Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms


  • Artistic Impression


    An effect, image or feeling retained as a result of a swimmer's routine, covers the three areas of choreography, interpretation of music and manner of presentation.

  • Artistic Impression Score


    The score given by each judge of panel two for: choreography, music interpretation and manner of presentation.

  • B

  • Ballet Leg


    A position where one leg is extended perpendicular to the water surface, with the body in a back layout position.

  • Ballet Leg Double


    A position where the legs are together and extended perpendicular to the water surface, with the face at the surface.

  • Boost


    A rapid, headfirst rise out of the water, aiming to raise as much of the body as possible above the surface.

  • C

  • Cadence Action


    A sequence of identical movements performed one by one by all team members, usually in rapid succession.

  • Combined Spin


    A descending spin of at least 360 degrees followed, without a pause, by an equal ascending spin in the same direction.

  • Continuous Spin


    A descending spin with a rapid rotation of at least 720 degrees, before the heels reach the surface.

  • Crane


    A position where the body is extended in a vertical position with one leg extended forward at a 90-degree angle.

  • D

  • Deck Work


    The mood-setting moves that swimmers perform on the deck once the music starts before they enter the water.

  • Degree of Difficulty


    A weighting applied to a particular figure for scoring purposes in a figure competition.

  • Descending Spin


    A spin of 180 or 360 degrees that starts at the height of the vertical position and is completed as the heels reach the surface.

  • Difficulty

    Complexity of movements, speed of movements, number if figures and hybrids.

  • E

  • Eggbeater


    A rotary action of the legs used to support and propel the upper body in an upright position, leaving the arms free.

  • Execution


    The performance level of the skills demonstrated.

  • F

  • Figure

    A combination of body positions and transitions performed in a prescribed manner.

  • Flamingo

    A position where one leg is extended perpendicular to the surface while the other leg is drawn to the chest, with the lower leg parallel to the surface and the face at the surface.

  • Float

    A surface formation where between two and eight swimmers are connected horizontally.

  • Free Routine

    A routine where the choreography and choice of music is completely free.

  • Full Twist


    A rotation of 360 degrees at sustained height.

  • H

  • Half Twist


    A rotation of 180 degrees at sustained height.

  • Hybrid Figure


    A combination of figure parts, body positions and transitions that come from mixed origin or composition.

  • L

  • Level


    The body's position in relation to the water surface, such as high, medium or low.

  • Lift


    When one or more swimmers gives support to lift another swimmer (or more) above the surface of the water.

  • M

  • Manner of Presentation

    The total command of a swimmer's performance as she presents it to the audience.

  • P

  • Pattern


    A formation made by the spatial relationship between the members of a team.

  • Pool Pattern


    The path a swimmer takes through the water.

  • Propulsion Technique

    The way a swimmer uses her arms, legs or both to move through the water; a driving force.

  • R

  • Required Elements


    Eight to ten fixed figures or other requirements which must be performed by all participants in a Technical Routine session.

  • Reverse Combined Spin


    An ascending spin of at least 360 degrees followed without a pause by an equal descending spin in the same direction.

  • Risk Factor


    The use of a difficult action in which an error in execution may cause a near disaster.

  • Rocket Split


    A move involving a thrust to the vertical position, followed by a rapid leg split before returning to the vertical position at maximum height.

  • Routine


    A composition of strokes, figures and parts thereof, choreographed to music. It is judged on both technical merit and artistic impression.

  • S

  • Scull


    A movement of the hands designed to apply continuous pressure against the water to propel, balance and support the body.

  • Spin


    An ascending or descending rotation in a vertical position, performed in a uniform motion unless otherwise specified.

  • Split


    A position where the legs are split evenly forward and back, with the feet and thighs at the surface while the lower back is arched and the hips, shoulders and head are in a vertical line in the water.

  • T

  • Technical Merit


    The level of excellence demonstrated by the swimmers' mastery of highly specialized skills.

  • Technical Merit Score


    The score given by each judge in panel one for execution, synchronization and difficulty.

  • Technical Routine


    A routine which contains required elements woven into the choreography. Competitors are free to choose the music they perform to.
    Thrust: A move that starts from a back pike position with the legs perpendicular to the surface and involves a rapid vertical upward movement of the legs and hips as the body unrolls to assume the vertical position.

  • Twirl

    A rapid twist of 180 degrees.

  • Twist

    A rotation at sustained height.

  • Twist Spin

    A move that involves a half-twist followed, without a pause, by a continuous spin.

  • V

  • Vertical Position


    A position where the body is extended, with face, chest, thighs and feet at the surface.

  • W

  • Walkout Front


    A move where, starting in the split position, the front leg is lifted in a 180-degree arc over the surface to meet the other leg in a surface-arch position, and with continuous movement an arch to back layout is executed.