Expectations On How To Approach Swim Meets

With the summer schedule ahead of us, the Amberjax coaching staff wants to provide some of our expectations with regards to preparing for swim meets. Swim meets are a great family experience. They're a place where the whole family can spend time together as well as presenting an opportunity for your swimmer to compete against other swimmers and the clock.

Listed below are some very in-depth guidelines geared to help you through your meet experience. It may seem a little overwhelming, but we tried to be as specific and as detailed as we possibly could. If you have any questions, please ask your coach.


  1. Arrive at the pool at least 15 minutes before the scheduled warm-up time begins. This time will be listed in the meet information handed out to all swimmers and also should be on the team website. Please prepare accordingly and BE ON TIME FOR WARM-UP.
  2. 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.
  3. Make sure your swimmer checks in with his or her coach. After checking-in, you can find heat and lane assignments by purchasing a program.
  4. Once "checked in", write or have the swimmers write each event-number on his or her hand in ink. This helps him/her remember what events he/she is swimming and what event number to listen or watch 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. A swimmer's body is just like a car on a cold day-he/she needs to get the engine going and warmed-up before he/she can go all out.

It is also the coach’s time to get the swimmers ready with as little distraction as possible so please wait until after warm-up to talk to your child or to the coaches. The coaches are focused on getting your child ready to swim plus more than likely trying to figure out who is in attendance to put together relays. Please do not disturb them unless it is an emergency.

Warm-up is a great opportunity for the new families to get together with the experienced ones. Experienced families that have been involved with year-round swimming can answer many of the questions new parents may have.

  1. After warm-up, your swimmer will go back to the area where his/her team is sitting and wait there until his first 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.
  2. The meet will usually start about 10-15 minutes after warm-ups are over.
  3. 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 a coach. He or she in turn, will pursue the matter through the proper channels.
  4. Psych Sheet or Heat Sheets. A psyche sheet is usually available for sale in the lobby or concession area of the pool. 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 (up to the date that the entry was submitted) 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 "no-time" swimmer will most likely swim in one of the first heats of the event. A Heat sheet may be available close to the start of the meet that lists the actual heat and lane a swimmer will be competing in.


  1. It is important for any 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.
  2. Most meets are computerized. There are generally two ways a swimmer gets to his/her lane:
    • A swimmer usually reports directly to his/her lane for competition a number of heats before he/she actually swims. Check with your swimmer's coach for specific instructions. As the swimmer’s heat gets ready to go, you will hear a series of three short whistles indicating the swimmer should be ready to get ready and then one long whistle signaling the swimmers to get up on the block.
  3. The swimmer swims his or her race.
  4. After each swim:
    • He/she is to ask the timers (people behind the blocks at each lane) his/her time.
    • The swimmer should warm-down immediately after their race in the "warm down" pool or if lanes are available. Warming down is crucial and the swimmer should swim down at least double of what their race was. For example, if you swam a 200 freestyle you should be warming down at least a 400. If you do not warm-down properly, your performances for the rest of your meet are affected.
    • The swimmer should then go immediately to his or her coach. The coach will discuss the swim with each swimmer.
  5. Generally, the coach follows these guidelines when discussing swims:
    • Positive comments or praise
    • Suggestions for improvement
  6. Things you, as a parent, can do after each swim:
    • Tell him how great he did! The coaching staff will be sure to discuss stroke technique with him. You need to tell him how proud you are and what a great job he did.
    • Take him back to the team area and relax.
    • This is another good time to go to the bathroom, get a drink or something light to eat that is healthy and will provide energy. Avoid soda and candy as they provide little to no nutritional value.
  7. The swimmer now waits until his next event is called and starts the procedure again. When a swimmer has completed all of her events she and her parents get to go home. Make sure, however, you, as a parent, check with the coach before leaving to make sure your swimmer is not included on a relay. It is not fair to other swimmers who may have stayed to swim on a relay where your swimmer is expect­ed to be a member and she is not there.
  8. Results are usually posted somewhere in the facility. Awards are often gathered for a team and given to the coach at the end of the meet. The coach will give the awards to the swimmers at a later time.

Best of luck to everyone as we get ready for a summer of fast swimming!