Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.
This brief American English open water swimming dictionary was first posted in early 2008 and was used at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and by NBC Olympics and USA Swimming.
The Open Water Dictionary includes the definitions, etymologies, synonyms and examples of numerous terms used in the sport of open water swimming.
Abandonment (noun): 1. Termination of an event prior to its completion due to safety considerations. A race may be abandoned and restarted at a later time due to unsafe conditions on the course. When the weather worsened and the waves reached over ten feet, the referee called for abandonment of the race. 2. A termination by a swimmer due to injury, exhaustion or time limits.
Acclimate (verb): To become accustomed to warmer or colder water temperatures, wind chop and waves, and various other conditions before an open water race or solo swim. The swimmer began to swim in colder water in order to prepare for the English Channel.
Acclimatization (noun): The process of adapting to warmer or colder water temperatures, wind chop and waves, and various other conditions prior to an open water race or solo swim. Acclimatization is an important part of preparing for the warm water conditions expected at the Olympics 10K Marathon Swim.
Age-group start (noun): When the swimmers are divided by specific ages at the start (as opposed to seeded starts or mass starts). Swimmers between the ages of 20-39 gathered for a start near the pier. [Origin: bef. 1150; (v.) ME sterten to rush out, leap (c. MHG sterzen); r. OE styrtan (attested once), c. G stürzen; (n.) ME stert(e) sudden jerk, leap, deriv. of the v.]
Beach finish (noun): A finish that is on land, requiring the swimmers to exit from the water and run up a beach to a finish line. The rough water swim has a picturesque beach finish on the sands of Waikiki. Synonym: run-out finish. Antonyms: in-the-water finish and FINA finish.
Beaufort Wind Force Scale (noun): An empirical measure for describing wind velocity based mainly on observed sea conditions. The referee made reference to the Beaufort Scale when he made the public announcement about the abandonment of the world championship race. Synonym: Beaufort Scale.
Beaufort No. -- Sea Conditions (wave height in meters)
0 - Flat (0 meters).
1 - Ripples without crests (0.1 meters).
2 - Small wavelets. Light breeze. Crests not breaking (0.2 meters).
3 - Large wavelets. Crests begin to break. Scattered whitecaps (0.6 meters).
4 - Small waves. Moderate breeze (1 meter).
5 - Moderate longer waves. Some foam and spray (2 meters).
6 - Large waves with foam crests and some spray. Strong breeze (3 meters).
7 - Sea heaps up and foam begins to streak. Moderate gale (4 meters).
8 - Moderately high waves with breaking crests (5.5 meters).
9 - High waves (6-7 m) with dense foam. Strong gale (7 meters).
10 - Very high waves. Visibility is reduced. Sea surface is white (9 meters).
11 - Exceptionally high waves. Violent storm (11.5 meters).
12 - Huge waves. Air filled with foam and spray. Hurricane (14+ meters).
Beeline (noun): The most direct and straightest route to a specific point during a race, albeit not necessarily always the fastest route due to currents or waves. The coach directed her swimmer to take a beeline to the next turn buoy. [Origin: 1820–30, Americanism; BEE + LINE]. Synonyms: straight course, direct line, shortest route, straight line and Rhumb Line.
Bilateral breathing (noun): To breathe on both the right and left sides during freestyle swimming. He was able to check out the landmarks and competition on both sides due to his bilateral breathing. [Origin: 1765–75; bi- + lateral] + [Origin: 1350–1400; ME brethynge]
Boxed-in (adjective): To get caught between swimmers in the front and back and/or on the left and right sides so as to not be able to swim in the desired direction or at the desired pace, sometimes resulting in additional physical contact. To be closely surrounded by other swimmers and unable to make a move within the pack. The swimmer was boxed in between three other swimmers after coming out of the turn. Synonym: sandwiched and squeezed.
Box jellyfish (noun): A cube-shaped marine creature that floats with the winds and currents with a nearly transparent, slightly tinted body and long tentacles with stinging cells. The swimmer swam right into a brood of box jellyfish off of the coast and was stung badly on his arms and face. Synonyms: marine stringer, jellyfish, Portguese Man o War and sea wasp.
Breakaway (verb): To speed up or increase the pace and/or alter the direction in order to create separation from the rest of the field. The swimmer made a breakaway on the last loop. Synonyms: sprint ahead, swim faster, put on a spurt, pick up the pace, drop the hammer, increase the tempo, drop the field, make a move and breakaway.
Breakers (noun): Waves that crests and break along the shore or shallow shoal that may not be visible. At the start of the race, the swimmers had to fight through the breakers before they hit the first buoy.
Brood (noun): A group of jellyfish. The swimmers swam right into a brood of jellyfish off the coast. Synonyms: smack, smuth, smuck, fluther and [improperly] school.
Buoy (noun): A distinctively shaped and marked float, sometimes carrying a signal, signals or logos, anchored to mark a race course, channel, anchorage or swimming hazard. The swimmers had to go around four buoys in the 10-kilometer course. [Origin: 1425–75; late ME boye.] Synonym: can, turn buoy.
Call room (noun): A designated indoor or outdoor area or room where the swimmers gather before the race, often to listen to pre-race instructions from race officials or to store their personal gear before the race. The swimmers were called to the Call Room 30 minutes before the start of the world championships. Synonym: Ready room.
Can (noun): A distinctively marked colored float in the water, anchored to mark the course for swimmers. There are four cans throughout the race course that the swimmers must go around to finish. Synonyms: turns, turn buoys, guide, marker, beacon, signal, buoy.
Carbon-neutral relay (noun): An open water relay that has a net zero carbon footprint. Carbon-neutral relays rely entirely on human power as opposed to motorized escort boats. Examples include open water relays that are escorted by outrigger canoes or kayaks only. The Clean Half marathon relay has a carbon-neutral relay where the swimmers rotate between swimming and paddling in an outrigger canoe for 15 kilometers.
Celsius (noun): Also, Centigrade. A temperature scale in which 0° represents the ice point and 100° the steam point, often abbreviated to C when written. FINA does not allow competitions when the water temperatures drops below 15°C. [After Anders Celsius]
Chafing (noun): To irritate or cause irritation due to repeated rubbing of skin against swim suits or other items, including other body parts, due to the swimming stroke, waves, especially around swim suit straps, armpits, shoulders, upper thighs, neck and chin. The swimmer always used Vaseline to prevent chafing under his arms. [Origin: 1275–1325; ME chaufen to heat, rub, chafe.]
Channel swim (noun): A non-stop solo or relay swim that crosses a natural or man-made body of water, generally understood as an ocean strait, between two land bases or two larger navigable bodies of water, although it can also refer to a traverse between two islands or across a river, slough, archipelago or bay. Generally understood to be a marathon swimming distance (either 10 kilometers or 25 kilometers), but can also be a shorter distance. The athlete was preparing for her longest channel swim yet by training four days a day. Synonyms: open water swim, marathon swim and long-distance swim.
Charity swim (noun): An open water swim, relay, stage swim or race with the goal of raising money, media attention and awareness for a cause, individual or non-profit organization, especially among individuals and non-traditional donors.
Chop (noun): Wave action at the surface of the water caused by wind. Small, frequent waves that can be irritating to open water swimmers because they can impede forward movement and can reduce visibility from the surface of the water. The chop was the reason why he went a bit off-course. Synonyms: surface chop, small waves, whitecaps and whitewater.
Corral (noun): A pen or enclosure for marshaling or directing swimmers onshore at the start and finish of an open water swim or triathlon. The swimmers were gathering in the corral on the beach just before the start of the race. [Origin: Spanish, from Vulgar Latin *currale for vehicles, from Latin currus cart, from currere to run]
Core body temperature(noun): The operating temperature of a swimmer, specifically in the deep structures of the body such as the liver, in comparison to the temperature of peripheral tissues. This optimum temperature is 36.8°C (98.2°F) through it varies regularly as controlled by one’s circadian rhythms. Temperature examination in the rectum is the traditional standard measurement used to estimate core temperature. The swimmer finished the race, but her core body temperature had dropped significantly and she was experiencing hypothermia. Synonyms: core temperature and normal human body temperature.
Corrected course (noun): The most direct course to the next turn buoy accounting for drift due to actual or anticipated currents, wind and wave action. The lead pack set off on a corrected course to the next turn buoy.
Course (noun): A direction or route taken by a swimmer. The path over which a race is run. The location in which a race is conducted. The swimmers were almost halfway around the race course. The swimmers studied the race course from the escort boat during the pre-race meeting. [Origin: 1250–1300; ME co(u)rs (n.)]
Criterium race (noun): An open water race where the swimmers exit the water along the race course to run a short distance on shore before diving back into the water to finish. The onshore run, which can occur once or multiple times, can be anywhere along the course which can be a loop course or a point-to-point course. The criterium race was exciting for the spectators who were able to watch the swimmers run in and out of the water.
Crossover athlete (noun): An athlete who competes in both pool swimming and open water swimming events or an athlete who competes in both open water swimming and triathlons or other endurance sports. An athlete who previously competed in pool swimming, triathlons or other endurance sports and now focuses on open water swimming or visa versa. He was a great cross-over athlete who swam in the 1500-meter
freestyle and the 10K event at the Olympics.
Cross-over move (noun): A move by one swimmer over the ankles, knees, upper legs or lower back of another swimmer during a race in order to change direction or move to the other side of the swimmer in front. The move can be performed by swimming over the opponent in the normal freestyle stroke or by rolling over on one's back and doing a stroke or two of backstroke over the legs of the opponent. However, if the swimmer impedes the forward momentum of another swimmer while making the cross-over move, a yellow card or disqualification may be called by the referee. The swimmer in back made a quick cross-over move during the race and was able to shift into a better position for the turn. Synonyms: cross-over stroke.
Cross-over stroke (noun): See cross-over move.
Current (noun): A portion of a large body of water moving in a certain direction. A steady forward movement of water; the flow of a body of water, regardless of cause. The horizontal movement of water in a channel or bay. The currents were flowing against the swimmers.
Cut buoy (noun): In the case of a swimmer who did not properly round a required turn buoy, a violation of the rule that requires the swimmer to return and correctly round the turn mark. The referee disqualified the swimmer for the cut buoy.
Deck-ups (noun): A pool training methodology whereby the swimmers pull themselves out of the pool after each swim and dive back into the water for the next swim during an interval-training set. The methodology prepares the athletes for the end of an open water race with an onshore finish. The coach asked the swimmers to do a set of 10 deck-ups where they pulled themselves out of the pool and dove back into the water for 10 fifty-yard sprints on one minute.
Dark swimmer (noun): An individual who does a dark swim. When he was training for the English Channel, he joined a few dark swimmers for a night training swim. Synonym: Night swimmer.
Dark swimming(verb): Swimming at night in natural or man-made bodies of open water. Because he had never swum at night in the ocean, he was very nervous when he was doing dark swimming. Synonym: night swimming.
DNF (adjective): Did not finish. A description of a swimmer's result of a race or solo swim with an unspecified reason for not finishing. The swimmer was a DNF according to the race results.
DNS (adjective): Did not start. A description of a swimmer's result of a race or solo swim with an unspecified reason for not starting. The swimmer was a DNS according to the results posted in the newspaper.
Dock (noun): a fixed pier or floating platform where open water swimmers can either start or finish races or that serve as feeding stations or locations where supporters can cheer. The lead swimmer came into the dock to receive a feeding from his coach.
Dolphin (noun): Any of nearly 40 species of small marine toothed whales, living in either salt or fresh water. The dolphins came swimming around the pack of swimmers during the race. Synonym: porpoise. [Middle English delphyn, dolphyn, from Anglo-French delphin, alteration of Old French dalfin, from Medieval Latin dalfinus, alteration of Latin delphinus, from Greek delphin-]
Dolphining (noun): To efficiently and quickly start or finish a race in shallow water. At the start of a race where the athletes run into the water, dolphining starts when the athlete is in thigh-deep water where hands are placed above the head and a dive at a shallow angle is performed. If the bottom can be reached, it can be grabbed with the hands as the legs are pulled up under the body to push off the bottom and forward out of the water. It can be repeated until it becomes faster to swim. At the end of a race when the hands can touch bottom, the legs can be placed under the body to push off the bottom and dive forward at a shallow angle. It can be repeated until it becomes faster to run out of the water. The most experienced swimmers dolphin quickly in and out of the shallow water at the start and finish.
Double-crossing (noun): A solo or relay swim back and forth across a channel, lake, river or other body of water under the traditional rules of marathon swimming. The swimmer set the record for a double-crossing in the Catalina Channel. Synonym: two-way crossing.
DQ (adjective): Disqualified. To be ruled ineligible due to a violation of rules or provisions. The swimmer was DQ'ed for pulling on the other swimmer's legs during the race.
Draft (verb): To swim close behind, or slightly to the side, usually somewhere between the hips and ankles, of another swimmer (or swimmers) in order to take advantage of their slipstream, especially in a race. The cagey veteran was drafting behind the young swimmer throughout the race. [Middle English draught, act of drawing or pulling, from Old English.]. Synonyms: hang on, follow, drag and free ride.
Ear plugs (noun): A device inserted in the ear canal to protect from the intrusion of water or foreign bodies. Often made of wax or silicon and can help decrease the middle and inner ear exposure to cold and thus lessen the uncomfortable feeling, including vertigo, that may come with exposure to cold water conditions. The swimmer always uses silicon ear plugs when he does cold water training in the Pacific Ocean.
Ebb tide (noun): The receding or outgoing (seaward) flow of water when the water level near a shore is lowered. The reverse flow is called the flood tide where there is an inflow of water that results in rising water levels near shore. The swimmers had a difficult time swimming against the ebb tide.
Eco-swim (noun): An open water swim, relay, stage swim, race or charity swim that (1) aims to protect, conserve or call attention to the environment or ecology, (2) improve or protect the welfare of marine life or the local or indigeous area, (3) incorporates education of the natural environment or ecology, (4) is conducted in an ecologically-sustainable or environmentally-friendly manner, (5) is held in areas that are under environmental protection or that protect marine life, (6) aims to create or enhance environmental or ecological awareness, (7) raises money or provides direct financial benefits for consevation, marine life or environmental protection, research and/or education, (8) builds awareness or provides education of a local community or culture, (9) lobbies local governments or officials for access to, protection of or a clean-up of a waterway, or (10) minimizes the impact of mankind on the environment. His swim in the North Pole helped draw attention to climate change. Synonym: green swim, green swimming.
Escorted Swim (noun): An event where each swimmer is required to have a support craft which accompanies the swimmer throughout the race. The coach entered his swimmer in the escorted swim race around Atlantic City.
Eyes and ears (noun): Offering of navigational advice to swimmers in the water when they cannot see the course or their competition. The coach on the escort boat served as the eyes and ears of the swimmer when the swells got too large. [Origin: bef. 900; ME eie, ie, OE ége, var. of éage; c. G Auge; akin to L oculus, Gk ps, Skt akṣi ] + [Origin: bef. 900; ME ere, OE éare; c. ON eyra, G Ohr, Goth auso, L auris, Lith ausìs, Gk oûs ]
Escort (noun): a person or group of persons in a boat, kayak, Jet-Ski or on a paddleboard or surfboard accompanying or leading a swimmer for protection and/or guidance in the open bodies of water. The escort was leading the swimmers out towards the last turn buoy. [Origin: 1570–80; < F < It scorta, deriv. of scorgere to conduct < VL *excorrigere] Synonyms: paddler, kayaker, lead boat and escort boat.
Escort (verb): to guide, protect or lead a swimmer in a boat, kayak, Jet-Ski or on a paddleboard whiling in the open water. The coach will escort the swimmer on a kayak during the race. Synonyms: paddle and kayak (for).
Escort boat (noun): A boat or similar watercraft that accompanies or leads a swimmer for protection and/or guidance in the open bodies of water. The escort boat led the swimmers throughout the 25-kilometer race. [Origin: 1570–80; Fahrenheit (noun): A temperature scale that registers the freezing point of water as 32° and the boiling point as 212° at one atmosphere of pressure, often abbreviated to F when written. The water temperature was a very comfortable 72°F. [After Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit]
Expedition Swimming(verb): Swimming in natural or man-made bodies of open water including oceans, lakes, rivers, bays and reservoirs, together with teammates or swim buddies, usually as part of a guided tour with or without escorts. The swimmers enjoyed their expedition swim in Baja California where they saw many dolphin. Synonyms: wild swimming, open water swimming, free swimming.
Feeding (noun): The process of eating or drinking or being given nourishment during a race. The swimmers stopped momentarily for a feeding. [Origin: bef. 900; ME feding, OE féding]. Synonyms: drink, gel pack and some food.
Feeding pole (noun): see Feeding stick.
Feeding pontoon (noun): A boat or other temporary or fixed floating structure used by coaches to provide fuel (i.e., food) or hydration (i.e., drink) to swimmers in a race. The coaches were standing on the pontoon waiting for the swimmers to come in for a feeding.
Feeding station (noun): A boat or other temporary or fixed floating structure, such as a dock or pier, used by coaches to provide fuel (i.e., food) or hydration (i.e., drink) to swimmers in a race. The coaches were standing on the feeding station waiting for the swimmers to come in. Synonyms: feeding pontoon and feeding platform.
Feeding stick (noun): A long slender mechanical implement with a cup or bottle holder at the end in which coaches can hand fuel (e.g., gel packs, food, chocolate) or hydration (e.g., water, Gatorade, tea) to their swimmers during a race or solo swim. The implement is generally hand-made, but some recent models can extend up to four meters in length. The coach stood at the feeding pontoon with her feeding stick in order to hand the water bottle to her swimmer. [Origin: bef. 1000; ME stikke, OE sticca; akin to OHG stehho, ON stik stick]. Synonyms: pole and rod.
FINA (acronym for Fédération Internationale de Natation Amateur)(noun): the international governing body of swimming, water polo, diving, synchronized swimming and open water swimming, recognized by the International Olympic Committee for administering international aquatic competitions. It was founded in 1908 and is headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland. FINA administers two different global open water swimming circuits in addition to the biennial World Swimming Championships held every odd year.
FINA 10KM Marathon Swimming World Cup (noun): A year-round global series of professional marathon swims organized by FINA, 10 kilometers in distance, held in countries such as Brazil, United Arab Emirates, Portugal, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, China and Mexico. Many of the races are in loop courses that allow for spectators to see the athletes battling with each other throughout the race. The top pro swimmers travel the world to participate in the FINA 10KM Marathon Swimming World Cup.
FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix (noun): A year-round global series of professional marathon swims organized by FINA, ranging from 15 to 88 kilometers in length, held in countries such as Argentina, Italy, Serbia, Macedonia, Canada and Mexico. One of the toughest endurance circuits in the world has to be the FINA Open Water Grand Prix.
FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee (noun): A FINA committee (acronym: TOWSC) that sets and implements the rules and policies of open water swimming and organizes the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup and the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix; have supported the International Olympic Committee to add marathon swimming to the Olympic schedule. Current members include Chairman Ronnie Wong of Hong Kong, Vice Chairman Jorge Delgado Panchana of Ecuador, Honorary Secretary Flavio Bomio of Switzerland, FINA Bureau Liaison Dennis Miller of Fiji, Zouhier El Moufti of Morocco, Tomas Haces German of Cuba, Steven Munatones of the USA, Khwaja Aziz of Bangladesh, Valerijus Belovas of Lithuania, Samuel Greetham of Great Britain, Andrea Prayer of Italy, Noam Zvi of Israel, John West of New Zealand, Hatem Seifallah Ibrahim of Egypt, Beltran Washington of Uruguay and Shelley Taylor-Smith of Australia. The FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee sets the rules of the open water swimming competition at the Olympics and World Swimming Championships.
Finish cameras (noun): Video cameras set up in fixed locations onshore and/or on docks, piers or other locations to record the finishes for official review after a race. Because many world-class races are so close, officials use finish cameras to determine the race results.
Finish chute (noun): A series of lane lines, buoys or other such markings that indicate the finish area and help direct the swimmers to the final finish line or touch pads. The lead group of swimmers all entered the finish chute together, each sprinting to the touch pads.
First infringement (noun): When a swimmer commits his or her first infraction of the rules. In championship races, a yellow flag and a card bearing the swimmer's number is raised by the referee to indicate and to inform the swimmer that he or she is in violation of the rules. Whistles may also be used by the referee to get the swimmer's attention on the first infringement.
Fish (noun): the term occasionally used on a channel crossing or a marathon swim by an experienced support crew for the type of fish with a cartilaginous skeleton and a highly streamlined body with a tough usually dull gray skin, commonly known as a shark. Sharks are typically active predators that fascinating and frightening, found in all seas, ranging in size from 17 cm to 12 meters, with a few species sometimes dangerous to humans. The support crew saw the fish near the swimmer, but did not point to it in order to avoid scaring the swimmer. Synonyms: Shark, The Man in the Gray Suit, Mack, Old Toothy, Garbage Can of the Sea, The Landlord. [Some scholars believe shark is derived from the German word schurke, meaning villain.]
Five Oceans (noun): Completion of a long-distance swim in all five oceans of the world: the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Southern (also known as the Antarctic) and Arctic Oceans. Lewis Gordon Pugh completed the Five Oceans when he swam in the Atlantic Ocean (1992 English Channel, 1992), the Arctic Ocean (2003 North Cape in Norway), the Southern Ocean (2005 Deception Island in sub-Antarctica, 2005), the Indian Ocean (2006 Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa) and Pacific Ocean (2006 15K Manly Beach to the Sydney Opera House in Australia). Synonyms: Ocean’s Seven, Triple Crown.
Flood tide (noun): The inflow of water (from the sea) that results in rising water levels near shore. The reverse flow is called the ebb tide where there is a receding or outgoing (seaward) flow of water that results in the water level near a shore being lowered. The swimmers had a difficult time swimming against the flood tide towards the end of the race.
Fluid (noun): Liquid nourishment that provides hydration during an open water race. Popular examples are Gatorade and water. The coach prepared the swimmer’s fluid at the feeding station. [Origin: 1300–50; ME fuel(le), feuel.]
Four-wide (noun): Four swimmers swimming side-by-side during a race. There is a four-wide sprinting around the buoy towards the finish. [Origin: modern-day NASCAR term].
Freeswimmer (noun): An individual who does freeswimming. He never enters open water races, but he is an avid freeswimmer who always goes for a freeswim in the ocean.
Free swimming (verb): Swimming in natural or man-made bodies of open water including oceans, lakes, rivers, bays and reservoirs, performed soley for the pleasure of doing the swim. Open water races are not considered a free swim which is generally at least one kilometer in distance. He swam in the 1K pier-to-pier race and then did a free swim back to the start. Synonym: wild swimming, open water swimming, expedition swimming.
Freestyle relay (noun): An open water swimming relay where each swimmer can swim any distance or for any amount of time that they wish. Unlike the traditional English Channel relays where each swimmer swims for one or two hours, staying in the same rotation, swimmers have much more freedom in deciding their own distance and time in freestyle relays. The swimmers started their freestyle relay in legs of approximately 10 minutes each, then gradually reduced their time as the relay progressed across the channel.
Fuel (noun): Solid food or nourishment that provides energy source during an open water race. Examples are bananas and chocolate and gel packs like CarbBoom, Clif Shot, GU and PowerGel. The coach put a bit of fuel in his water bottle at the feeding station. [Origin: 1300–50; ME fuel(le), feuel.]
Gel pack (noun): Small, easy-to-use, individual squeeze packages that contain simple and complex carbohydrates, antioxidants and amino acids in order to provide an energy boost during a race. Single-serving pouches are sold in a variety of sizes, shapes and flavors, and can be easily digested while swimming. The swimmer stuck two gel packs in her swim suit before the start of the race. Synonyms: sports gel and pouch.
Gamma globulin injections (noun): Injections that are usually given in an attempt to temporarily boost an individual's immunity against disease. Before starting the marathon swim in the river, he took several vaccines including a gamma globulin injection as a precaution.
GPS (noun): Acronym for Global Positioning System; a global system of U.S. navigational satellites developed to provide precise positional and velocity data and global time synchronization for air, sea, and land travel. The race director calculated the location of the turn buoys on the course by using GPS.
GPS move (noun): A veering off-course by one swimmer of another swimmer. Towards the finish of a race or into a turn buoy, when two swimmers are swimming shoulder-to-shoulder, one swimmer swims slightly off-course in a controlled intention manner. By slightly and steadily moving the opponent slightly off-course, the swimmer can then quickly move back on course to create a small and effective gap to gain either a navigational or positional advantage. The swimmer did a beautiful GPS move when he veered the other swimmer slightly off-course and then cut in towards the finish.
Grease up (verb): To put on an anti-chafing lubricant, ointment, spray or petroleum-based jelly on one's body to prevent chafing and irritation at the friction points (e.g., arms, chin, neck, inner thighs, swimsuit areas). When swimmers apply Vaseline®, lanolin, TriSlide, BodyGlide, PAM or other kind of skin lubricant to eliminate irritation caused by repetitive rubbing of skin vs. skin, skin vs. facial or body hair or skin vs. swimsuit. The swimmer put lanolin on his torso, but he put Vaseline around his neck and arms.
Gulp and Go (noun): The third rule of feeding when an open water swimmer quickly consumes fuel (e.g., gel pack) or hydration (e.g., water) received from his/her coach on the feeding pontoon, then immediately begin to swim again after the momentary feeding stop. The swimmer came in and did a great ‘Gulp and Go’ despite being crowded at the feeding station.
High tide (noun): 1. The time at which the tide is highest. 2. The highest level of the water at a particular time and place. The swimmer cleared the coral reef by a few meters by swimming during high tide. Synonym: high water.
Hook (verb): To swim to the left in the open water. The swimmer hooked to the left between the second and third turn buoys.
Hydration (noun): Water, Gatorade, flat Coca-Cola or Mountain Dew, fortified water drinks, tea and other liquids to restore or maintain fluid balance during an open water race. The importance of hydration to prevent dehydration during the race cannot be overemphasized. [Origin: 1795–1805; HYDR + -ATE]. Synonyms: liquid and drinks. Note: some nutritionists argue that caffeine does not hydrate because it is also a diuretic.
Hyperthermia (noun): An abnormally high body temperature, usually resulting from warm water, warm temperatures, bright skies and/or humidity, during open water races, especially common during intense competitions or complicated due to dehydration. Several degrees of severity exist, starting with Heat Edema with the swelling of hands and feet. Heat Stroke is a medical emergency with potential for profound confusion, loss of coordination, hallucinations and coma, typically with a core body temperature of greater than 104°F. Between these two extremes there are intermediate degrees of severity, including (in order) Heat Syncope, Heat Cramps and Heat Exhaustion. The doctors were ready to deal with cases of hyperthermia due to the hot water conditions under sunny skies.
Hypothermia (noun): An abnormally low body temperature, often caused by prolonged exposure to cold water during open water races, especially when combined with chilly winds, pronounced fatigue for swimmers with a low body fat percentage. Hypothermia is medically defined when the core body temperature drops below 35ºC (95ºF). Mild hypothermia may be identified by increased shivering or vasoconstriction. Severe hypothermia includes altered cognition, unusual behavior, weakness, apathy, reduced cardiac output, and even coma. The swimmer was pulled from the water when it become obvious that she was suffering from hypothermia. [Origin: 1885–90; HYPO- + THERM- + -IA where hypo- + Greek thermē, heat; see gwher- in Indo-European roots + -ia].
Impede (verb): To obstruct, interfere or retard in movement or progress by means of cutting off, swimming into, blocking or pulling on legs, ankles, arms or shoulders of other swimmers during a race. The swimmer was impeded by his competitor when he was cut off towards the end of the race.
Intermediate buoys (noun): Buoys placed between required turn buoys or markers that may be passed on either side without penalty. The swimmer went to the left side of the intermediate buoys because he thought this would give him an advantage.
International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (noun): an affiliate organization to the International Swimming Hall of Fame, established in 1961 to recognize the marathon swimmers throughout the world and governed by an international selection committee of marathon swimming experts. It recognizes not only the world’s most successful swimmers in competitive races, but also individuals for their solo swim exploits around the world. Due to her exploits as a professional marathon swimmer and her unprecedented solo swims, she was inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.
In-water start (noun): A start that begins in the water and does not require swimmers to dive in from a starting pontoon or run in the water from a beach, pier or shoreline to start. Swimmers stand or tread water in a depth sufficient for them to commerce swimming on the start signal. The bay swim used an in-water start where the swimmers lined up behind the rope. Synonym: in-the-water start. Antonyms: beach start, dive start and run-in start.
In-water finish (noun): A finish that is in the water and do not require the swimmers to exit from the body of water where the race is held. The bay swim used a rope across two buoys as the in-water finish. Synonym: in-the-water finish. Antonyms: beach finish and run-out finish.
Jellyfish (noun): A free-swimming marine creature that floats with the winds and currents with a nearly transparent body and long tentacles with stinging cells. The swimmer swam right into a brood of jellyfish off of the coast and was stung on his arms and face. Synonyms: marine stringer, box jellyfish, Portguese Man o War and sea wasp. Agua mala [Spanish].
Kelp (noun): Any of the various large brown seaweed that can grow very long and form kelp forests in the shallow oceans below about 20°C (68°F). The swimmers swam right into the kelp forest as they were swimming along the coast. Synonym: seaweed.
Kona winds (noun): A wind from the south or southwest that generally leads to glassy ocean conditions around the islands of Hawaii. The channel swimmers were fortunate to hit a day with Kona winds.
Knot (noun): A unit of speed equal to one nautical mile or about 1.15 statute miles per hour. The race was conducted under wavy conditions and 10-knot winds.
Landmark (noun): Large, visible or stationary objects that are easy to see with a quick sighting from the perspective of the swimmer in an open water race; includes buildings, light poles on piers or anchored boats visible from the distance. The swimmer looked for various landmarks as she was swimming into to shore at the end of the race. [Origin: bef. 1000; ME; OE landmearc]. Synonyms: guide, point and mark.
Lanolin (noun): A greasy, fatty substance, insoluble in water, that is extracted from wool-bearing animals used to coat the skin of swimmers, especially to friction points (e.g., underarms, inside thighs, chin and neck) in order to prevent chafing or help reduce the impact of cold water. The coach spread a thin layer of lanolin under the swimmer’s shoulders.
Lap (noun): One complete round, length or circuit around a race course. The swimmers have two more laps around the course. [Middle English lappen, from lappe, lap, lappet]. Synonym: loop, round and circuit.
Lateral laze (noun): A tactical break-away move in open water races where a competitor moves laterally or apparently swims crookedly away from a pack before breaking hard and increasing pace in order to create separation from the pack. The winner pulled a lateral laze during the third loop which opened up a gap between her and the other swimmers in the lead pack.
Lead boat (noun): A boat or similar watercraft that leads a swimmer or the lead pack of swimmers on a race course. The lead boat led the swimmers throughout the 25-kilometer race. Synonym: escort boat.
Lead pack (noun): The fastest or first group of swimmers in a race, all closely swimming together. The lead pack sprinted towards the finish ahead of the other competitors. [Origin: 1175–1225; (n.) ME pak, packe].
Leading the pack (verb): To swim ahead of a group of swimmers in an open water race. The favorite was leading the pack during the first half of the race.
Left (or right) shoulder turn (noun): Term used by race officials to describe the required turn direction when passing a turn buoy. A left shoulder turn means that the turn buoys must be kept on the left-side of the swimmer as the swimmer turns counter-clockwise around the turn buoys. All orange buoys must be passed using a right shoulder turn in the clockwise direction.
Line of sight (noun): An unobstructed path from the swimmer’s eye to a distant point such as the turn buoys or finish line. The swimmer had a great line of sight from the turn buoy to the finish area.
Long-distance swimming (noun): Swimming in natural or man-made bodies of water such as oceans, bays, lakes, reservoirs, rowing basins and rivers; generally understood to be at least 3 kilometers in distance. The masters swimmers decided to try long-distance swimming when they visited Hawaii. Synonyms: open water swimming, rough water swimming and marathon swimming.
Loop (noun): One complete round, length or circuit around a race course, especially one that is circular in shape. The swimmers have to swim four loops around the Olympic 10K course in the rowing basin. [Alteration (influenced by Italian lega) of Middle English liege, from Old French ligue, from Medieval Latin liga and from Old Italian lega, liga (from legare, to bind), both from Latin ligāre, to bind; see leig- in Indo-European roots]. Synonyms: lap, round and circuit.
Low tide (noun): 1. The time at which the tide is lowest. 2. The lowest level of the water at a particular time and place. The lowest tides (called the spring tides) occur when the sun and moon are directly aligned with respect to Earth. Low tides are less extreme when the sun and moon are at right angles (called the neap tides). The swimmers were not able to swim over the coral reef at low tide. Synonym: low water.
Make a break (verb): To speed up or increase the pace in order to create separation from the competition. The swimmer plans to make a break just after the last turn. Synonyms: sprint ahead, swim faster, put on a spurt, pick up the pace, drop the hammer, increase the tempo, drop the field, make a move and breakaway.
Make a move (verb): To catch up to or swim into position ahead of one’s competitors. The swimmer will make his move in the second half of the race. Synonyms: sprint ahead, swim faster, put on a spurt, pick up the pace, drop the hammer, increase the tempo, drop the field, make a break and breakaway.
Marathon swim (noun): A non-stop solo or relay swim that covers a minimum of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) in the large outdoor bodies of water such as oceans, bays, lakes, reservoirs, rowing basins, dams, lidos, canals and rivers, as defined by FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation Amateur). Alternatively, or a minimum of 25 kilometers (15.5 miles), as defined by the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. The athletes were preparing for a 25-kilometer pro marathon swimming race. [Origin: 1895–1900; allusion to Pheidippides' 26-mi. (42-km) run from MARATHON to Athens to carry news of the Greek victory over the Persians in 490 b.c.] + [Origin: bef. 1000; ME; OE swimmende (adj.)] Synonyms: open water swimming, rough water swimming, channel swimming and long distance swimming.
Marking (noun): Numbers that are written in black on the shoulders, upper arms, shoulder blades, thighs, calves, wrists and/or swim caps of the swimmers for identification purposes prior to the start of the race. These numbers are used to monitor the swimmer’s progress, announce the swimmer’s position to the crowd and media, and to inform swimmers who commit rule infractions during the race. Paddlers, kayakers and escort boats for individual swimmers can also be marked on both sides with the swimmer's race number so it is easily seen from both sides. The race officials write markings on the swimmer’s shoulders 30 minutes before the start of the race. Synonyms: race numbers and competitor’s numbers.
Mass start (noun): When a large number of swimmers all start together at the same time (as opposed to seeded starts or age-group starts). 450 swimmers gathered for a mass start near the pier. [ Origin: bef. 1150; (v.) ME sterten to rush out, leap (c. MHG sterzen); r. OE styrtan (attested once), c. G stürzen; (n.) ME stert(e) sudden jerk, leap, deriv. of the v.]
Miss a feeding (verb): to drop a cup or bottle with hydration due to jostling in a crowd around the feeding station or to not get close enough to the feeding station to receive fuel (e.g. gel pack) or hydration (e.g., Gatorade). The swimmer missed a feeding for the second time at the feeding station.
Mixed zone (noun): An area near the finish line where media representatives, photographers and team officials can interview and photograph swimmers after the race. The swimmer smiled widely and waved to her coach from the Mixed Zone where she was being interviewed by the press.
Navigation (noun): The art or science of plotting, ascertaining or directing the course of a swimmer in a open water race. The coaches and swimmers discussed the navigation options for the swim around the island.
Navigational IQ (noun): The innate ability for a swimmer to swim the straightest and fastest path in the open water, especially in a race. She has the highest navigational IQ among all the competitors.
Neap tide (noun): A tide that occurs twice a month, in the first and third quarters of the moon, when the difference between high and low tide is least. The channel swimmer decided to go on a neap tide due to the availability of the escort boat. [Middle English neep, from Old English np(fld), neap (tide).] Antonym: spring tide.
Neoprene cap (noun): A swim cap made of neoprene that usually covers the ears and hooks under the chin and is designed for maximum warmth and protection during cold open water swims. The swimmers put on their neoprene caps in order to avoid the ice cream headaches.
Ocean’s Seven (noun): Open water swimming's equivalent of mountaineering's Seven Summits which are the highest mountains in each of the seven continents. It includes the (1) Irish Channel between Ireland and Scotland, (2) Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand, (3) Moloka’i Channel between O’ahu and Moloka’i Islands in Hawaii, U.S.A., (4) English Channel between England and France, (5) Catalina Channel in Southern California, U.S.A., (6) Tsugaru Channel between the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido in Japan, and (7) Strait of Gibraltar between Europe and Africa. Achieving the Ocean’s Seven requires an ability to swim in both very cold and very warm seas and a tremendous amount of planning, time, financial resources and multi-national support teams of knowledgeable local experts.
Off course (adjective): Not swimming in the right (or fastest or straightest) direction in an open water race. The swimmers started to veer off course to the left. [Origin: orig. stressed var. of OF] + [Origin: 1250–1300; ME co(u)rs (n.) On course (adjective): Swimming in the right (or fastest or straightest) direction in an open water race. The swimmers were right on course throughout the race. [Origin: bef. 900; ME on, an, OE: on, in, to; c. D aan, G an, ON ā, Goth ana; akin to Gk aná up] + [Origin: 1250–1300; ME co(u)rs (n.)
One-way (noun): A solo or relay swim in one direction across a channel, lake, river or other body of water under the traditional rules of marathon swimming. The swimmer set a one-way crossing in Lac St-Jean. Synonym: one-way crossing.
Open water swimming (noun): Swimming in natural or man-made bodies of water such as oceans, bays, lakes, reservoirs, rowing basins, lidos, canals, dams and rivers; generally understood to be longer than 1 kilometer in distance, but can include swims of shorter distance. The triathletes practice open water swimming in the lake every Saturday. Synonyms: marathon swimming, rough water swimming, channel swimming, wild swimming and long distance swimming.
OTL or Over Time Limit (noun): When an athlete does not finish the race within the specified time given by the race organizer. The specified time could be a certain number of hours or minutes or the maximum amount of time that is allowed for swimmers to remain in the water after the first swimmer finishes the race. Time limits generally apply from the finish time of the first swimmer. The race results showed OTL after his name.
Paceline swimming (noun): When swimmers follow immediately one after another in the pool or open water and the first swimmer leads for a certain time or distance, then falls back to the rear when the second swimmer then takes the lead and pulls the group. The group rotates so each swimmer has the opportunity to lead the group for a certain time or distance. The coach asked the swimmers to do paceline swimming for 1000 meters with each swimmer rotating into the lead every 100 meters.
Pack (noun): A group of swimmers swimming together in a race or during training. The swimmers were in a large pack during the start of the race. [Origin: 1175–1225; (n.) ME pak, packe, Middle English pak, possibly of Low German origin.]
Polar Bear Swim (noun): A swimming event of any distance held during the winter where participants enter an open body of water despite low water and air temperatures. Often, held to raise money for a charity. The swimmers gathered at the lake where temperatures plunged near freezing for the annual Polar Bear Swim.
Porpoise (noun): Any of various small gregarious toothed whales with a blunt snout. The porpoise was jumping, vocalizing and swimming around the pack of swimmers during the race. Porpoise have shorter beaks and flattened teeth distinct from the conical teeth of dolphins and all six species live in the ocean, mostly near shore. Synonym: dolphin. [Middle English propoys, from Anglo-French porpeis, alteration of Medieval Latin porcopiscis, from Latin porcus pig + piscis fish]
Positioning (noun): A place or location, often strategic and intentional, but occasionally unintentional or accidental, where a swimmer finds him/herself during an open water race. The coach stressed to the swimmer the need to hold her positioning around the turn buoys on the last loop. [Middle English posicioun, from Old French posicion, from Latin positiō, positiōn-, from positus, past participle of pōnere, to place; see apo- in Indo-European roots]. Synonyms: place and location.
Rabbit (noun): A swimmer whose goal is chiefly to set a fast pace, either to set a record or to exhaust a specific competitor so that a teammate can win. The teammate served as a rabbit by going out fast on the first two loops. [Origin: 1375–1425; late ME rabet(te) young rabbit, bunny, prob.
Race numbers (noun): Numbers that are prominently written in semi-permanent black ink or with temporary tattoos on the upper arms, shoulder blades and wrists of the swimmer for identification purposes. These numbers are used to monitor the swimmer’s progress, announce the swimmer’s position to the crowd and media and inform swimmers who are committing rule infractions during the race. The race officials write the race numbers on the swimmer’s shoulders 30 minutes before the start of the race. Synonyms: marking, markings and competitor numbers.
Reach and Roll (noun): The second rule of feeding when the swimmer extends his/her hand to grab fuel (e.g., gel pack) or hydration (e.g., water) from his/her coach on the feeding pontoon, then turns over on his/her back to consumer the fuel or hydration. The swimmer was ready to reach and roll once he grabbed the water bottle from his coach.
Ready room (noun): A designated indoor or outdoor area or room where the swimmers gather before the race, often to listen to pre-race instructions from race officials or to store their personal gear before the race. The swimmers were called to the Ready Room 30 minutes before the start of the world championships. Synonym: Call room.
Red card (noun): A red-colored penalty card that indicates the immediate disqualification of a swimmer due to unsportsmanlike conduct or a serious infraction of the rules during an open water race. The head referee gave a red card to the swimmer who pulled back his competitor around the turn buoy. Synonyms: disqualification, DQ.
Red-carded (verb): To be disqualified by a referee during an open water race. The swimmer was red-carded by the referee after his unsportsmanlike conduct. Synonym: disqualified, DQ'ed.
Referee (noun): The designated individuals who judge open water races based on the established rules set by FINA or the race director. Referees can be located at the start, turns, finishes and/or on escort boats along the course. The referee gave a yellow card to the swimmer after observing the second rule infraction. [Origin: 1605–15; REFER + -EE ]. Synonyms: judge, ref.
Riptide (noun): a strong flow of water flowing away from a shoreline, typically near a pier, jetty or through the surf. The swimmers swam near the pier on their way out of the ocean race in order to gain an advantage from the riptide. Synonym: rip current.
Rough water swimming or roughwater swimming (noun): Swimming in outdoor bodies of water such as oceans, bays, lakes, reservoirs, rowing basins and rivers. The athletes were for some rough water swimming at the beach. Synonyms: open water swimming, marathon swimming and long distance swimming.
Sandbar (noun): A long mass or low ridge of submerged or partially exposed sand built up in the water along a shore, river, beach or between or near islands that is caused the action of waves, tides or currents. The swimmers swam to the sandbar during their weekend training swims.
Sandbar swim (noun): An open water swim that starts, finishes or passes by a sandbar. Fiji is famous for its sandbar swims that start on a sandbar and finish on various tropical islands.
Sea life (noun): Living organisms found in the ocean and other bodies of water that open water swimmers may encounter during training sessions or races. These include fish, jellyfish, sea nettles, sea lice, turtles, porpoise, dolphins, sea lions, sharks, coral, seaweed, kelp, sea snakes. The beginner dreaded sea life during his first open water race in the Caribbean, but the experienced swimmers were looking forward to seeing all kinds of sea life. [Origin: bef. 900; ME see, D zee, G See, ON sær sea, Goth saiws marsh ] + [Origin: bef. 900; ME lif(e); OE līf; c. D lijf, G Leib body, ON līf life, body]. Synonym: sea creatures.
Sea wasp (noun): A cube-shaped marine creature that floats with the winds and currents with a nearly transparent, slightly tinted body and long tentacles with stinging cells. A type of cubozoan that is formally categorized separately from other types of jellyfish. The swimmer swam right into a sea wasp off of the coast and was stung badly on his arms and face. Synonyms: marine stringer, box jellyfish, jellyfish, Portguese Man o War and sea wasp.
Seaweed (noun): A mass or growth of red, brown or green marine plants that grow in the sea. The swimmer was surprised when he swam right into the seaweed. Synonym: kelp, arine algae.
Seek and Spot (noun): the first rule of feeding when the swimmer heads toward the feeding pontoon and identifies his/her coach standing on the pontoon. The swimmer wanted to seek and spot his coach on the feeding pontoon before he cut in to feed.
Second Infringement (noun): When a swimmer commits his or her second infraction of the rules. In championship races, a red card or flag and a card bearing the swimmer's number is raised by the referee to indicate and to inform the swimmer that he or she is in violation of the rules for the second time. The swimmer impeded his competitors near the finish and received his second infringement.
Seeded start (noun): When the swimmers are divided by specific abilities or times at the start (as opposed to age-group starts or mass starts). Swimmers faster than 20 minutes in the 1500 meters gathered for a start near the pier. [ Origin: bef. 1150; (v.) ME sterten to rush out, leap (c. MHG sterzen); r. OE styrtan (attested once), c. G stürzen; (n.) ME stert(e) sudden jerk, leap, deriv. of the v.]
Shark cage (noun): A strongly built rectangular deterrent, supported by pontoons that is towed by an escort boat to serve as a swimmer's protection against sharks and other predators in the ocean during a marathon swim. The cage can have mesh around it in order to protect from jellyfish. The swimmer was tossed about in the ocean by the turbulence caused by the shark cage.
Shark net (noun): A large submerged mesh net placed around beaches to reduce shark attacks on swimmers. The shark was swimming near the shore, but was caught in the shark net and eventually drowned.
Sheltered-sided breathing (noun): To breathe away from the waves or elements in open water swimming. When the surface chop began due to the strong wind, he started sheltered-side breathing to his left side.
Shoot the gap (verb): To swim between a narrow gap between two competitors, especially in a pack during a race. The swimmer shot the gap between his competitors just before the final turn buoy.
Sighting (noun): The act of seeing or navigating in the open water, generally towards landmarks, turn buoys, escort boats or the finish. Lifting the head to look ahead to the side or behind in order to decide the optimal direction to be swimming in an open water race; a view of the race course. The swimmer took frequent sightings as she raised her head every 25 strokes. [Middle English, from Old English sihth, gesiht, something seen; see sek in Indo-European roots]. Synonyms: view and look.
Single-crossing (noun): A solo or relay swim in one direction across a channel, lake, river or other body of water under the traditional rules of marathon swimming. The swimmer set the single-crossing record for the Molokai Channel. Synonym: one-way crossing.
Sister swims (noun): A mutually beneficial relationship between two independently organized pen water swimming events whereby each swim promotes the other and there is a cross-sharing of information and, occasionally, swimmers, either randomly-drawn individuals or the overall winners. The partnership between the sister swims in England and Fiji was promoted on the websites and brochures.
Slice (verb): To swim to the right in the open water. The swimmer sliced to the right between the second and third turn buoys.
Slip streaming or drafting vessels (verb): Intentionally taking advantage of the wake of escort boats or officiating watercraft on the course; rules prohibit this action by swimmers. The referee gave a yellow flag to the swimmer who was slip streaming behind the escort boat.
Solo swim (noun): An individual swim that is not part of an official race. More people have successfully climbed Mount Everest than have completed a solo swim of the English Channel. [Origin: 1685-95; Ital. L sōlus alone]. Synonym: single swim.
Split time (noun): A time for a set distance within a race. His split time for the first loop was 29 minutes. Synonyms: interim time and split.
Spring tide (noun): 1. The exceptionally high and low tides that occur at the time of the new moon or the full moon when the sun, moon, and earth are approximately aligned and the difference between high and low tide is the greatest. When the sun, moon and earth are aligned, their collective gravitational pull on the Earth's water is strengthened, causing spring tides.
Stage race (noun): A type of timed competition conducted over the course of two or more consecutive days where the distance of the individual stages can vary on each day and the starting point of the subsequent stages begins at or near the same point as the finish of the previous day's swim. The overall final time of the each competitor is the culmination of the swimming times of the individual stages. The overall final distance is the distance measured from the starting point to the finish point in miles, nautical miles or kilometers. The finish on the final day can be at the same location or at a different location than the start on the first day. The 3-day staged race began at the foot of the river and ended at the bay. Synonyms: stage swim, staged swim, stage race and staged relay.
Stage relay (noun): A type of timed relay competition conducted over the course of two or more consecutive days where the distance of the individual stages can vary on each day and the starting point of the subsequent stages begins at or near the same point as the finish of the previous day's swim. The overall final time of each relay is the culmination of the swimming times of the individual stages. The overall final distance is the distance measured from the starting point to the finish point in miles, nautical miles or kilometers. The finish on the final day can be at the same location or at a different location than the start on the first day. The staged relay from San Francisco passed by the Golden Gate Bridge on its eighth day. Synonyms: stage race, staged race, stage swim and staged swim.
Stage swim (noun): A type of solo swim, relay or race conducted over two or more consecutive days where the distance of the individual stages can vary on each day and the starting point of the subsequent stages begins at or near the same point as the finish of the previous day's swim. The overall final time is the culmination of the swimming times of the individual stages. The overall final distance is the distance measured from the starting point to the finish point in miles, nautical miles or kilometers. The finish on the final day can be at the same location or at a different location than the start on the first day. The staged swim from Los Angeles to San Diego was conducted over ten days. Synonyms: stage swim, staged race and staged relay.
Starting platform (noun): a dock, pier or other floating structure where the swimmers stand to start an open water race; each swimmer is given about 60 centimeters or space on the starting platform. The 30 swimmers lined up on the starting platform to the roar of the crowd. Synonym: starting pontoon.
Starting pontoon (noun): A dock or floating structure where the swimmers stand to start an open water race; each swimmer is given about 60 centimeters or space on the starting platform. The starting pontoon was anchored to the ocean floor to create a stable start for the swimmers. Synonym: starting platform.
Stick and stay (verb): To draft off of another swimmer for an extended period during a race. The coach advised the swimmer to stick and stay with the race favorite for the first 5 kilometers. Synonyms: draft, stay with him/her, drag and slipstream.
Strung out (verb): To become separated from one another during an open water race, especially in the later stages of the race after the swimmers have been swimming together in a pack. After the midway point, the top swimmer increased her pace causing the lead pack to get strung out.
Surface chop (noun): Wave action at the surface of the water caused by wind. Small, frequent waves that are irritating to open water swimmers because they impede forward movement and can reduce visibility from the surface of the water. The surface chop was the reason why he went a bit off-course. Synonyms: chop and whitewater.
Surge (noun): A sudden increase in speed to breakaway from one's competitors. He put on a final surge in an attempt to win the close race. Synonyms: breakaway, sprint. Also (verb): To speed up or increase the pace in order to create separation from the rest of the field. The swimmer was surging around the last turn buoy. Synonyms: sprint ahead, swim faster, put on a spurt, pick up the pace, drop the hammer, increase the tempo, drop the field, make a move and sprint.
Swell (noun): A long wave or series of waves in the ocean that move continuously without breaking. The swells caused the swimmers to rise and fall during the first half of the race. [Middle English swellen, from Old English swellan]. Synonym: wave.
Tack 'n Turn (verb): A race tactic when a swimmer veers a competitor slightly off-course and then shifts direction quickly to gain a better position or angle to a turn buoy, feeding pontoon or finish. The leader tacked and turned the second swimmer to his advantage.
10K (noun): 6.2 miles or 10 kilometers, the standard distance of the Olympic marathon swim. The swimmers will swim four loops in the rowing basin during the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim.
Third spacing (noun): In human physiology, extracellular fluids are distributed between the interstitial compartment (i.e. tissue) and intravascular compartment (i.e. plasma) in an approximately 75%-25% ratio. Third spacing is the physiological concept that body fluids may collect in a "third" body compartment that isn't normally perfused with fluids. For example, open water swimmer’s body to appear waterlogged or swollen after a long swim when fluid is trapped in the interstitial spaces in the brain, lungs, abdomen and extremities. Third spacing can be caused by a loss of electrolytes. In turn, this results in extracellular fluids going out of the blood vessels and into the skin tissue that normally is not perfused with fluids. The marathon swimmer looked soft and pudgy when he exited the water after his crossing of the English Channel.
Three-wide (noun): 3 swimmers swimming side-by-side during a race. There was a three-wide coming around the last turn buoy. [Origin: modern-day NASCAR term].
Throw a Curve (noun): a race tactic used when when a swimmer purposefully swims in a zig-zag or curved pattern in order to attempt to lose a swimmer who is drafting off of them. The leader is throwing a curve to the rest of the pack.
Tide (noun): The periodic rise and fall of the waters of the ocean and its inlets, produced by the attraction of the moon and sun, and occurring about every 12 hours. The inflow, outflow, or current of water at any given place resulting from the waves of tides. The race director took the tides into account when he decided to start the race in the early morning. [Origin: bef. 900; ME (n.); OE tīd time, hour; c. D tijd, G Zeit, ON tīth; akin to TIME]. Synonyms: stream, flood tide and current.
Time Limit (noun): The maximum amount of time that is allowed for swimmers to remain in the water after the first swimmer finishes the race. Time limits apply from the finish time of the first swimmer. He was pulled from the race and had to exit from the water when the time limit was reached 30 minutes after the first swimmer finished.
Toss and Turn (noun): The fourth rule of feeding when the swimmer quickly discards the fuel (e.g., gel pack) or hydration (e.g., water cup or bottle) received from his/her coach and immediately turns over on his/her stomach to begin swimming after a momentary feeding stop. The swimmer was ready to toss and turn after quickly gulping down the Gatorade.
Touch pad (noun): Finish plates placed vertically (i.e., perpendicular to the surface of the water) at the end of open water races that identify the race finish and can be electronically tied to the official timing system. The two swimmers slapped the touch pad at nearly the exact same time. Synonyms: Finish, finish pads and finish line.
Trade winds (noun): The most persistent wind system on Earth. The prevailing pattern of easterly surface winds found in the tropics near the Earth's equator that blow predominantly from the northeast in the Northern Hemisphere and from the southeast in the Southern Hemisphere, strengthening during the winter and when the Arctic oscillation is in its warm phase. stablished across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. When the trade winds came up, the channel swim became extremely difficult due to the whitecaps. Synonym: trades.
Transponder (noun): light, waterproof timing devices with GPS capabilities that are worn on both wrists of swimmers at FINA-sanctioned races. The swimmers were given transponders before the race by the officials. Synonym: timing chips.
Triple Crown (noun): Open water swimming's equivalent of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. Completion of the Triple Crown includes three successful swims: (1) across the English Channel between England and France, (2) across the Catalina Channel in Southern California, U.S.A., and (3) the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, a 28.5-mile circumnavigation around New York City.
The Irish Triple Crown is the completion of the Irish Channel, the English Channel and the Catalina Channel.
The Kiwi Triple Crown is the completion of the Cook Strait, the English Channel and the Catalina Channel.
The California Triple Crown is the completion of one of the Santa Barbara Channels, the English Channel and the Catalina Channel or the Farallon Islands swim to San Francisco, the English Channel and the Catalina Channel.
The Hawaiian Triple Crown is the completion of one of the Hawaiian Island Channels (e.g., Moloka’i Channel), the English Channel and the Catalina Channel.
The Japanese Triple Crown is the completion of the Japanese Triple Crown, the English Channel and the Catalina Channel.
The African Triple Crown is the completion of the Strait of Gibraltar, the English Channel and the Catalina Channel.
The Australian Triple Crown is the completion of the Rottnest Channel, the English Channel and the Catalina Channel.
Turn buoy (noun): A distinctively marked colored float in the water, anchored to mark the course for swimmers. There are four turn buoys throughout the race course that the swimmers must go around to finish. [Origin: 1425–75; late ME boye a float Unescorted Swim (noun): An event where swimmers compete without a designated support craft (e.g., kayak, paddleboard, escort boat). However, mutual support for the entire field of swimmers can be made available through the use of safety craft and feed stations along the course. The athlete did her first unescorted swim in Greece in the 5K race.
Two-way (noun): A solo or relay swim back and forth across a channel, lake, river or other body of water under the traditional rules of marathon swimming. The swimmer set a two-way record across the Cook Strait. Synonym: double-crossing.
Unsportsmanlike Conduct (noun): Inappropriate or unprofessional acts committed by swimmers during an open water race that can lead to a warning or disqualification by the referee or that are not in the spirit of the competition. These acts can include obstruction, interference or making intentional contact with another swimmer that can lead to a warning or disqualification by the lead referee, whether made by the swimmer or the swimmer’s escort boat or crew. The swimmer was disqualified for his unsportsmanlike conduct because he swam over the shoulders of his competitor at the finish. Synonym: unsporting behavior.
Vaseline® (noun): A well-known trademark used for a brand of petroleum jelly that is used to coat the skin of swimmers, especially to friction points (e.g., underarms, inside thighs, chin, neck and swimsuit areas) in order to prevent chafing: The swimmer applied a thin coating of Vaseline® around his neck. [1872, trademark for an ointment made from petroleum and marketed by Chesebrough Manufacturing Co., coined from Ger. Wasser "water" + Gk. elaion "oil" + scientific-sounded ending -ine. Robert Chesebrough was of the opinion that petroleum was a product of the underground decomposition of water]. Synonym: grease. Similar products include Vaseline®, lanolin, TriSlide, BodyGlide, PAM, bag balm, Channel grease and Cramer Skin Lube.
Veer off course (verb): to swim not on the optimal path along an open water race. The swimmers were pushed by the strong currents and were gradually veering off course.
V-shaped pack (noun): When a group of swimmers takes a form of the letter "V" during a race. During the long straightaway, the lead swimmers formed a V-shaped pack.
Veer off course (verb): to swim not on the optimal path along an open water race. The swimmers were pushed by the strong currents and were gradually veering off course.
Wake (noun): The track of waves left by an escort boat, JetSki or other watercraft moving through the water or across the path of swimmers in an open water race or solo swim. The swimmers were bothered by the wake of the escort boat. [Origin: akin to Middle Low German wake, Norwegian dialect vok].
Water chill factor (noun): Apparent temperature felt on the exposed skin of a swimmer due to water temperature, air temperature, humidity, wind speed, amount of sunshine, cloud cover, level of exhaustion and thickness of swimwear and head coverings. It incorporates heat transfer theory and heat loss from the body to its surroundings. The water chill factor was so low that the swimmers decided to wear a neoprene cap.
Water comfort index (noun): The comfort factor useful for swimmers in any body of water ranging from extremely hot (apparent temperature of 85°F and higher) to uncomfortably hot to warm to comfortable to cool to uncomfortably cold to extremely cold (apparent temperature under 45°F). The race director told the athletes to expect a water comfort index in the uncomfortably hot range.
Wetsuit Event (noun): Events that allow the use of wetsuits due to low water temperatures. Swimmers using wetsuits usually do not compete against swimmers without wetsuits for awards; however, all swimmers may start together depending on the race. The swimmer entered the wetsuit event at the RCP Tiburon Mile.
Whiteboard (noun): A smooth, glossy sheet of white plastic that can be written on with a colored pen or erasable marker in the manner of a blackboard. The white plastic is used by coaches or referees to provide instructions to swimmers during an open water race. The coach wrote '2K to go' on the whiteboard to show his swimmer. Synonym: chalk board.
Whitecaps (noun): Small ocean surface waves that break offshore due to the wind that are irritating to open water swimmers because they tend to impede forward progress and reduce visibility. The winds picked up in the afternoon leading to an ocean full of whitecaps. Synonyms: whitewater, surface chop, chop, small waves and turbulence.
Wild swimmer (noun): An individual who swim in natural or man-made bodies of open water. During his drive across the country, he wanted to become a wild swimmer and go for a swim across 100 different bodies of water.
Wild swimming (verb): Swimming or playing in natural or man-made bodies of open water including oceans, lakes, rivers, bays, lidos, canals, dams and reservoirs, performed solely for the pleasure of doing the swim. Wild swimming differs from free swimming in that wild swimming can be of any distance where free swimming is generally at least one kilometer in distance. He love wild swimming whenever his family went camping in the countryside. Synonyms: open water swimming, free swimming.
Yellow card (noun): A yellow-colored penalty card that indicates an official warning to a swimmer due to unsportsmanlike conduct or an infraction of the rules during an open water race. The head referee gave a yellow card to the swimmer who cut across the back of his competitor. Synonym: warning.
Yellow-carded (verb): To be warned by a referee during an open water race. The swimmer was yellow-carded by the referee after his unsportsmanlike conduct. Synonyms: warned and given a warning.
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