Swimming Terms for New Swimmers and Swim Parents

Michael Butler
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Glossary of Swim Meet Terms

Swim meets can be a fun and rewarding experience for all participants, but they can also be overwhelming. If you are new to the sport, you may think that people are talking a different language. ‥

To help you get a better understanding of a swim meet, we’ve compiled a glossary of common swimming terms used at swim meets. Be sure to bookmark this swim training for beginners resource if you are preparing to compete or if you think your child may be interested in participating.

If you’re the swim meet parent, you may want to read this swim glossary to better understand what happens at a meet. We all know that new experiences can be stressful, and your support can make a big difference to your child’s swim meet experience.

Below are terms used by coaches and swimmers, but if you find ourselves referring to things you don’t understand, here’s what you’ll need to know for the different parts of a swim meet:

Pre-meet – When the swimmers first arrive at the pool, they get lined up at the starting blocks and wait for the meet to begin. This time is known as the ”pre-meet” time.

Glossary of Swim Practice Terms

A warm-up is one of the most important parts of practice. Warm-ups should be done before every practice and competition. They are a key factor in reducing injury and preparing for the hardest parts of your events.

“Masters Swimmers”

These are older adults who swim for exercise and enjoyment. According to US Masters Swimming, they have access to more than 3,500 masters swim programs in North America. Why do masters swimmers swim? For the physical and mental benefits, of course!

“Main Set”

This is an endurance swim set where you work your way up to the fastest speed you can hold for an entire length of the pool. This will help you work on your endurance and build up your stamina for your workouts.


A swim set consists of a series of repeats that are completed in sequence. Exercises, such as will pyramids or kickboards, make up a swim set.

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