Swimming Styles And Equipment

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Swimming is more than just a sport or a leisure activity; it's a language of its own. If you're learning English and have an interest in swimming, this guide is for you. Here, we will explore various swimming words that will enrich your vocabulary and make you feel right at home at the pool.

Dive into Swimming Styles and Equipment: A Vocabulary Guide


Before diving headfirst into the vast ocean of swimming, it's essential to acquaint oneself with the foundational swimming words. The basics are the building blocks that support every swimmer's journey from novice to expert.

Equipment and Apparel

Every sport has its gear, and swimming is no exception. Just as words dress our sentences, equipment and apparel adorn a swimmer. Let's dive into the essential attire and tools that make swimming both functional and fashionable.

  • Swimsuit: an item of clothing worn for swimming; comes in various designs for men, women, and children.
  • Goggles: eyewear to protect swimmers' eyes from chlorine and improve underwater vision.
  • Swim cap: a tight-fitting cap, usually made of silicone or latex, worn to protect the hair and reduce drag.
  • Kickboard: a flotation device used to isolate leg movements during training.
  • Fins: footwear that swimmers wear to add propulsion to their kicks.
  • Nose clip: a device that fits on the nose to prevent water from entering the nostrils.
  • Pull buoy: a flotation device held between the thighs to isolate arm movements during training.
  • Hand paddles: flat devices worn on hands to increase resistance and strengthen the arm pull.
  • Earplugs: inserted in the ears to prevent water from entering and causing infections.
  • Swim bag: a bag designed to carry swim gear and essentials.

Now equipped with the right terms, you can discuss swimming gear with ease. Remember, every piece of equipment has its purpose, just like every word in a sentence.

Pool Features

A swimming pool is a symphony of features, each playing its distinct role. To truly understand the realm of swimming, one must be familiar with the intricacies of the pool environment.

  • Lane: a section of the pool marked by ropes where swimmers practice or race.
  • Starting block: a platform at the end of a pool lane used for diving starts in races.
  • Deep end: the portion of the pool with the greatest depth.
  • Shallow end: the portion of the pool with minimal depth; suitable for beginners or resting.
  • Lifeguard: a trained professional responsible for ensuring the safety of swimmers.
  • Diving board: a spring-loaded platform by the pool for divers to jump from.
  • Tumble turn: another name for the flip turn, mainly used in freestyle and backstroke.
  • Drain: the outlet used to remove water from the pool.
  • Pool ladder: a series of steps on the side of the pool, assisting swimmers in getting in and out.
  • Deck: the area around the pool where swimmers and spectators can walk or sit.

With these new swimming words, you've explored the heart of a swimmer's domain. Just as a setting gives context to a story, understanding pool features provides context to swimming discussions. Immerse yourself in conversations, and these terms will be your compass, guiding you through every aquatic chat.

Techniques and Swimming Stroke Names

Each swimming stroke is a unique blend of rhythm, movement, and technique. To discuss swimming effectively, a grasp of varied swimming stroke names and techniques is essential. 

Popular Swimming Strokes

The beauty of swimming lies in its diverse strokes, each with its rhythm and flair. Like the varied accents in a language, each stroke offers a unique way to move through the water. Delve into these swimming styles to uncover the art of aquatic motion.

  • Freestyle: a swimming style where you rotate your arms forward and flutter kick with your legs.
  • Breaststroke: you push your arms forward and then sweep them outwards, while doing a frog kick.
  • Backstroke: similar to freestyle but performed on the back; the arms rotate backward, and the legs perform a flutter kick.
  • Butterfly: both arms move simultaneously in a windmill motion; it requires a dolphin kick.
  • Dog paddle: a basic, instinctual swim technique where arms and legs move simultaneously, resembling how a dog swims.
  • Sidestroke: a type of swimming stroke where the swimmer lies on their side, with one arm extended out in front and the other arm at their side. The legs execute a scissor-like kick, and the arms perform a sweeping motion, one pulling while the other recovers. 
  • Combat sidestroke: a variation of the sidestroke used by military personnel, optimized for efficiency.
  • Elementary backstroke: a simplified form of the backstroke with a more relaxed kick and arm motion.
  • Sculling: a type of swimming technique where the hands move in figure-eight patterns to keep the swimmer's head above water.
  • Treading water: a method of staying afloat using coordinated arm and leg movements.

You've now tasted the linguistic essence of swimming styles. Each stroke you've learned adds a new layer to your aquatic vocabulary. Engage in conversations, and let these terms paint vivid strokes in your swimming dialogues.

Common Techniques

Behind every graceful swimmer is a repertoire of refined techniques. These are the unseen nuances, the grammar behind the language of swimming. Equip yourself with these terms to delve deeper into the mechanics of the sport.

  • Flip turn: a technique where you somersault underwater at the wall to change directions quickly.
  • Streamline: extending your body in a straight line from fingertips to toes to reduce resistance in the water.
  • Pull: the part of a stroke where you use your arms to propel yourself forward.
  • Kick: the leg movement used to propel yourself in the water.
  • Breathing technique: how and when you inhale and exhale while swimming.
  • Catch: the initial part of the pull where the hand first catches the water.
  • Glide: moving through the water with minimal resistance, typically after a push-off from the wall.
  • Bilateral breathing: a technique of breathing alternately on both sides in freestyle.
  • Wall touch: the action of touching the pool wall, usually signaling the end of a lap or race.
  • Drafting: swimming closely behind another swimmer to take advantage of reduced water resistance.

With a grasp of these swimming styles and techniques, you've unlocked a new dimension in swimming conversations. Just as grammar refines language, these techniques refine a swimmer's journey. Embrace these terms, and they'll propel your swimming discussions to new depths.


Swimming Activities and Events

Swimming is more than a solo endeavor; it's a world filled with diverse events and activities. As you dive into the language of swimming, understanding these activities will enrich your conversational depth. This section offers a glimpse into the spectrum of aquatic pursuits and their accompanying terminology.

Types of Swimming Activities

Beyond the pool's lanes lies a world bursting with varied swimming activities. Each activity tells a story, an aquatic chapter in the vast book of swimming. Dive into these terms and discover the myriad ways people enjoy the water.

  • Lap swimming: swimming back and forth in a lane for exercise or practice.
  • Water aerobics: a fitness class conducted in the pool, combining swimming and aerobics.
  • Open water swimming: swimming in natural bodies of water, like oceans, lakes, or rivers.
  • Diving: jumping or falling into water from a platform or springboard, sometimes while performing acrobatics.
  • Synchronized swimming: a sport where swimmers perform coordinated movements to music.
  • Water polo: a team sport played in water where teams attempt to score by throwing a ball into the opponent's goal.
  • Snorkeling: swimming at the surface, typically in open water, using a snorkel and often fins.
  • Water ballet: a predecessor to synchronized swimming, focusing on artistry rather than athleticism.
  • Swim clinic: a training session or series focusing on improving technique and performance.

You've now navigated the diverse landscape of swimming activities. Each term you've learned adds a splash of color to your aquatic vocabulary palette. Use them, and watch your conversations about swimming come alive with vivid imagery.

Competitive Events

Competition is the heart of many sports, and swimming is no different. These events are where technique, speed, and spirit converge. Equip yourself with these terms and dive into the exhilarating world of competitive swimming.

  • Swim meet: an organized competition where swimmers race against each other.
  • Relay: a race where each member of a team swims a portion of the total distance.
  • Heat: a preliminary race to qualify for a final race.
  • Medley: a race in which you swim different strokes in a specific order.
  • Marathon swim: a long-distance race, usually in open water.
  • Freestyle relay: a relay race where each team member swims freestyle.
  • IM (Individual Medley): a race where a swimmer swims all four swimming strokes in a specific order.
  • Time trial: an event where swimmers race individually against the clock to record a time.
  • False start: an infraction where a swimmer starts before the official signal.
  • Age group swimming: competitive swimming categorized by age groups, typically for younger swimmers.

With these terms under your belt, you're ready to discuss the thrill of swimming races. Engage in discussions, and let these terms be your ticket to the thrilling arena of swimming competitions.


Understanding the language of swimming can deepen your appreciation of the sport and help you navigate conversations around the pool. Whether you're just starting out or looking to refine your knowledge, this guide provides a foundational vocabulary

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