Swimming Abbreviations & Lane Etiquette


Abbreviation Meaning
Frs or F/s or Free Freestyle Swim
SKPS I often use this in the warm up which means Swim/ Kick/ Swim/ Pull eg 800m SKPS means do 200m Swim/200m Kick etc
Bck or Back Backstroke Swim
Brs or B/s Breaststroke Swim
Fly Butterfly -if you can't do it then do free
IM Individual Medley eg. 4x100IM means you will swim 25m Fly/back/brs/frs
MO Medley Order eg.8x50m MO means you swim 1x50m Fly then 1x50m Back etc
'R.' or 'r' or Rest (R.30) = Rest 30sec at the end of an interval e.g. 5x200m Freestyle R.30 = Rest 30sec at the end of each 200m
AO or A/O Arms Only so use pull buoy and paddles
Pads Paddles - use paddles only in the set
Alt Alternate e.g. 4x200m alt free, back = Rep 1 is completed freestyle, rep 2 is complete backstroke, rep 3 free, rep 4 back, etc.
Desc Descend e.g. 8x100m descend 1–4 Each 100m 1st – 4th repetition should get faster. In this set, the swimmer will repeat the process of descending during reps 5–8
Negative Split The second half of the swim should be done faster than the first half e.g. 8 x100m Free Negative Split The first 50m should be a moderate pace and the second 50m should be faster Helps swimmers work with pacing and not starting off too fast – very important for ocean swimming
Hyp or Hypox Hypox 3 = Breathe (Br) every three strokes Hypox 5 = Breathe every five strokes, etc.
Kick Use a kickboard and complete the set just kicking usually I will indicate if you use fins with (fins) otherwise assume none
Fins Flippers or Fins are to be used in a set
CSS Critical Swim Speed - calculated by doing a 200m TT and 400m TT to provide your 'threshold' swim speed. Check your calculation at http://www.swimsmooth.com/training.html
HVO High Velocity Overload – Swim part of the length (no more than 15m) at full speed without breathing, rest of the set distance swim easy
Band Place a band around your ankles to stop kicking - this helps to develop core posture and stability in your shoulders
TT 75%, 80%, 90% using a FINIS TEMPO TRAINER in mode 3 and swimming at the intensity prescribed
ADD Let me know if there are others :-)

Swimming drills

Please visit Swim Resources for all relevant information covering off most of these areas. This will continue to build up over time with further details. 

Lane Etiquette

As a new (lap) swimmer, you are often unaware of swimming pool etiquette. Nevertheless, you quickly notice that the more experienced swimmers follow certain informal rules when they share a lane. If you want to appear to be a well-mannered swimmer and get along with your swim buddies, it is important that you follow the lap-swimming etiquette too.

Here are some general considerations while swimming in a lane:

  • Gauge the speeds of each lane and join the lane where the swimmers swim at your speed. This is because it is distracting for experienced swimmers to have to constantly pass slower swimmers.

  • If you are alone in a lane, you can swim following the middle line.

  • If there are two swimmers in the lane, it can be split into halves and each swimmer swims in one half of the lane, or the swimmers use the ‘circle’ format described hereafter.

  • If there are more than two swimmers in the lane, they should all circle in the lane. This is most often done clockwise in New Zealand and often anticlockwise in the US, Asia and Europe.

  • When joining a lane, slowly enter the water and wait on the side during one lap until all swimmers have noticed that you will join the lane.

  • If you are the second swimmer to join a lane, discuss with the first one how you will share the lane.

  • Don’t dive into the lane from the starting blocks when you join a lane. This can be distracting or even flat out frightening for swimmers who are concentrated on swimming their laps and don’t know what is happening.

  • If you want to pass a slower swimmer, tap them on the foot so that they know your intention. They should then stop at the end of the lane and move to the left corner so that you can pass. Do the same if you are the person being passed.

  • Don’t push off the wall right in front of a faster swimmer. Let him/her pass first.

  • Likewise, don’t push off right behind a slower swimmer to directly pass them by. Leave some room before pushing off.

  • If you chat with a fellow swimmer, do it on the sides of the lane to not obstruct the lane end for the lap swimmers. Do the same if you need to rest.

  • Don’t ‘borrow’ a piece of swimming equipment that you haven’t brought yourself and that seems abandoned. It may well be needed by one of your fellow swimmers very soon.

Follow these conventions and you will make your time at the pool easy for everyone. Have fun!