Swimming Language – California

Folklore: Swimming “language”

One thing you ‘just know’ from swimming is the swimming ‘language’. Such as my friends would say to me “today we did 5 2’s and ten 1’s. Then we did 50’s on the 45. It was easy.”


Well, the numbers represent certain things like time and distance and difficulty. We have been doing it forever. This ‘swimming language’ has always been around and most swimmers know it. We use this language in and out of the pool, usually just when talking about swimming, or when comparing something to swimming. We do it because it is like a shorter way of saying things, like how the Hawaiians and beach bums talk in Pigeon. Also, we use it because we can tell who is a swimmer and who is not. Only swimmers understand what we are saying.

My Analysis:

These numbers are similar to Jen’s example of swimming lingo, except with a little variation. Amanda explains how frequently this language occurs and how indecipherable it is to non-swimmers. It becomes a natural form of conversation among athletes, and a measure of strength or easiness of the swim.  It can also be used as a measure of comparison to gauge the physical adequacy of a swimmer.