Swimming jargon

If you weren't a swimmer yourself it can be confusing to suddenly have a whole new vocabulary to learn to support your child. Here's a list of terms you may not know and what they mean - if there's anything else, email me at [email protected] and I'll add it.

Long Course

Sometimes abbreviated to LC. A long course pool is 50m long (Olympic length). Times achieved in 50m pools tend to be slower because there are fewer turns.

Short Course

Sometimes abbreviated to SC. Short course pools are 25m (like the ones we train in) and are much more common. Most open meets are short course.


A meet is a competition which is usually held over 2 or 3 days. It is split into sesions (2 or 3 each day) and you race against other swimmers but the main goal is to improve your own time.


Galas are much less formal competitions where we compete as a team. Each person will do a few races to gain points for the team and the team with the most points wins. Cotswold and JDL are series' of galas.


Short for County Championships. An invitational event where a certain qualifying time must be met to enter an event. All clubs in Gloucestershire compete at the same counties over 3 weekends.


Abbreviation for disqualification. There's a long list of rules for each stroke and if they're not met a swimmer will be DQ'd, meaning their time doesn't count.

Land Training

Older swimmers will do strength and conditioning out of the pool. Because it's not in the water it is known as 'Land Training' or 'Dryland'.


The abbreviation for 'No Time' is seen on heat sheets when the swimmer has never done the event before so doesn't have an official time to be seeded on yet.


Most meets will have limited capacity so will have a policy in place if it is oversubscribed. Higher-level meets will usually scratch the slowest entries, but most open meets will accept on a 'first-come, first-served' basis.


The order of swimmers based off the times they are entered on. Heats are seeded slowest first - usually with the fastest in the heat in the middle lanes.