10 swimming definitions that non swimmers should understand

pang sheng jun backstroke

Spending 30 hours a week training in the pool, there’s no doubt that swimmers spend most of our social lives swimming. Therefore, there are some terms which swimmers have created over the years of swimming which non-swimmers may not understand. Hence I’m here to explain it to you and I’m sure you won’t be lost when you’re in a conversation with swimmers.


1) Easy speed 

russell ong

Every swimmers best friend, easy speed is whereby a swimmer feels really good and high above the water on that particular day of swimming, it could be that he/she rested well, or is on taper. Whatever the case is, he/she would be able to swim fast times effortlessly.

An example would be that on a normal day, a swimmer would be struggling to do 26s for a 50m Freestyle, but on a day of an easy speed, he/she is able to do not only one, but 2 or 3 more 26s effortlessly.

Oh God… I love easy speed.


2) Crash and burn 


The crash and burn swimmers are like warriors with a lion heart, they take their races out hard and aim to hold on to their position to the very end of the race. Swimmers who crash and burn are usually in front at the early stages of the races, and depending on how fit they are, they either dominate the whole race or look really bad at the final stages of the race.

It’s a high risk high return kind of strategy, and it takes a lot of guts to do it. It’s fun to watch these swimmers race as you could either be up for an extremely awesome race or feel their pain as they start to fade.

I try this race strategy sometimes too and trust me it HURTS. Definitely not a fan of the crash and burn strategy.


3) Back-end swimmer 

backend psj

The back-end swimmer, on the other hand, is a more laid back and relaxed swimmer, one which saves his/her energy for the final stages of the race.

An example would be in a 400 race, a back end swimmer is more laid back and relaxed, so you’ll probably see him/her in 5th or 6th position at the 200m mark, but after 200m mark, they have either a drastic or gradual shift in their stroke rates to catch up with the swimmers who have the crash and burn strategy.

At this point of time – the crash and burner or the back end swimmer, the winner would be the one who has a greater mental strength.

Some may find swimmers like these annoying as they may be mistaken for being a save up sally. But I’m guilty of being a backend swimmer too, because I just prefer to spend my energy wisely, but I get scolded for saving up too much sometimes.


4) Hollywooder/ Save Up Sally 

The most hated type of swimmer you would want to have your swimming training with.

In a set like 10x100m Freestyle holding your best average, consistency is key. However, the save up sally would go easy for 9 out of 10 of them and edge you out the 10th one. How brutal is that? Some of them even celebrate after winning you for the 10th one.

The save up sally gets a fair amount of hate, so it would be wise to avoid being one.


5) The wallpaper 

russell ong

The wallpaper always resting when they can. They are consistently found leaning against the wall of the swimming pool just to maximize their rest time, sometimes they would skip a 100m when the coach isn’t looking to save more energy.

It takes skill to cheat without the coach knowing so kudos to the wallpapers!


6) The cramper 


These are the guys who coincidentally have cramps every time a tough set comes. Not sure why, but their cramps have a correlation to how hard a set is and they always end up getting up to the deck to stretch when others are working hard.

Can’t blame them, it’s the cramps that are holding them back!


7) The injury 

my back hurts

No matter where you train or who you train with, there will always be someone that is really injury prone in the squad.

The 2 common injuries are shoulder injuries and back injuries, which often occurs during the tough set as well. Coincidence?


8) Sting town 

sting town

A swimmer reaches sting town when he accumulates too much lactate acid in a race that he/she feels so much of a sting that it hurts.

“I reached sting town on that race bro! It hurt so bad.”


9) The grand piano 

grand piano psj final

This is probably the worst feeling you will experience in your swimming life – The upgraded version of sting town and crash and burn, you not only crash and burn, but you crash really bad to the point whereby you feel as though you’re swimming with a grand piano on your back. Times like these you just wish you could dig a hole underwater and just rest there for awhile because you ain’t moving at all. Trust me, it feels BAD.

The grand piano often happens when swimming Butterfly, mainly because Butterfly is one of the toughest strokes to swim.


10) Warm down 


A guilt free pass for swimmers to bounce up and down the pool like dolphins without getting scolded. It’s a pretty amazing feeling.


Hope you guys enjoyed this post and got a clearer idea of our swimmer definitions of these terms! And never be left out when engaging in a conversation with swimmers in the future.


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