The Ironman glossary: SWIM
26 Feb, 2019 • by Admin
Sighting: a technique in which an open-water swimmer lifts their head in order to see where they are going, locate buoys, watch for other swimmers, aim for dry land
base: Also "base pace," refers to a swimmer's pace they can hold for interval sessions. Also defines the lane swimmers choose for masters classes, ie: "John swims in the 1:30 lane."
beach start: When athletes start the swim portion of the race from dry land (not necessarily a beach) and run into the water.
bilateral breathing: When a swimmer breath on alternating sides.
buoy: The floating markers used on a triathlon course to indicate course layout, distance, and turns.
circle swim: When a lane of three or more swimmers swim together in a continuous, circle motion, rather than splitting the lane in half (as when driving a car). For example, you might swim to the right-hand side of the lane going in both directions. (TIP: cross the lane as you're making your flip turn so that as you push off you're on the correct side. This will make it easier for those behind you.)
deck: The hard surface around the pool.
draft: To swim directly behind or just to the side of the swimmer in front of you, which makes it easier to swim.
drills: Specific swimming exercises a swimmer employs to improve technique and feel for the water.
fins: Rubber "flippers" worn on the feet that, depending on their shape and size, can make swimming easier, change the focus of the kick, or provide propulsion when working on drills.
flags: Small triangular pennants hung over the pool to indicate that the end of the lane is near. Especially important for swimming backstroke so the swimmer doesn't hit the wall.
flip turn: An underwater somersault a swimmer performs at each wall to begin swimming in the other direction.
floating start: Also "water start." Starting the swim portion of the race from a treading water position in deep water.
freestyle: The common front stroke style usually used in triathlon.
kickboard: A floating piece of styrofoam used for kicking drills.
lane: A sectioned area of the pool for lap swimming, can accommodate anywhere from one to 10 swimmers.
lane lines: The floating markers that separate lanes.
length: From one end of the pool to the other.
main set: The bulk of a coached swim workout. Usually consists of 2000 to 4000 yards/meters of swimming.
mass start: Common at many IRONMAN events, this is the type of race start where the entire field of athletes begins the swim together, usually 10 to 15 minutes after the pros.
masters: A swim class, group or club for adult swimmers, typically led by a coach.
open water: Swimming outdoors in a lake, river or ocean.
paddles: Pieces of shaped plastic attached to the hand, which increase resistance on the water and thus increase upper-body strength for swimming.
pull buoy: A floating piece of Styrofoam that goes between the legs so that a swimmer doesn’t need to kick. Often used to help the swimmer work on upper body strength.
sighting: A technique in which an open-water swimmer lifts their head in order to see where they are going, locate buoys, watch for other swimmers, aim for dry land, etc.
SwimSmart: A program that debuted in 2013, bringing innovation to IRONMAN swims. Click here for more information.
wetsuit legal: A triathlon in which the water is cold enough to allow a wetsuit. For IRONMAN events, this temperature is usually below 76.1 degrees Fahrenheit (24.5 degrees Celcius)
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