Swim Practice Vocabulary Cheat Sheet

Ever been to an “organized” practice and have no idea what any of the terms mean that the coach is throwing out there? Well you are not alone. Hopefully this cheat sheet will help shed some light on any confusion you may have. Keep in mind that depending on the coach, there may be multiple interpretations of a single word, or multiple words that mean the same thing! I have listed them by level of complexity…

Level 1:

FR or FREE Freestyle
BK or BACK Backstroke
FL or FLY Butterfly
BR or BRST or BREAST Breaststroke
IM Individual Medley: Divide the total distance into 4, and swim each quarter distance in the following stroke order: Fly/Back/Breast/Free

Level 2:

Rev. IM Reverse Individual Medley: Swim the IM strokes in reverse order: Free/Breast/Back/Fly
K or KICK Kicking: Usually done with a kickboard, kicking isolates the legs to build strength.
P or PULL Pulling: Usually done with a pull-buoy and paddles, pulling isolates the upper body to build strength.
Drill Drill Work: Modified swimming. Instead of swimming one of the four main strokes, drills let you isolate different parts of the stroke to help you focus and work on technique.
Smooth Swimming at a moderate effort with controlled form and perfect technique.
Dolphin Refers to the undulating foil movement made during the butterfly kick. Typically used for kick sets, telling the swimmer to Butterfly Kick on their stomach, side, or back.
Flutter Refers to the alternating kicking motion of backstroke and freestyle. Typically used for kick sets, telling the swimmer to Flutter Kick on their stomach, side, or back.

Level 3:

Build Swim a certain distance where you steadily increase your effort throughout, finishing the last length strong. Note this is effort-level based.
Descend Typically done over a repeat set, where you are steadily descending your time throughout the set. The first repeat distance is the slowest, and the last repeat distance is the fastest. Note this is time based.
Negative Split Swim a certain distance where the 2nd half of the distance is faster in time than the 1st half. Note this is time based over a single swim.
Indian IM A unique IM set with a rotating order: 

Swim 1:  Fly/Back/Breast/Free

Swim 2:  Back/Breast/Free/Fly

Swim 3:  Breast/Free/Fly/Back

Swim 4:  Free/Fly/Back/Breast

Hypoxic (#) Swimming while breathing every (#) strokes. Mostly done with Freestyle.

Download the Cheat Sheet.

Do you have any terms that your team uses during practice? I’m sure I missed some, so help me out here.