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Cap: A swim cap made from latex or silicone worn on a swimmer’s head to reduce the effects of water resistance (drag).


Drag Suit: A loose fitting, second suit worn over a primary swimsuit. Worn by competitive swimmers during workouts to add resistance. This is done to strengthen the swimmer’s stroke.


Kick Board: A flat foam float that is held in the swimmer’s hands while practicing kicking drills.


Pull Buoy: A foam float held between a swimmer’s leg while practicing arm strokes.


Stretch Cords: A long, elastic or rubber cord used in dry land workouts and in-water resistance drills.


Drag: The resistance caused by the friction of water flowing along the swimmers body. Drag can be reduced through proper swimming technique and friction reducing apparel such as swimsuits and swim caps. 


Dry Land: A workout performed out of the pool to supplement swim training.


Flip Turn: A type of turn used in freestyle and backstroke. As the swimmer approaches the wall, they flip forward in a continuous motion and push off the wall to start the next length.


Interval: A goal training time set by a coach for a specific distance. Example: 10 x 50 freestyle on 1 minute


Pace Clock: Running electronic clocks that allow swimmers to read their times in relation to intervals during practice.


Pull Out: In breaststroke, the initial arm pull and kick that brings the swimmer to the surface immediately after the start or turn.


Set: A combination of swimming, stroke drills, and/or kicking that is typically done in a repetitive fashion on a timed interval.


Taper: The resting phase in training leading up to a specified swimming competition. Swimmers will gradually reduce their daily  training volume and intensity as they approach their championship meet. This enables peak performance.


Warm-Up/Down: Laps swum before and after a race or practice to loosen muscles.


Anchor: The last swimmer on a relay.


Bell Lap: The sound used to indicate that the leading swimmer has two lengths remaining in a distance freestyle event. An official will ring the bell over the lane of the lead swimmer to signal that they are nearing the end of a race.


Block: The elevated platform swimmers dive off of at the beginning of a race.


Circle In: A list of swimmers entered in each event at USA swimming meets. Swimmers indicate their intention to swim events by circling the event number next to their name.


Circle Seeded Meet: When a meet has preliminary heats and final heats, the 24 fastest swimmers are divided among the last three heats and do not race each other until finals.


Clerk of Course: Person(s) responsible for keeping track of swimmer circle-ins, scratches, and on-deck entries at a meet.


Deck Seeded Meet: A meet where all entries are due prior to the first day of the meet and swimmers must declare intention to swim by circle in.


Deck Entry: A swimmer may enter events on the day of the meet by signing up with the Clerk of Course at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the day’s events.


DQ: An abbreviation for disqualification. 


Event: A swimming race that is designated by the stroke and the distance being swum.


False Start: A false start occurs when the swimmer leaves the starting block too soon or is moving on the block before the starter officially begins the race.


Heat: A group of swimmers racing at the same time. Each event is divided into heats. The swimmers in each heat are seeded with comparable times.


Heat Sheet: A meet program that lists event order, heats, and lane assignments.


IM: An abbreviation for individual medley. Swimming events in equal distances of all four competitive strokes are swum in the following order: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle.


Junior National Championships: A championship meet sponsored by the National Club Swimming Association (NCSA).


Lane Assignments: The lane to which a swimmer is assigned to swim in a designated event and heat. 


Lane Ropes: Dividers used to distinguish individual lanes. 


Lap Counter:  Large numbered cards used to aid swimmers in keeping count during freestyle events 500 yards or longer.


Long Course: The swim season that runs from April to August in which meets are held in 50 meter pools.


LSC: USA swimming divides the country into Local Swimming Committees. Texas Elite Swim Team is in the Gulf LSC.


Meet Program: Entry sheets showing all swimmers entered into each individual event.


National Championships: The highest level of swimming competition sponsored by USA Swimming in the United States. The meets are held twice a year for short course and long course championships.  


NS: A term standing for ‘no show’  that indicates the swimmer did not swim their race in the appropriate heat and lane.


Meet Official: Meet judges who are training and certified by USA Swimming. These include starters, referees, and stroke and turn judges.


Personal Best (PR): A swimmer’s best time to date or ‘personal record’ in any given event.


Pre-Seeded Meet: A meet in which heat and lane assignments are determined before the meet and listed in the heat sheet. There is generally no circle-in at a pre-seeded meet.


Positive Check-In: A procedure required before swimming an event in a deck seeded or pre-seeded meet (circle in). 


Prelims - Finals: A type of meet with two sessions. Preliminaries are usually held in the morning with the fastest 6 or 8 swimmers (championship heat) and the next fastest 6 or 8 swimmers (consolation heat) returning in the evening to compete in the finals.


Relays: Races where four (4) swimmers compete in one event. In a freestyle relay, each swimmer swims freestyle. In a medley relay, each swimmer swims a difference stroke in the following order: backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle.


Scratch: To remove a swimmer from an event prior to the start of a race.


Senior: Swimmers aged 15 and older.


Shave: Just prior to a major competition a swimmer will shave their entire body. Shaving provides less resistance between water and skin.


TAGS: Acronym for Texas Age Group Swimming Championships. The meet is held twice a year at the end of the short course and long course seasons. Swimmers must meet minimum qualifying times to attend the meet.


Timed Finals: Competition in which heats are swum and final placing and scoring is determined by those times.


Timing: At USA Swimming meets, touchpads provide the official time. Back-up times are provided by stopwatches.


Three Event Rule: A swimmer who qualifies for 3 or more events at a given meet, can swim any event offered at that meet in their corresponding age group.


Touch: The race finish in which a swimmer physically ‘touches’ the wall.


Touchpad: The rectangular pad at the end of each lane that registers a swimmer’s time by their touch. 


Turnover/Stroke Rate: The number of times in which a swimmer’s arms turnover or cycle in a given distance or time.


Unattached: A competing athlete that does not represent a club or team.


Up/Down Rule: A swimmer that qualifies for an individual event may swim the next longest and shortest event within the corresponding stroke. Example: A swimmer who earns a qualifying time in the 100 freestyle may swim the next shortest distance (50 freestyle) and next longest distance (200 freestyle).


Zones: A regional swim meet attended by the top swimmers of each LSC. The Gulf LSC participates in the Southern Zone meet which includes teams from the southeastern US.

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