When you’re on the pool deck sometimes it can feel like swimming has its own language. That’s partially true – from training terms to swimming lingo, there’s a lot of terminology that can be foreign for a first time swimmer and even expert.

In this episode of Whiteboard Wednesday, we’ll take a deep dive into the swimming lingo you might hear on deck!

Video Transcription

Howdy swim fans, here with another episode of Whiteboard Wednesday. Today we’re talking about the swimming terminology you might hear on the pool deck and see in the MySwimPro app.

Stroke Abbreviations

  • FR = Freestyle
  • FLY = Butterfly
  • BK = Backstroke
  • BR = Breaststroke
  • IM = Individual Medley
  • FRIM = Freestyle IM
  • K = Kick
  • P = Pull
  • P/S = Pull or Swim
  • ST = Stroke
  • CH = Choice

Training Terms

  • Build – Swimming faster by the end of the set or repetition
  • Best Average – Swimming as fast as possible maintaining the same speed on every repetition within a set
  • Descend – Swimming faster by time over the duration of a set or repetition
  • Ascend – Swimming slower by time over the duration of a set or repetition
  • Negative Split – Swimming faster on the second half of an individual repetition
  • Aerobic Training – Swimming moderate over a long period of time
  • Anaerobic Training – High intensity swimming that produces lactic acid

Swimming Lingo/Slang

  • “on the top” – leaving on the :00
  • “on the bottom” – leaving on the :30
  • “circle swimming” – swimming on one side of the lane to accommodate multiple swimmers in the lane
  • “swimming sides” – when there are only two people in the lane, staying on one side of the lane the entire workout
  • “laps” vs “Lengths” – swimming to the other side of the pool and back is one LAP, and two lengths equal one lap

Pool Course
The distance of the pool you’re swimming in (Short Course vs Long Course).

  • Short Course Yards (SCY) – 25 Yard Pool (Only in the United States)
  • Short Course Meters (SCM) – 25 Meter Pool (Most common)
  • Long Course Meters (LCM) – 50 Meter Pool (Olympic Distance)

Technique Terms

  • STREAMLINE – Fundamental body position in swimming
  • DPS – Distance Per Stroke
  • Stroke Count – number of strokes you take in one length of the pool
  • Split – one segment of time for a distance in a repetition
  • Bilateral Breathing – swimming freestyle breathing on both right and left sides
  • Flip Turn – physically doing a somersault at the wall to change direction (Freestyle and Backstroke only)
  • Open Turn – used to change direction at the wall for Breaststroke and Butterfly after touching with two hands

I hope this video showed you how by understanding the different training terminology you can get more out of your swim training. Until next time, have fun and happy swimming!

5 thoughts on “Swimming Terminology – Whiteboard Wednesday

  1. In my training plan when it says kick, as in “2 x 50 kick,” what exactly does that mean? No arms allowed? Do I need to go get a board for this? What kind of kick? Thanks

    1. Hi Nick! Great question. Kick does mean just moving your legs, no arms! You can kick with a kickboard, or kick on your back in streamline position. If the set requires a specific stroke’s kick, it will note that. Otherwise, you can assume that Kick is freestyle/flutter kick!

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