Swimming Lingo

Dont be intimidated to swim with a masters group or attempt a workout you read on a dry erase board at the health club or pool you swim at. With the proper preparation and knowledge of swimming lingo no one will know what a “newbie” you are.

Before you start a masters swim program it will help to be familiar with the language of the swim workout.  Fairly simple and basically made up of abbreviations, numbers and a few terms. While most of what is written on the board will be fairly consistent among all coaches, there will always be variations, and it will still take a week or two to get to know your coach’s swim set language.

Here is a list of the most common terms and abbreviations:


FR = Freestyle stroke

EZ = Easy

Fly = Fly

RI = Rest interval

BR= Breaststroke

w/ = With

BK = Backstroke

Dr = Drill

w-up = Warm-up

CH = Choice

c-d = Cool-down

PP = Pull + paddles


Here are some less common terms and abbreviations:

IM= Individual medley (all four strokes swum in the order of Fly/ BK/ BR /FR)

Lung busters entail purposely restricting the number of breaths you take while swimming. For example, “breathe 5 or 7” would mean “breathe once every 5 strokes or 7 strokes.”

SG= Swim golf, a fun drill in which you add your stroke count for a given interval (say, 50 yards/meters) to your time for the same interval to generate a composite score

Band= Band only, a strength drill where one wears a band around his or her ankles to limit the kick

DPS= Distance per stroke, a drill where the swimmer tries to get as much distance as possible out of each stroke, usually measured by counting strokes for 50m.

Lane etiquette- Get over your “fear” of being in another swimmers way. Masters swim is meant to be a group, not individua, workout.  Swimming with others in a lane is part of the deal. Take care of yourself while being aware of others seems to be the etiquette.  When swimming freestyle circle swim, keep the lane rope/marker to your right while swimming down and back. Pass or let someone pass you at the wall. Swim at your own fitness level, rest when needed, while also challenging yourself to keep up with your lane buddies.

Most important communicate your concerns with the coach and other swimmers and you will quickly realize they all have had the same concerns when they started.

Happy Holidays!

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