Active.com shared a list of 21 terms commonly used among open water swimmers. Do you know all of them?
Openwaterpedia lists over 1,660 different words and phrases used in the open water swimming world. Like the specialized terms used in running, cycling and triathlon, an experienced triathlete and open water swimmer frequently incorporates these terms in their conversations, and this may confuse someone who is new to the sport.
Besides the standard words such as dolphining, feeding, pacing, positioning and drafting, here are a few lesser known terms:
Alligator eyes: position of the head and eyes of an open water swimmer when he raises his head slightly over the surface of the water and looks forward in order to navigate.
Bioprene: hypodermis or subcutaneous tissue mainly used for fat storage and a natural means to help tolerate cold water (antonym: neoprene).
Beluga (slang): an athlete in the open water swimming community who weighs at least 200 pounds (analogous to a Clydesdale).
Channelversary: the annual recurrence of a date of one’s channel swim.
Cap tan: the division on a swimmer’s forehead between the skin of pronounced paleness relative to the rest of their face that has been suntanned by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation in a pool, outdoors or in the open water.
Directional uncertainty: the lack of certainty about the optimal course or direction to take in an open water swim or triathlon swim leg. It’s a state of having limited knowledge in a dynamic environment where it’s difficult to know the optimal course.
Double capping: simultaneously wearing two swim caps in order to keep warmer in cold water.
Goggle tan: division on a swimmer’s temple and around the eyes between skin of pronounced paleness relative to the rest of their face that has been suntanned by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation in a pool, outdoors or in the open water.
Go to the gear: to grab one’s hand paddles, pull buoys, snorkel, fins and/or kickboards after a hard main set in a pool workout or if the interval is too fast.
GWS drill: sprint and kick like a great white shark is in the water.
Hardening: the process of becoming acclimated to cold water.
Many Wrongs Principle: theory first proposed in 1964 that has implications for open water swimming. The principle predicts that swimmer cohesion can cause packs to navigate more accurately than single athletes making decisions independently. Group navigational accuracy is generally increased with group size and when individual directional uncertainty is high.
Open water hickey: an irritation or wound around the neck caused by chafing or wearing a wetsuit for an extended time while swimming.
Raccoon eyes: an extreme goggle tan where the swimmer’s temple and skin around their eyes is of pronounced paleness relative to the rest of their face that has been suntanned by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation in a pool, outdoors or in the open water.
Remora (slang): a swimmer who leaves right behind another swimmer during interval training set in the pool. It also refers to a swimmer who drafts very closely to another athlete throughout the entire swim. A remora often drafts right off the hip or lower leg, and shifts his position entirely depending on the navigational course of the lead swimmer.
Sand bar: the area of a pool that changes from the deep to shallow end Sluggos: tight-fitting men’s swimwear. Also known as Speedos, swim briefs, togs, bathers, banana hammock, costume, budgie smugglers, trucks.
Swim your age: a feat that requires a swimmer to swim non-stop, without a wetsuit, equal to the same or greater number of kilometers as their age. It’s a difficult metric that becomes increasingly difficult as a swimmer ages.
Tarzan swim:swimming with your head up.
The Certainty of Uncertainty Principle: a fundamental observation that the longer the swimmer is in an open body of water, the greater possibility and increasing probability that (a) adverse conditions will occur to make a swim longer, more difficult or impossible, and (b) marine life will appear.
Whale girth (slang): abdominal obesity, also known as belly fat or love handle.
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