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Swim Meet Tips

Swim Meet Tips!

Swim meets are a great way for kids to get to know other swimmers, challenge themselves, and have fun. We encourage swimmers to focus on their best times no matter where they finish in a race.

Here are some tips to make swim meets successful:

Before the Meet:

  • Review the online meet package. It will indicate the pool address and the sequence of events. These forms can be found at Each club that attends a swim meet is expected to provide timers for races. It is easy, gives you something to do and you get the best view of the pool!
  • Be sure your child has breakfast. Pack plenty of healthy snacks and a waterbottle to maintain your child’s energy throughout the day. Keep sugary snacks and drinks to a minimum. Avoid heavy meals before races. Some snack ideas include fruit, veggies, cheese, crackers, popcorn and yogurt. Most swim meets have a concession where you can buy food, but they do not always have the healthiest choices and it gets expensive.
  • Plan to arrive early—the coaches will send an email about warm up times for each meet. Warm ups help the swimmers get used to the pool and is an important part of team building. The kids will usually do a team cheer and get their bodies and minds ready for the day. Be there at least 15 minutes prior to warm ups.  This gives you time to find a parking spot and set up your spot for the day. We try to be in the same area.
  • If possible, bring an extra cap, suit and goggles in case of wardrobe malfunctions or lost items.
  • Always bring extra towels, at least two.
  • Bring a jacket or sweatshirt with a hood to keep warm between races.
  • Bring books and games for the kids. We discourage kids from using technology as we want them to play and connect with other swimmers, so they will need to have things to keep them busy.
  • Find a spot in the team area and settle in.
  • If you are unsure of any procedures or terminology, please ask the coach or another parent.


During the Meet:

  • Let the coaches focus on the swimmers during meets

The coaches are extremely busy during a meet and need to focus on the athletes. Parents should not plan to have a long conversation with the coach during a meet, especially during races. It is best to email coaches prior to the meet with any questions you may have. Do not approach a coach when they are on the deck during races. If you have questions during a meet, please ask other swim parents. Bluephins families are very willing to help. We were all new at one time!

It is important for your child to check in with the coach a few minutes before every race, and also immediately after the race. This is a very important coach-athlete conversation and you should not try to be a part of it.

  • Your child may need to check in at the marshaling area before their race. Listen for announcements. Once in marshaling, the swimmers are under the guidance of the marshaling volunteers.
  • The heat and lane assignments for each of the events will be posted on heat sheets. These can be purchased at meets or you can use an app called Meet Mobile. Ask other parents to help you navigate heat sheets. We usually have a team heat sheet hanging in the team area for the swimmers to use.
  • It is important to know in which event and in what particular heat your child is racing. The event announcer will broadcast the event and heat on occasion. Sometimes, scoreboards will indicate event and heat number.
  • Sometimes heats are combined. Be aware of this possibility and plan accordingly.
  • If your child has questions, encourage them to ask an older teammate, or help them to do so. This is a good opportunity for the older swimmers to help the younger ones, and it will build confidence in your child.
  • Cheer for your child and their teammates. Encourage your child to watch and cheer on other swimmers when they race.
  • Scoreboard results are not final official results. The admin officials will post the results as they are finalized. These are usually posted on the walls of the meet’s pool.
  • Make sure that your child has a fun and positive experience. They will be nervous and they do not need extra pressure. It does not matter if they place first or last in their heats. The important thing is that they are trying something new and challenging themselves. Swimmers of all ages and levels can learn from every swim, whether or not they win the race.
  • Resist the urge to tell your child how to swim their races. Please let the coaches, coach. Your ideas may conflict with what the coach has instructed. This is not helpful and it will be confusing for your child.
  • If your child has been put on a relay, please stay for the relay. This is one of the most enjoyable events for swimmers. If one member of the relay team leaves early, three other swimmers are let down. Relay teams get posted in the team tent. Please let your coach know well in advance of the meet if your child is not able to do a relay.

After the Meet:

  • Congratulate your child on a good effort.
  • Resist the urge to critique your child’s swim performance. The coaches will give swimmers feedback.
  • If your child gets a DQ, it means that they made an error in their stroke or turn and they were disqualified from that race, only. Their coaches will talk to them about it. Encourage your child to look at it as a learning experience. Even Olympic swimmers get disqualified sometimes.

Abbreviations you may need to know:

Fr or FREE – Freestyle

Bk or BACK – Backstroke

Br or BREAST – Breaststroke

FLY – Butterfly

IM  – Individual Medley (All four strokes in one race.)

FR – Free relay – all swimmers swim freestyle

MR – Medley relay. Each swimmer swims a different stroke.

PB - Personal Best time

DQ – The swimmer was disqualified

NS – The swimmer did not participate in the event

NT – The swimmer does not have an entry time