Here is a simple explanation of some of the terms used in the sport of swimming. See also synchronized swimming terms.
- Negative Splits - When the second half of a race is swum faster than the first half.
- Shave Down - Swimmers commonly shave off excessive body hair just prior to major competitions. This may include all body hair including their head. The reasoning for this is to reduce the very slight drag effect on the swimmer's speed. Even though the physiological effect of this may be slight, the psychological effect of the feeling can be considerable. This practice may be limited now that full body suits are often used.
- Split Times - Split times are the times taken for each individual section (50m, 100m) of a race, or the times of each individual in a relay race.
- Stroke Shortening - As swimmers start to tire, each stroke may become less effective. To compensate for this, they will often increase the frequency of the stroke rate, without increasing overall swimming speed.
- Taper - The taper is an important part of the preparation of swimmers to competition, whereas they modify their training so as to be in peak condition and fresh for their event. It may last from a few days to several weeks.