Accepted Time

Where AOE is not in use and there is only one timekeeper per lane, his time will be the accepted time. Where two timekeepers per lane are used, the accepted time is the average of the two times. When three timekeepers per lane are used, the accepted time is the middle time if all times are different or if two or more times are the same that will become the accepted time. Where AOE or Semi-AOE is in use, the accepted time will be the time recorded by the equipment.


Aerobic Energy

Aerobic means ”with air'. The Aerobic system produces energy by the complete breakdown of glucose. The production of energy is slower, but more continual than the anaerobic systems.


Age Group Category

Excluding Open Competitions such as major games and national championships, all swimming competitions are swum in age groups. These will vary from one competition to another depending on the promoter's conditions.


Leagues tend to be swimmers within the age range on 31st December i.e. under 14 age group would include anyone who is aged 14 and under in that particular year.


Open Meets are often "Age on Day". e.g. Competition in which the last day of the meet is July 20th, the 14yr age group will include swimmers who are still 14 on that day - they could be aged between 13yrs and 1 day old and 13yrs and 364 days old.


The principle of such meets is that at some stage during the competitive year, every swimmer will be at the oldest end of the age group and thus will compete with different swimmers at different times of the year.The major flaw in this is that the key championships, County, District and National, are held at the same time each year so it is possible to be competing at these competitions as the youngest swimmer every year.


Amateur Swimming Association (ASA)

The National Governing Body for swimming in England. There are separate ASAs for Scotland and Wales and the Amateur Swimming Federation of Great Britain (ASFGB) incorporates the three country ASAs. Click the link below to go link to their web site



Anaerobic Energy

Anaerobic means ˜without air'. There are two systems that make up the anaerobic system. For further information go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaerobic_exercise


ATP-CP system

Lactic Acid System


Automatic Officiating Equipment (AOE)

Equipment used to automatically record the times of the swimmers. It consists of a set of touch sensitive pads at the end of each lane linked to a computer. Places for each swimmer can be automatically calculated from the times and displayed on a scoreboard.


Age Groups

An abbreviation of Age Group Competitions, which are competitions organised within specific age groupings.


Backup Time

Where automatic officiating equipment is used, a backup button is provided for each lane. In addition to operating a stopwatch, the timekeeper presses the backup button when the swimmer completes the race, which provides a backup time in case the touch sensitive pad did not operate correctly. This time may still be adjusted if it does not agree with the places (see Official Time).


Card System

A system of entering events by filling in a card which is then used by the competitors stewards (whips), timekeepers and recorders. Cards are sometimes used for open events and meets.



The point in a stroke where purchase on the water is gained and propulsion starts.



Championship Best Time for that competition event.



A formal expression of dissatisfaction with the actions or behaviour of clubs, bodies, organisations or individuals or with alleged unfair practice in connection with the sport. Complaints must be made in writing to the Judicial Administrator.



We are affiliated to Lincolnshire County ASA which governs the competitive sport in the county and also organises the annual county championships. These championships are loosely known as "Counties".The County also selects teams to represent them at various inter-county competitions. The County ASA keeps performance rankings by stroke and distance in age groups boys and girls, updated by club returns from competitions on a quarterly basis. (see www.lincscountyasa.org)


Designated Meet

This is an Open Meet which has been "designated" by the ASA. In order to obtain designation the organising club must satisfy the ASA that it will be able to run the event to a high standard with a full complement of appropriately qualified officials.


Distance Events 

These are Freestyle events of 200m or more.



The ASA is divided into eight regions and clubs affiliate to their local District. Our District is East Midlands which is made up from five counties: Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire.



Competition entered swimmer who did not swim/start.



Refers to a swimmer that didn't finish the race



A series of training exercises given by a coach based on a variation of a particular stroke e.g. "Swim 4x50 Front crawl with 20 seconds rest between swims". It can also be isolated parts of a stroke that are used to teach or improve the overall technical performance of that stroke.


E.g. Single Arm backstroke where the swimmer only uses one arm to swim and can thus concentrate on perfecting that part of the stroke in isolation before incorporating the skill into full stroke swimming.



Commonly known as DQs. Disqualification. Reason recorded on competition entry card e.g. false start, faulty turn or in code on results sheet.


Early Specialisation

Early specialisation refers to when a child selects their best event early in their swimming career and gears their training and competition around this event.


East Midlands ASA

One of eight districts of the ASA. It is otherwise referred to as "the District"



Competitions are usually split up into a series of events, each event covering all the swimmers for a specific sex, age group and stroke. Events are usually split into a number of heats depending on how many competitors have been entered for the event.


Explosive Breathing

The type of breathing where a breath is held and then blown out forcefully just prior to taking the next breath.


False Start

The ASA Law defines it as "If after the command 'take your marks' a swimmer leaves his starting place [i.e. dive or falls into the water] or is moving when the starting signal is given it shall be a false start". When this happens, the starter recalls the swimmers and a rope is dropped across the pool to stop the swimmer(s) from continuing the race. All competitions are swum under the 'one start rule'.


Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA)

The organisation which governs swimming worldwide. Click the link below to access their website.



FINA Points

A comparative points scoring system devised by FINA based on the world record time for that swim.



See Heats.



Bending a joint during a warm up exercise or swimming stroke.


Form Strokes 

These are 200m Backstroke, 200m Breaststroke and 200m Butterfly (so called because these are the strokes for which the form is decided by FINA and ASA Law).



One of the four strokes used for competitive swimming. In Freestyle events, any stroke may be used and the laws relating to that stroke do not apply. In practice Front crawl is usually chosen as this is the fastest stroke. In Medley swimming however, it means any stroke other than Breaststroke, Backstroke or Butterfly.



Any action by a swimmer as a result of which another swimmer in the same event suffers an unfair disadvantage. This will result in the offending swimmer being disqualified from the event.



A competition where each club taking part is allocated single lane. Clubs accumulate a number of points based on the position of their swimmers in each event. A trophy is usually awarded to the winning club.


GB Points (British Comparative Performance Tables)

A British comparative points system based on the average of the top eight best performances in the World. It is similar to FINA points in this respect, but the essential difference is that the lower end of the tables extend to appropriately defined slower times in order to cater for the youngest age group and development ability levels.


Graded Meets

These may or may not be licensed. They generally have an upper time consideration so that faster swimmers are excluded. In Graded Meets, if a swimmer goes faster in the competition than the specific cut-off time, then they will normally be excluded from the awards but will be awarded a ˜Speeding Ticket', which is highly complimentary.


Heat Declared Winner (HDW)

An event ( usually, although not always, 200m or more) where there are too many swimmers for a straight final and the winners are decided on the times achieved in the heats.



When there are too many swimmers in an event for them all to compete in one race, that event is divided into heats or qualifying races and then the fastest swimmers go forward to the final.


Individual Medley (IM)

In individual medley events, the swimmer must swim all four main strokes in the following order: Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, Freestyle. Each section must be finished in accordance with the rules for the stroke concerned.



There are three types of judges in a competition. Stroke judges ensure that each swimmer uses the correct stroke for each race. Turning judges observe all turns and relay take overs. Placing judges decide the order of finishing and act as turning judges at the finishing end. Judges have the power to disqualify swimmers who infringe the ASA Laws and Technical Rules.


Jury of Appeal

A panel of officials at a major competition who act in place of the Referee in regard to protests.


Kick Board

A foam board used during training to support the upper body while kicking with the legs. Sometimes called a float.



There are numerous leagues nationwide but we compete in just three. Lincolnshire Junior League is part of a national competition for swimmers aged 9-12. We enter two teams in the Lincolnshire Junior League and there are two heats in the Spring and early Summer culminating in a September final. This competition is a "must" for younger swimmers. The Lincolnshire League is a county-wide team competition for four age groups under 10; under 12; under 14 and Open. There are two heat competitions culminating in a Final. The Arena League is a national competition with two heats and a final round taking place in the autumn. 


Lesson Plan

A plan by a teacher or coach defining the structure of a swimming lesson.


Long course

This signifies the length of the pool in which the competition is swum. Long course is a 50m pool length All major Games and Championships are swum long-course. Some major championships also have a short-course version too. Long-course times are slower than the equivalent short-course times because there are fewer turns involved.


Manual Time

The time for a swim recorded manually by a timekeeper using a stopwatch.


Medley Relay

For medley relay events, a team of four swimmers cover the four strokes in the following order: backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, freestyle. Each section must be finished in accordance with the rules for the stroke concerned. A swimmer may leave the water as soon as he has completed his swim and it is safe to do so.



We are affiliated through the County association to the East Midlands ASA. The District Championships "Midlands" are held jointly with the West Midlands District.


Multi-Skilled Approach

A multi-skilled approach entails children being encouraged to do a variety of different sports from a young age. Specific to swimming, it means that they should train and compete in all the strokes and distances.



An abbreviated term used to describe all national competitions.


National Plan for Teaching Swimming (NPTS)

A scheme devised by the ASA to provide a standard approach to teaching children to swim.


National Qualifying Time (NQT)

These are those times that a swimmer must achieve in order to be allowed to enter the Nationals. NQTs may only be obtained at designated meets.


National Swim Awards

A series of twelve levels of awards set out by the ASA. To achieve each award a series of skills must be completed. Swimmers who achieve all twelve awards will have developed a wide range of skills and be competent at all the four strokes.


Official Time

The time officially recorded for a swimmer after comparing it with the placings. This will usually be the same as the accepted time, except in the case where the placings do not agree with the times, in which case two or more times will be adjusted, resulting in the same official time for the swimmers even though they have different places.


One Start Rule

In competitions using the one start rule, if a swimmer is moving when the starting signal is given he will be disqualified at the end of the race. If a swimmer topples into the water before the starting signal he will also be disqualified and not given a second chance to start.


Open Meet

Competitions which are open to swimmers of any club that is affiliated to the ASA.


Over The Top Start

After completing an event, the swimmer stays in the water against the wall until after the start of the next race. When the following competitor dives over the top of the previous swimmer, he may leave the water. Often used to speed up the starting proceedings on 50m and 100m events. When over the top starts are not used, the swimmer may only leave the water when instructed to do so by the Referee.


Pace Clock

A large clock on the wall of the swimming pool with a single hand used during training to give the swimmers a start time for a drill, time rest periods and to time a swim.



˜Personal Bests”- the best time that a swimmer has ever achieved under competition conditions for any particular stroke/distance. It is the way that a swimmer can track his/her improvement.



An allegation that the ASA laws, Technical Rules or the promoters conditions governing a competition have not been complied with or have been misinterpreted. Protests should be made orally to the Referee as soon as is reasonable practical.



A foam device shaped like a figure of eight used to support the legs while training.


Qualifying Time

A time required by some competition organisers in order to enter an event.



The recorder keeps a complete record of the race results.



The referee has overall control or a competition, ensuring that the rules are obeyed, inspecting the course and adjudicating in any disagreements between officials and competitors.


Relay Race

Relays involve swimming an event as a team of two or more swimmers. In relays all swimmers use the same stroke or in the case of a medley relay, each swimmer swims a different stroke in the following order: backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, freestyle.


Reporting Time

The time at which officials should report to the Referee prior to a competition.



The method of arranging swimmers who have entered in an event according to their submitted time. Some organisers swim the fastest swimmers first and then work through to the slower submitted entry times. However, most competitions are swum starting with the slowest entries and working up to the faster entries. The final heat is often swum in "spearhead" formation, with the fastest swimmers occupying the middle lanes.


Semi-Automatic Officiating Equipment (Semi-AOE)

Equipment used to record the times of the swimmers without using touch sensitive pads. The starting signal automatically triggers a timer which is stopped by the timekeeper pressing a backup button. This is used if the AOE fails to produce a complete result or as an independent system.



The actual swimming programme that is used for training purposes.e.g. 4 x (4 x 50 IM) on 10#1st set swim Fly 2nd set Swim BK 3rd set Swim BR 4th set Swim FC. So, the swimmer swims 4 x 50 Fly with 10 seconds rest between each swim, then 4 x 50 Backstroke etc. A training session will be made up of lots of different sets in order to achieve the necessary training goals.


Short Course

A competition held in a pool less than 50m long - usually 25m.


Spearhead Formation

In each event, the competitor with the fastest entry time is assigned to the centre lane or in pools with an even number of lanes, the lane on the right of the centre. The other swimmers are placed alternately left and right of him in descending order of speed so that the slowest swimmers are in the outside lanes. If entry times are a true indication of form, the swimmers will fan out in a spearhead formation during the race. Finals are usually swum in a spearhead formation.


Speeding Ticket

Swimmers who exceed the fastest permissible time for an event are given a speeding ticket. This means that their time stands but not the place. This usually happens when an A grade swimmer has been selected for a B or C grade gala.


Split Time

For events of 400m and above, split times can be used to record the time for a swimmer to complete each 100m. Split times are usually manually recorded by the timekeeper on the back of the swimmers card.


Sprint Events 

These are 50m Backstroke, 50m Breaststroke, 50m Butterfly, 50m Freestyle.


Sprint Meet

Similar to an open meet, but for B and C graded swimmers. All events except relays will have an associated fastest time which if exceeded will result in a speeding ticket.



The starter controls each event from the point the referee gives him control until the race has begun. He must ensure that each swimmer is in the correct lane and that the starting signal is correctly given. He and the referee are the sole judges as to whether the start is valid.


Submitted Time

A time previously recorded on a stroke and distance which is submitted with an entry to enable meet organisers to 'seed' the events.


Swim 21

A nationwide accreditation programme to ensure quality amongst swimming clubs and schools promoting swimming in the UK.


Swim Down

The time during which a swimmer swims a number of slow lengths to recover following a period of intensive training.


Time Trials

Usually held internally to establish times for entry into other competitions or to assess a swimmer's progress when there is no other competition available. Held according to ASA rules with approved timekeepers and under competition conditions.



Timekeepers record the time for competitors swimming in their lane. The chief timekeeper collects the times from the timekeepers and reviews them with the referee.


Training Paddle

A device used during training which fits over the hands to provide a greater surface area.


Warm Up Time

The time at which swimmers should be ready to start their warm up prior to a competition.



A long foam tube used in place of arm bands to support the upper body of a child learning to swim.