Swim Meet Survival Guide


If you are new to year round swimming, navigating your first few meets can be a bit tricky. This document will provide some tips and information to help.

Recommended Gear for Swim Meets:


 Indoor Meets 

Swimmers: 2-3 towels, 2 pairs of goggles, 2 Racer Swim Caps, 2 swimsuits, warm-ups/sweats/parka, team t-shirt, water/Gatorade, healthy snacks and games (cards, coloring books, handheld games, book to read).    


Parents: Pen/Pencil, highlighter, Sharpie marker, snacks, drinks and bag chairs (Note: Some facilities have bleachers for spectators and bag chairs may not be necessary.  This information can be found in the meet information for each meet.)

Outdoor Meets 

Swimmers: 2-3 towels, 2 pairs of tinted goggles, 2 Racer Swim Caps, back up swimsuit, team t-shirt, water/Gatorade, healthy snacks, games (cards, coloring books, handheld games, book to read), sunscreen and blanket to sit on 


Parents: Pen/Pencil, highlighter, Sharpie marker, snacks, drinks, bag chairs, battery or generator operated fans and generator and shade tents 


General Information

Concessions: Concessions are normally sold at meets or vending machines are available, but we recommend bringing your own. NO GLASS ALLOWED!


Heat Sheets: A heat sheet is usually available for sale in the lobby or concession area of the pool. Heat sheets generally sell for five to ten dollars per meet. Sometimes, heat sheets will not be provided at the meet, but will be available via email, website, or on mobile applications such as “Meet Mobile”. The heat sheet 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 "no-time" swimmer will most likely swim in one of the first heats of the event. 


Meet Information:   Always be sure to read the meet information when you register for a meet. To find the meet information, login to your Racers account ( and click on the meet.  Important instructions for the meet will be included such as seating restrictions, parking areas, etc. Also, meets are held in sessions by age group and event. Check the meet information to determine the session(s) for your swimmer. The Thursday prior to the meet, check the meet information again. It will often list new meet information such as: the “Psych Sheet” (each event is listed with the swimmers seeded fastest to slowest), a timeline (a projection of how long each event and session will take that includes projected start times for each event) and warm-up lanes and times. The coach may also email this information to you as well.


Clerk of Course: In USA swimming, the Clerk of Course serves a completely different purpose than the Clerk of Course in recreational swimming. In USA and AAU Swimming, the Clerk of Course handles positive check-in, deck entries and scratches. The Clerk of Course does not ensure that swimmers line up and make their races. It is the swimmer’s responsibility to know which races they are swimming and to get to the blocks on time.  Coaches will help less experienced swimmers.


Deck entries and Scratches. There is a limit on the number of events a swimmer can participate in at each meet and during each session. This number varies depending on the meet. The limit for each meet can be found in the meet information. If your swimmer is not swimming the maximum number of swims, you may deck enter your swimmer into an event with coach approval. Deck entries cost a little more and you must pay at the meet directly to the host team. If your swimmer is unable to swim an event, you may scratch ONLY with coach approval. However, you do not get a refund for scratching.


Positive Check-In:  Most of the longer events (400, 500, 1000, 1500, etc.) are limited to a certain number of swimmers and require a positive check-in 30 minutes prior to the start of the meet. When a swimmer who is swimming one of these events arrives at the pool, they must check-in with their coach and the Clerk of Course to ensure positive check-in for the event. If they fail to provide positive check-in, they will lose their spot in the race. Positive check-in is the responsibility of the swimmer. 


Closed Decks: At many meets, parents and other spectators are not allowed on the pool deck. Swimmers may visit or sit with parents in the spectator seating area at these meets. When decks are open, parents may not go behind the blocks with their swimmer.  


Prelims/Finals meets:  Some meets are run as prelims/finals meets. This means that all swimmers participate in the prelims session (usually held in the mornings) and try to qualify for finals (usually held in the late afternoon through early evening). Typically, the top 8 swimmers plus 2 alternates will come back for finals. Sometimes, the top 16 and two alternates will return for finals. If your swimmer qualifies for finals, but you DO NOT plan on swimming finals, you MUST scratch your swimmer within 30 minutes after the prelim results for your race are announced. This is the responsibility of the parent/swimmer, and you must discuss your decision with the coach. Scratches are entered at the Clerk of Course. If you do not scratch and you do not show for finals, your swimmer can be eliminated from the remainder of the meet.  Relays are often swum during finals. If your swimmer doesn’t qualify for finals but is in a relay, you will need to return for the finals session. The Championship meets are run this way as well as a couple of meets through the year.


It is critical for swimmers to check in with coaches before and after each swim. The coaches will provide the swimmers with race strategies and other tips before the race and will provide feedback to the swimmer after the race. 


**Swimmers must attend each SC Championship meet and each LC Championship meet if they qualify. They must also attend all other elite meets for which they qualify, such as Zones, Sectionals, Junior Nationals, etc.  Failure to attend these meets without coach approval will result in a $50 fee. **