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Swimming Glossary


© Copyright: Gunther Frank, Koordinative Fähigkeiten im Schwimmen (Coordinative Proficiency in Schwimming) 2002
Floating Log paddling Glide forward with hands describing an figure-of-8 alongside the hip. Movement is induced from the wrist.

FD Face down position

Intermittant Swimming Swim with regular short breaks at pre-determined intervals.

BS Breast Stroke

Breast Leaping As in dolphin leaping: a breast stroke is executed just before breaking the surface then you dive back to the pool floor.

KK Kick

Butterfly Butterfly with breast stroke leg kick

Body-Roll Rotation around the main body axis

BF Butterfly

Dolphin roll Pause at the end of the arm-power stroke. The under water phase begins with arms at rest(with two leg strokes while the arms are at rest)

Dolphin leap The push off from the pool floor is assisted by an arm stroke. Second arm stroke is above water for forward propulsion, then dive again to the pool floor.

Dorsal „towards the back", mostly meaning the back of the hand.

Third-stroke Breathe on the third stroke

One armed Swimming with one arm while the other is passive and held in a specified position.

Duck-paddle used with butterfly, crawl, and backstroke by limiting the stroke to the working phase.

Flipper Was a famous tv-dolphin. Means here staying above water by using just the butterly leg kick.

Fifth The fifth and allegedly fastest swim technique, a combination of crawl and back stroke with butterfly kick. Continuous rotation 360° from front to back and to front. Each arm works twice in a row i.e. while on the back,the left arm back-stroke rotates the body from the back to the front, the right arm trails, then the left arm makes a second stroke facing the front etc.

Feetwards Feet point in direction of swim.

Gliding Swim with an extended gliding phase without interrupting the continous flow of the movement.

Chicken style BF-BS-CR-BC Hook your thumbs under the armpit and swim with your elbows.

Dog paddle Arms are pulled only up to the height of the shoulder. Usually done with head above water.

Headwards Head points in direction of swim.

CR Crawl stroke

Crawl under water Arms remain under water for the whole stroke. Breathe by rotating the head.

Wall-Swimming You swim close to the wall so that the wall forces technically correct strokes - a high elbow etc.

Motor skills Sum of all conscious movements.

Fingertip drag while bringing your arm forward drag your fingertips along the surface.

Mississippi Steamer arms are folded in front of the chest and rotated forwards under water like a paddle wheel. Elbows are held outwards

Paddling Comes from synchronised swimming. On your back: glide towards the head by holding your hands behind and near the hips and describing a figure of 8 with them. The movement comes from the wrists. Glide towards the feet by the same hand position but the fingertips make the movement. See also Floating Log - Russian - Torpedo paddling.

Paddles oval plastic disks fastened to the hand by rubber straps. Used for specific hand drills and increasing the hand wetted area for more resistance during the pull (strength training)

Palmar flexionBending the wrist towards the palm of the hand

Progressive advancing,increasing, over one or more cycles.

Near Catchup The leading arm pauses in the stretched position. The working arm almost catches up (hand passing shoulder position)with it and only then does the waiting arm begin its stroke.

Regressive Diminishing, declining, over one or more cycles

Sequential BF-BS-BC-Crawlafter 2,3,4 or 5 strokes, there is a pause. The planned number of strokes is swum progressively.(See body-roll hint)

BC Backstroke

Body-Roll BF-BC-Crawl There is a pause after every accentuated arm stroke. The face is in the water and in crawl and backstroke four to six leg kicks (one to two in butterfly) are carried out. The head is onl then turned to breathe, when the hand leaves the water.

RV Reversed backstroke

On the back, towards the feet The arms swing from behind the head, over water to the thighs and rise to the rear under water. The body moves towards the feet.

Russian paddle An extension of the Windscreen Wiper. The arms describe a figure of eight made of two circles, horizontally. Start with the fingers below the chin and the wrists in a palmar bend. The hands circle forwards and outwards and pull diagonally downwards as they do so.

Windscreen Wiper The arms are held bent at 90° and with elbows and hands at shoulder height lie just on the surface. The hands move to and fro like windscreen wipers. They move together in breast stroke and butterly, sequentially in crawl.

Scissors An assymetric or unbalanced kick in breast stroke.

Souplesse Is a cycle racing expression and means that even at the highest levels of effort, the transfer in the muscles from tension to relaxation is ideal.

Handicap-BC-BS-Crawl One hand grabs the opposite foot and you swim like that

Whirlpool A kick done while sitting or on the back, which causes the water to foam like a whirlpool.

Tandem-BF-BC-BR-Crawl A and B swim the same stroke together. B holds A's feet and makes the kick. A makes the arm stroke.

Under water Below water, carry out the complete correct stroke, i.e. for BF-BC-Crawl the arms are brought back to their starting positions over the head.

Water polo BF-BC-Crawl Swim the usual strokes but with head held high

Treading water Reciprocal knee raising to the chest, whereby the feet describe nearly a vertical circle.

Medley-BC-BS-Crawl Catch Up The leading arm pauses in the stretched position. The working arm catches up with it and only then does the waiting arm begin its stroke. Keep the hands at shoulder width

Back Catchup ditto, the arms catch each other up behind the head

Efficiency Percentage of energy invested to energy applied

Zip CRImagine a zip along the side of your body to your arm pit. When the hand exits the water try to keep hold of the zip.




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