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What is all this swimming lingo?

20 May 2020

Swimmer Lingo

Just like a lost Amazonian tribe isolated from the rest of the world, swimmers trapped within the confines of the pool have slowly developed their own language which is completely foreign to any outsider. It's not just a swimmers' odd appearance with no eyebrows, the unusual haircut from where the chlorine has chewed away at the excess hair sticking out from under a swim cap, and the constant smell of chlorine that sets swimmers apart, it's the shouts of high elbow with a 6 beat kick in your togs that really makes people scratch their heads.

We've started a list below of other terms that 'normal' people just won't understand when they walk into a swimmer tribe.

Swimmer Lingo

This is high elbow (left) This is not high elbow (right).

- Pretty straight forward, or bent forward for the swimmer who has been constantly reminded by their coach over the years. It has nothing to do with trying to lick your elbow, which would make swimmers even more special if they could.

STREAMLINE OFF THE WALL - For all the shouting by coaches across pool decks around the world, it simply requires a swimmer to lock their arms and hands together above their heads and don't wave them around like you just don't care. If it was a Tik-Tok dance it would go global, but alas it's just to get a little dance move for swimmers to perfect themselves every time they push off the wall.

Here's a prime example of a streamline:

Swimmer Lingo

6 BEAT-KICK - We're sure a lot of you used to get your coaches fingers in your face with their index and middle finger replicating what the 6 beat-kick should look like. Most people would think that Chun-Li from Street Fighter was in town teaching us martial arts or coach was a finger puppet master but the correct answer is kicking as hard as you possibly can for a duration or distance. Typically, 6 kicks per arm stroke. This is the white mess a 6 beat-kick should create:

Swimmer Lingo

BREAKOUT - The breakout is the final piece of the underwater. The moment when you transition from kicking in streamline position underwater to swimming your first stroke. This one takes us swimmers a few years to nail. Once perfected, you will see your times drastically drop. For anyone else hearing a swimmer wishing to perfect their breakout, they most likely assume a swimmer is trying to escape from the tribe that they are trapped in.

See below how the cap is still covered in water while surfacing.

Swimmer Lingo

TUMBLE TURN - The two words in this one gives it way and it's pretty obvious to figure out the actions involved. We have no idea how you would attempt this one anywhere else but in the pool. Needless to say a swimmer attempting any sort of gymnastic skills will fail miserably without the anti-gravity benefits of the water. This is when you approach the wall, at speed, and do a head forward roll bringing your feet to the wall and pushing off. Voila! You have just done a tumble turn. (Queue round of applause). Except there will be no appreciation from anyone else because all they see is legs flipping over in the water like a kid doing handstands in the shallow end.

Swimmer Lingo

TOGS - It's what you call your swimwear, bathers, costume or Funky Trunks and Funkitas. Wearing them is like breathing, you just do it every day, and for the swimmer who wants to be straight out of bed and off to training in the morning, at night in bed too.

We don't even think about what it means to be wandering around with a small piece of fabric covering all our modesty. Which returns us to the point about tribes hidden from the rest of the world - no wonder people think swimmers are a bit different!


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