The World of the Swimmer Vocabulary

The World of the Swimmer Vocabulary

In the swimming world, things are…how shall we say….different sometimes. Words that we have come to know and are known by other definitions have drastically different and often times bizarre translations in swimming. If you are a newer swim parent, or are just looking to bone up on your swim terms, we offer a sample of just some of the Swimmer Vocabulary.

Taper NO


Taper --YES!!

Taper –YES!!


What it’s not: a long waxed wick used especially for lighting candles, lamps, pipes, or fires
What it is: every swimmer’s favorite word, a period of gradual easing of practice intensity in preparation for a big meet or championship

Age up:

What it it’s not: the end of a era or period
What it is: The point in time when a swimmer moves from one age category to the next, setting a whole new higher standard for swim time cuts


Kneesuit-- YES!! Swimmer vocabulary

Kneesuit– YES!!

Kneesuit- NO.  Swimmer vocabulary

Kneesuit- NO.

Knee suit:

What it’s not: an avant garde fashion trend in which business suits are worn with knee length shorts
What it is: in most cases a substantially more expensive than usual swimsuit constructed with high tech fibers and design that extends to the knees Believed to have mystical powers that will cut the times of any who wear them.

Chase start:

What it isn’t: the beginning construction of a void in a wall used to hide wiring, heating, cooling or plumbing in a house.
What it is: the procedure of starting long course meter meet events from both ends of the pool, starting an event when the previous heats swimmers are heading toward the finish of theirs, and watching in panic as that heat’s swimmers are almost caught by the following heat swimmers by the end of their swims.

A- Time-- YES!! Swimmer vocabulary

A- Time– YES!!

A Time- NO. Swimmer vocabulary

A Time- NO.

A Time:

What it isn’t: the point in time when you get an ‘A’ grade on your math test.
What it is: a significant accomplishment achieved by swimming the time specified for ‘A’ level according to the National Age Group Motivational Standards, and worthy of at least a grande Java Chip or other preferred Frappuccino….if not a Venti.

Psyche sheet:

What it’s not: a strange bedlinen that exists only in one’s mind
What it is: a list of the seeding of times prior to a big meet, to see how you stack up against the competition

DQ-- YES!! Swimmer vocabulary


DQ-- NO. Swimmer vocabulary



What it isn’t: a chain of soft serve ice cream stands that also sell burgers and hot dogs.
What it is: the most dreaded two letters in swimming, as they stand for Disqualification, nullification of a swimmer’s race results as a result of violation of the rules for the stroke swum, and a total bummer.

Meet Mobile- NO.

Meet Mobile- NO.

Meet Mobile-- YES!!

Meet Mobile– YES!!

Meet Mobile:

What it isn’t: a vehicle that drives around the neighborhood selling steaks and other butchered products
What it is: a mobile application that puts meet results in the palm of your hand immediately, instead of on pieces of paper hours after the races have completed.


Cut- NO.

Cut- NO.

Cut- YES!!

Cut- YES!!


What it isn’t: the act of slicing, as in a potato, or a wound caused by a blade.
What it is: a time standard met by a swimmer, which is more valuable than a ribbon, and approximately equal in value to a heat winner duck

 Soft touch:

What it isn’t: a gentle caress
What it is: when a swimmer fails to hit the timing touchpad at the wall with the proper force, which is irrelevant due to backup timing methods, but is known to cause swim moms and dads to freak out since the real time will not display on the scoreboard.

Kickout- NO.

Kickout- NO.

Kickout-- YES!!

Kickout– YES!!


What it isn’t: the process of forcing someone out of a place they are no longer welcome
What it is: the process of sequential underwater kicks propelling a swimmer after the dive, like some kind of human dolphin

Splits- NO. Swimmer vocabulary

Splits- NO.

Splits-- YES!

Splits– YES!


What it isn’t: acts performed by gymnasts in which the legs are splayed in opposite directions
What it is: the specific times associated with designated intervals of an event swim, which hopefully don’t become drastically slower as the swim goes on





Deck Pass:

What it isn’t: special permission given to stay on a cruise ship level, such as Lido or Promenade
What it is: the foremost application offered by USA swimming that no swimmer (or swim parent) could live without.

Heat Sheet- NO.

Heat Sheet- NO.

Heat Sheet- YES!!

Heat Sheet- YES!!

Heat Sheet:

What it isn’t: a baking tray used to warm food
What it is: the guide to what and when all swimmers are swimming in a meet, usually bought at concessions for $5-$10, or peered at over the shoulder of the swim parent sitting in front of you




I’m sure there’s more, can you think of any? If so add them to our comments section below.
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