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Glossary of Key Terms

Glossary of Swimming Terminologies and Abbreviations


A fly drill, which works on timing throughout the stroke


Backstroke/ Breastroke

Breath Control

Doing a swim in minimal breaths.

Broken IM

A non-continuous swim which combines all the strokes


A relay race where a large number of swimmers swim F/S


Choice of stroke


Mnemonic for Distance Per Stroke.  How far you travel off each stroke


A swim where a specific skill is targeted

FC or F/s

Short for front crawl or freestyle. The fastest of all the strokes


Small plastic shoes, which aid kick. Sometimes referred to as flippers, however flippers are traditionally longer than fins, less suited to swimming




Swimming done without oxygen


Individual Medley. A continuous swim which combines all the strokes, in the order of fly, back, breast, free


When you only use your legs for propulsion during a swim. For breast and free this is performed using a kickboard

Kick & rotate

A drill which involves kicking and rotating upon each movement of the arm

Long course/

Short course

50m swimming pool/

25m swimming pool

No. 1

Where a set is swum using your number one stroke


Swimming just using your arms, usually performed with the use of a pull buoy (a float held between the legs)


Worn on the hands, normally used during pull; these aid arm action

Race pace

Swimming at the pace you aim to race at. E.g, 1 min 05 sec for 100 metres twice for a 2 min 10, 200 metres

Race suit

The costume you wear during races should be different to the one you wear during training. Over-wearing a costume damages the material and slows you down


Breathing apparatus, swim snorkels are slightly different regular snorkels as the end of the snorkel is in front of the head as opposed to the sideof the head

Streamline kick

When you only use your legs for propulsion during a swim. This is performed without using a kickboard, instead arms are straight in front of you and your face is in the water

Stroke count

Number of strokes used to complete a length/set

Stroke efficiency

Stroke count plus time

Stroke length

The length of your strokes. How far hand enters the water in front of you

Stroke rate

Number of strokes per minute


The practice of reducing exercise in the days just before an important competition. Tapering is essential for optimum performance

Team medley

Swum in the order of back, breast, fly, free

U/W fly drill

A drill where you swim with fly legkick, and gradually bring your arms out away from your body

U/W turns

A drill where upon reaching the flags, you drop down under the water and swim fly kick to the wall, turn under the water and swim underwater back to the flags