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.
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.
The starting platform.
A wall constructed to divide a pool into different courses,
such as a 50 meter pool into two 25 yard courses.
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.
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.
Slang for qualifying time. The time standard necessary to
attend a particular meet or event.
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.
An exercise involving a portion or part of a stroke, used to
Training: Training done out of the water that aids and
enhances swimming performance, including stretching,
calisthenics and/or weight training.
Form: Form on which a swimmer enters a competition.
Usually includes name, team, USA Swimming number, age, sex,
event number and time.
Start: Occurs when a swimmer is moving at the start.
In USA Swimming, one false start will result in
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.
The final phase of the race; the touch at the end of the race.
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.
A specific time achievement a swimmer sets and strives to
reach. Can be short- or long-term.
The area along the edge of the pool in which water overflows
during a race and is recirculated through the filtration
Acronym for the Individual Medley, an event in which the
swimmer uses all four strokes in the following order:
butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle.
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
Course: A pool 50 meters in length. USA Swimming
conducts most of its summer competition in long course.
Local Swimming Committee. Governing body for swimming on a
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.
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
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.
Split: Swimming the second half of the race equal to
or faster than the first half.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Group State is for those 14 years and
State is open to any swimmer who has met the time
standard, regardless of age.
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.
Short for preliminaries, also called Heats or Trials. These
are races that qualify swimmers for the finals.
An event in which 4 swimmers compete together as a team to
achieve one time.
To withdraw from an event before a race.
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.
Course: A pool 25 yards or 25 meters in length. USA
Swimming conducts most of its fall and winter competition in
short course yards.
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
Describes the shorter events (50 and 100 meters or yards). In
training, to swim as fast as possible for a short distance.
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.
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.
Trial: A time-only swim that is not part of a regular
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.
Swimming: The national governing body for competitive
swimming in the United States.
Card Number: Unique number assigned to a swimmer when
he joins USA Swimming. The
card may be required at any given competition.
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.
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.