Swimming Lingo

Here are some terms that you might hear during a workout.


This is an essential part of the workout. A good warm up allows your muscles to loosen and warm up. Swim slowly at an easy pace. Your heart rate should not be increased much during the first half of the warm up. A normal warm-up is about 300 – 600 yards.


An exercise that uses just your arms. This usually involves using hand paddles and putting a pull buoy or a kick board between your legs to suspend them. No kicking  during a pull set.


A general term for doing technique specific work during a set. There are many different types of drills. After swimming for a while, you will develop a repertoire of drills for each stroke that you may be called upon to use when a "drill a 50 " is part of the set.


For example, if you are told to do "4 x 100 descend," you want to come in faster on each successive 100. Take the first one slowly and build your speed on each 100. Look at the clock so you can tell how much you are "descending" or taking off each 100.


To "build a 50" means to increase your speed over the course of the 50 yards so that you are sprinting into the finish.


The first couple strokes after the push off. In breast-stroke, the break out is a strong kick and a stroke underwater. In the other strokes, it is 3-4 stro ng kicks under water and your first 2 strokes.

Pace Work

Keeping the same time and speed during a set. This usually implies going at a moderate speed in order to maintain the same time throughout a set.

Race Pace

Some sets are meant to replicate a meet, so you will be asked to go "100 race pace for a 50." This means that you swim as fast as you would in a 100 yd rac e, but you only swim half that distance.

Main Set

As it sounds, this is the set that you have been warming up for. It is a chance to work hard.


A recovery or "easy" set is often given between sets or after a hard set. This is also called "active rest." Take it slow, use it to recover, and let your heart rate return to normal.

Cool Down

This is the last part of the workout, but it is very important, especially if you have been sprinting or

Last Updated on Monday, 06 August 2012 12:15