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Swim Meet 101

At the Swim Meet:

Each swim meet format, time-line, entry costs and competition level are different, but the following are some basic guidelines for swim meets.

1. Know in advance what events you are swimming at the meet. These will be posted at the meet and usually are e-mailed a few days prior to the meet.

2. Know what time warm-up starts for your age group. This is usually e-mailed as well

3. Arrive early so you are on time. This will ensure you have a good seat for viewing your swimmer. If you arrive on time you will be late.

4. This is a good time to write the Events/Heat/Lane on your child’s forearm with the sharpie. Using a sharpie, mark a grid on your swimmer’s arm using the below abbreviations.

E=Event, H=Heat, L=lane, S=Stroke, FR=Freestyle, BK=Back, BR=Breaststroke, FL=Fly

For example:


1 2 3 50 FR

7 1 4 50 FL

5. Parents and swimmers should try to sit together as a team. Parents should purchase a Heat Sheet ($1-$5) and check it for heat and lane assignments for each of their swimmer’s events.

6. Parents should be encouraging of their swimmers, but please leave the coaching to the coaches.

7. Swimmers should always ask their coach whether they will be on a relay team. At most meets, the relays are the first events, so swimmers should be ready to swim immediately following the warm-up.

8. All swimmers should have their swimsuit, cap and goggles ready. A back up pair of goggles and an extra swim cap is necessary to keep in swimmer’s bag.

9. After warm-up and between races, swimmers should put on warm clothes over their swimsuit. It is also important to wear shoes and socks to avoid losing body heat and energy.

10. Stay away from junk food. It’s better to eat bagels, fruit, energy bars, etc. Stay hydrated: drink lots of water, Gatorade, Power-Aide, etc.

11. Stay away from energy drinks and caffeinated beverages that contain diuretics.

12. Swim meets can move along very quickly sometimes. It is very important to pay attention to what event and heat number is being swum. Swimmers should be behind the blocks or in the bullpen, ready to swim, a few heats before the one they will be swimming. Timelines are posted, but they are estimates only. Listen to the announcer and check the heat sheet often.

13. At some Senior-level and Championship meets, swimmers who miss a scheduled race may be penalized by not being permitted to swim in subsequent events at that same meet. At

Challenge meets, a swimmer that misses his/her race is not penalized and sometimes will be allowed by the Meet Referee to swim in another heat.

14. Results for the meet are usually posted at the pool during the meet. The YJSST Secretary will post meet results to the team website within one week of completion of the meet.

15. Awards are picked up at the end of the meet by the coaches and are distributed during practice the following week. Normally, only 1st -6th place in each division receives a ribbon. Keep in mind that there are multiple heats in each event and while what place the swimmer finishes in his/her heat is significant, it probably will not correspond to what place ribbon he/she will receive. Try to help your young swimmer to keep this in perspective. They may swim a meet and not receive any ribbons. Place emphasis on the improvement by the swimmer, not what place in the race they finish.

What to bring to a swim meet

1. Chairs (depending on venue)

2. Several towels

3. Extra goggles (Racing goggles should be tighter than those worn at practice. If the meet is at an outside pool, use dark tinted goggles).

4. Warm clothing, sweats, parka, shoes and socks.

5. Water bottle, healthy snacks

6. Book, cards, small games etc. for long waits between races

7. Positive attitude and your game face

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