BEFORE THE MEET
Bring (LABEL EVERYTHING!)
- BARRACUDAS swim cap and
- Sharpie ®
- Two or more towels
- Folding camp chairs or
- Heat Sheet printed from the team
- Be on time!
Warm-ups begin well before the meet start time.
- Mark your swimmer with a Sharpie! (see
- Swimmers report to
- Stake out deck space for
your seating – at home meets TRACESIDE parents/spectators sit
on the deck area in front or to the left of the poolhouse (the
grass areas next to the baby pool is for the visiting team).
- Check posted heat sheet for your
- Coaches will give instructions
- Team will warm-up
Heat sheets list all the swim
events in order along with the participants in each event, what
heat they are in, what lane each swimmer will occupy, and his/her
previous best time in that event (if the swimmer has competed in
that event before) or it will show "NT" for "No Time." To keep
track of when your swimmer is swimming, it is a good idea to go
through the heat sheet and highlight each of your swimmer’s
Write On Your Swimmer
- In order for the
CLERK-OF-COURSE to identify the swimmers, young swimmers
need to have their name and age on their back and 3
digit ID number on their arm so they can be seen.
- Swimmers don’t have
So how do they keep track of what events they are swimming?
First, write their name on their
back shoulder along with their 3 digit number
Then, each swimmer needs a
grid/chart on their arm (or leg for tiny arms) showing the event
number, the heat number, the lane number, and the stroke/distance
for every race they are going to swim. All this information
is on the Heat Sheet.
Using a waterproof marker
(Sharpie®), write four column headings on your swimmer’s
arm: E, H, L, Stroke
– for Event, Heat, Lane and Stroke respectively.
- Find your swimmer’s name
on the heat sheet. For example, find Paige Andrews in the Sample
Heat Sheet on the left. Notice she is swimming in Event 11 in
Heat 3. The numbers 1-6 correspond to the assigned lane.
Paige is Lane 5. Next to the Event number is the distance and
stroke – 25 Yd Freestyle. She is also swimming in Event
33, Heat 3, Lane 2, in 25 Yd Backstroke.
- Enter the heat sheet information
on your swimmer’s arm under each column.
- Continue filling in the grid
until all of your swimmer’s event information is on the arm
(can be as many as five lines long). Paige’s arm would
E — H — L —
11 — 3 — 5 — 25 Free
33 — 3 — 2 — 25 Back
Be prepared to hear that your
swimmer has “DQ’ed” or
“disqualified.” The people you see walking around
the pool wearing headset, white shirts and blue shorts are
swim officials. One of their jobs is to make sure the
swimmers follow the rules; such as swimmers only are to use dolphin
kicks during butterfly events, that the swimmers actually use the
correct stroke (e.g. no freestyle during a breast stroke event);
that the swimmers swim the entire length of the pool and the turn
correctly, etc. Swimmers who violate any rule for their
stroke are disqualified. This means the swimmer is not eligible for
an award in that event, and their time is not recorded. Hearing
that they have DQ’ed can be really tough news, especially for
a new swimmer. It is appropriate for swimmers to ask their
coach why they were DQ’ed, but it is important for parents
and teammates to support a swimmer and let them know they will do
better next time. Developing swimmers DQ often. It is part of
learning competitive swimming. Remember that ALL swimmers DQ at
some time. Year-round, high school and even collegiate swimmers DQ.
Make it a learning experience, not a season-ender!
Difference Between Event
- An event is the name of the
“race” that a swimmer is entered in.
- Events are identified by a
- Generally, even number events
are boys events and odd numbers are girls.
- The event number is followed by
the stroke/category and age group.
In the NSL Swim League there are six
stroke/categories of events: Freestyle Relay, Medley Relay,
Freestyle, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and Butterfly.
There are seven age groups: 6 & Under or 8 & Under,
7&8, 9&10, 11&12, 13&14, 15-18.
Event 25 Girls 9-10 25 Yard Breaststroke
Event 36 Boys 7-8 25 Yard Backstroke
Many swimmers are entered into each
event. In some cases there may be as many as 30 or more
swimmers competing in the same event. In a six-lane pool,
there is no way to swim all the entries in any event head-to-head
at the same time. Instead the event is broken up into heats.
The number of heats is determined by the number of swimmers and the
number of lanes in the pool. In a six-lane pool, a 30-swimmer
event would be divided into five heats – six swimmers in each
It is important to remember that all swimmers in a single event are
competing against each other. Times for all heats in an event
are tallied together. The fastest time out of all of the
heats wins the event.
6 & Under Freestyle Relays
2. Medley Relays - Each leg of the
relay swims one of the four strokes. The first swimmer swims
backstroke, the second breaststroke, the third butterfly, and the
final swimmer, freestyle.
3. Freestyle events -
Swimmers may swim any stroke, but the stroke most commonly used is
the crawl, which is characterized by alternate overhand motion of
the arms and an alternating (up and down) flutter, or scissor
4. Breaststroke events -
Consists of simultaneous movements of the arms on the same
horizontal plane. The hands are pulled from the breast in a heart
shaped pattern and recovered under or on the surface of the water.
The elbows remain under the surface of the water except at the
finish. The hands cannot be brought beyond the hipline except
the first stroke after the start or turn. The kick is a
simultaneous somewhat circular motion similar to the action of a
frog. On turns and at the finish, the swimmer must touch the
wall with both hands simultaneously, with shoulders in line with
the surface of the water.
5. Backstroke events -
Swimmer must remain on the back with an alternating motion of the
arms with a flutter kick. The swimmer must touch the wall
while on the back. A backstroke flip turn is not allowed in CSRA
6. Butterfly events - Some
consider this to be the most beautiful of the strokes. It
features a simultaneous overhand stroke of the arms combined with
an undulating dolphin kick. In the kick, the swimmer must
keep both legs together and may not flutter, scissor or use the
breaststroke kick. On turns and at the finish, the swimmer
must touch the wall with both hands simultaneously.
7. Individual Medley (IM) events
- Features all four strokes. In the IM, the swimmer begins
with the butterfly, then changes to backstroke, then breaststroke
and finally freestyle.
8. Freestyle Relays - Each
swimmer swims one quarter of the total distance of the event.
Swimmers may swim any stroke they like, although the freestyle
(crawl) is preferred.
NSL Swim League is a “short
course” competition, meaning we swim in 25 Yard or 25 Meter
pools. The swim distances are divided by age
- 25 meters/yards for 10 &
Under age group
- 50 meters/yards for 11 &
older age groups
- Individual events are scored
6-4-3-2-1 (1st = 6 points, 2nd = 4 points, 3rd = 3 points,
- Relays are scored 9-5-3 (1st = 9
points, 2nd = 5 points, 3rd = 2 points)
Ribbons are presented for first
through sixth place finishes. At home meets and each swimmer
receives a Participant Ribbon, regardless of place of finish. Heat
Winner ribbons are also awarded to the fastest swimmer in each
The maximum number of events an individual swimmer may swim per
meet is three individual and two relays.
For more details, see the Constitution and By-Laws at
These documents are reviewed by the league committee every year.