All About Meets

Swim meets are a great family experience! They're a place where the whole family can spend time together. Listed below are some very in-depth guidelines geared to help you through your first couple of swim meets. Remember meets are a SDAC team event for parents, swimmers and coaches.

Before the Meet Starts

  • Arrive at the pool at least 15 minutes before the scheduled warm-up time begins.
  • Upon arrival, find a place to put your swimmer's blankets, swim bags and/or sleeping bags. The team usually sits in one place together, so look for some familiar faces.
  • Find the check-in table where your swimmer will need to check in. This is usually around the area marked "Clerk of Course".
  • Check for special posted instructions in the area. Usually one will need to circle the swimmer's name or "#" before each swimmer's name, in each event they are swimming, that day. If this is not done, the swimmer will not be allowed to swim that event. This is done so that the people running the meet know who is actually at the meet.
  • Once "checked in", write each event-number on your swimmer's hand in ink. This helps him/her remember what events he/she is swimming and what event number to listen for.
  • Your swimmer now gets his/her cap and goggles and reports to the pool and/or coach for warm-up instructions. It is very important for all swimmers to warm-up with the team. Swimmer's bodies are just like cars on a cold day-he/she needs to get the engine going and warmed-up before he/she can go all out.
  • After warm-up, your swimmer will go back to the area where his/her towels are and sit there until the next event is called. This is a good time to make sure he/she goes to the bathroom if necessary, gets a drink, or just gets settled in. The meet will usually start about 10-15 minutes after warm-ups are concluded.
  • According to USA Swimming rules (because of insurance purposes), parents are not allowed on deck unless they are serving in an official capacity. Similarly, all questions concerning meet results, an officiating call, or the conduct of a meet, should be referred to SDAC's coaching staff. They, in turn, will pursue the matter through the proper channels.
  • Heat Sheets - A heat sheet is usually available for sale in the lobby or concession area of the pool. Heat sheets generally sell for one to two dollars per day. It lists all swimmers in each event in order of "seed time". When the team entry is sent in, each swimmer and his/her previous best time in that event is listed. If the swimmer is swimming an event for the first time, he/she will be entered as a "no-time" or "NT". A "notime" swimmer will most likely swim in one of the first heats of the event.

The Meet Starts

  • It is important for each swimmer to know what event numbers he/she is swimming (again, why they should have the numbers on their hand). He/she may swim right away after warm-up or they may have to wait awhile.
  • A swimmer’s event number will be called, usually over the loudspeaker, and he/she will be told that the lane assignments are now posted. The swimmer should locate the lane assignments and they will see which heat and lane the swimmer has been assigned to. Swimmers should then see their coach, with his/her cap and goggle in hand, and tell their coach their lane assignment. After seeing their coach, the swimmer should report behind the starting blocks.
  • Before and after each swim:
    • He/she should go immediately to their coach
    • Generally, the coach follows these guidelines when discussing swims:
    • Positive comments or encouragement
    • Suggestions for improvement

Things you, as a parent, can do after each swim:

  • Encourage your child! The coaching staff will be sure to discuss stroke technique and race strategy with them. You need to tell him/her how proud you are.
  • Take him/her back to the towel area and relax.
  • This is another good time to check out the bathrooms, get a drink or something light to eat.
  • The swimmer now waits until his/her next event is called and starts the procedure again.
  • When a swimmer has completed all of his/her events they may go. Make sure, however, your child checks with the coach before leaving to make certain that he/she is not included on a relay. It would not be fair to other swimmers who may have stayed for a relay only to find they are one person short.

What Happens If Your Child Has a Disappointing Swim?

If your child comes up to you and says, "That was a bad race, don't tell me it wasn't," there is nothing wrong with a swimmer negatively evaluating a race. The important thing is for the child not to dwell on it. You should move the swimmer on to something good. "All right, you have had a bad race. How do you think you can do better next time?" Immediately start talking about the positive things.

What to take to the Meet

  • Most important – team swimsuit, SDAC team swim cap and goggles.
  • Baby or talcum powder - to "dust" the inside of swim cap. This helps preserve the cap and makes it easier to put on.
  • Towels - realize your swimmer will be there awhile, so pack at least two.
  • Something to sit on - beach chair, sleeping bag, old blanket, or anything that will be comfortable to sit on. The swimmers will be spending a lot of time on it.
  • Sweats/Warm-up sweats - each swimmer may want to bring two because they can get wet and soggy.
  • Team T-shirts - two or three, again because they can get wet and soggy.
  • Games - travel games, coloring books, books, cards, anything to pass the time.
  • Food - each swimmer is usually allowed to bring a small cooler. It is better to bring snacks. They usually have snack bars at the meet, but the lines are long and most of the time they only sell junk food.
  • A counter, if your swimmer intends to enter any distance events (500 yards +). Please be advised that the distance events are often swum fastest to slowest (opposite of the other events in the meet) and alternate between girls heats and boys heats. Generally, you will be required to provide your own counter and timer for your swimmer. Parents of distance swimmers often help each other out in order to count and time for all the swimmers.

Once you have attended one or two meets this will become routine. Please do not hesitate to ask any other SDAC parent or coach for help or information.

These meets are a lot of fun for the swimmers! He/she gets to visit with his/her friends, play games, and meet kids from other teams. He/she also gets to "race" and see how much he/ she has improved from all the hard work he/she has put in at practice. Meets are fun for parents too. Cheering for your team as well as your own swimmer is a vital part of SDAC swimming.