  

    • Senior State is open to any swimmer who has met the time standard, regardless of age. 

Pace Clock: Large clock with a large second hand and a smaller minute hand, used to check pace or maintain intervals in practice; may also be digital.

Prelims: Short for preliminaries, also called Heats or Trials. These are races that qualify swimmers for the finals.

Relay: An event in which 4 swimmers compete together as a team to achieve one time.

Scratch: To withdraw from an event before a race.

Senior Circuit Meets:  These are NTS meets for swimmers 15 years and older.  Swimmers who are 13 or 14 and have met the State Championship qualifying time for 15 and over (Senior cut) may enter these meets.  These are timed finals meets and are not scored for points.

Short Course: A pool 25 yards or 25 meters in length. USA Swimming conducts most of its fall and winter competition in short course yards.

Split: A swimmer’s intermediate time in a race. Splits can be taken every lap and are used to determine if a swimmer is on record pace. Under certain conditions, splits may also be used as official times. In a relay, the time for one of the four individuals.

Sprint(s): Describes the shorter events (50 and 100 meters or yards). In training, to swim as fast as possible for a short distance.

Streamline: The position used to maintain maximum speed after a start and/or push-off from the wall in which the swimmer’s body and arms are in a tight position.

Taper: The final preparation phase prior to major competition. An older, more experienced swimmer may shave his entire body to reduce resistance and heighten sensation in the water.

Time Trial: A time-only swim that is not part of a regular meet.

Touch Pad: A large sensitive board at the end of each lane where a swimmer’s touch is registered and sent electronically to the timing system.

USA Swimming: The national governing body for competitive swimming in the United States.

USA Card Number: Unique number assigned to a swimmer when he joins USA Swimming.  The card may be required at any given competition.

Warm Down: Low-intensity swimming used by swimmer after a race or main practice set to rid the body of excess lactic acid , gradually reduce heart rate and respiration.

Warm Up: Low-intensity swimming used by swimmer prior to a main practice set or race to get muscles loose and warm and gradually increase heart rate and respiration.

Copyright © Sun Devil Aquatics, 2007. All Rights Reserved