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Swimming Terminology

  • Clerk of the Course The system used at invitational meets to organize and line up swimmers prior to their events. Swimmers are required to ‘check-in’ to the clerk or the course prior to their events. Swimmers should arrive at the Clerk of the Course with their swim caps, goggles, and flip flops. Typically swimmers do not bring towels into the Clerk of the Course. Parents are not allowed inside the Clerk. Clerk monitors lead swimmers to their assigned starting blocks at the appropriate time.
  • County: The Contra Costa County Championship Meet. Swimmers can qualify to swim in the County Meet by earning "Gold Times" throughout the season. Swimmers may also be asked to participate in a County Meet relay, even if they have not qualified in individual events. Click here for more information about the County Meet, including Qualifying Times.
  • Down Year: The year that a swimmer is at the ‘bottom’ of their age group. For example, a seven year old swimming in the 7/8 age group is said to be in their ‘down’ year.
  • Dual Meet: Any meet in which only two teams are participating.
  • Dual Meet Jobs (aka Meet Jobs): Jobs those parents sign up for at registration. These jobs include Timer/Recorder, Runner, Shepherd, Snack Shack, etc. 
  • DQ: Disqualify. Starter or Stroke and Turn judge may DQ a swimmer for illegal strokes, starts, turns or finishes. It is as if a swimmer didn't swim if he is DQed-- the swim is not counted for points, ‘pops’, records or County Qualifying Times 
  • Heat: A single race by stroke, age group and sex. For example, the first six girls who swim in 7/8 girls freestyle are ‘Heat 1.' The next six girls who swim 7/8 girls’ freestyle are ‘heat 2’. 
  • IM: Individual Medley. All ages 7 and above swim one 25-yard lap of each of the four strokes in the following order: Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke , then Freestyle for a total of 100 yards. 
  • Invitational: Meets where Las Trampas is invited to attend. These meets have anywhere from 6 to 30 teams participating. Invitationals are sometimes two-day events. 
  • Invitational Jobs: When your child swims in an Invitational Meet, you may be required to work one job at the meet (including star job holders). Jobs are usually easy and fun: timer, recorder, clean-up, set-up, etc. 
  • Lane Numbering: At a swim meet, Lane 1 is the lane closest to the starter. 
  • League: The DCSL Championship Meet, which occurs on the last Saturday of July or first Saturday of August every season.
  • Pop Time: A new personal best time in an event in the current swim season. Results from the first races of the season (usually Time Trials) create the "base times" for calculating "pops" for the season. 
  • Recorder: One person in each lane records time(s) from each race. 
  • Runner: This person collects the time slips from the recorders at the end of each race and delivers them to the desk. 
  • Seed Time: The time entered for a swimmer for a particular event at a meet. Seed times are used to determine Heat and Lane assignments: In most cases, Heat 1 features the swimmers with the fastest seed times. Within each Heat, the center lanes feature the swimmers with the fastest seed times. Because entries for the DCSL Championship are due before the final dual meets of the season, a DCSL seed time may no longer be a swimmer's personal best. Seed times are not the basis of pop times, personal best times are the basis of pop times. 
  • Shepherding: The job of organizing and lining-up the 6 & Unders and 7/8s for their events. 
  • Stroke & Turn: Stroke and Turn judges are parent volunteers who work as race officials, watching each race to ensure the swimmers perform each stroke correctly and that a fair race has been swum. Stroke and Turn judges are required to receive annual training to stay current on swimming rules. 
  • Time Trials: This is our first meet, typically held the second Sunday in May. It is an internal meet, with no other team attending as our opponent. We do not keep score at Time Trials, however all swimmers are urged to attend so each can establish “base times” upon which they can improve throughout the season (see Pop Time). These base times also help the coach decide on swimmers for our first dual meet. 
  • Timer: Three people at the finish end of each lane time each race. Half the timers are from the host team and half are from the away team. 
  • Up Year: The year that a swimmer is at the ‘top’ of their age group (i.e. a swimmer who is 8 years old, swimming in the 7/8 age group).

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