1st Meet Guide

Everything You Wanted to Know About Swim Meets

Swim meets are a great family experience! They are a place where the whole family can spend time together. Listed below are in ­depth guidelines geared to help you through your first couple of swim meets. It may seem a little over­whelming, but we tried to be as detailed and specific as possible.

Swim Meet Procedures

  1. Arrive at the pool thirty minutes prior to the scheduled warm­up time, and locate the RMT team area where all team members sit. The meet warm­up time is listed in the meet information, as well as in emails sent by the team.  We ask that all swimmers sit in the team area. When rules for a closed deck do not prohibit it parents are welcomed to also sit in the team area.
  2. Obtain a heat sheet, and check to see if your swimmer is properly entered in all events. If there is a mistake, dis­cuss it with your swimmer’s coach so corrective action can be taken if appropriate.
  3. Warm­ups are always conducted by the RMT coaching staff.
It is very important for all swimmers to warm­up with the team. Swimmers’ bodies are just like cars on a cold day - they need to get the engine going and warmed up before they can go all out in a race.
  1. All RMT swimmers are expected to wear the team suit and RMT team cap during both warm­ups and actual com­petition. Swimmers also are asked to wear their team t­shirts. All other team apparel is optional. However, wearing the complete team uniform promotes team unity and pride.
  2. Each swimmer is responsible for knowing which events s/he is swimming and for being on time to swim his/her event. It is customary to write event numbers, heat and lane assignments on a swimmer’s hand, arm, or leg.
  3. Younger swimmers are expected to go immediately to their coach at the conclusion of each race. Older swimmers should warm down first, if possible, and then see their coach. The coach discusses the race with each swimmer indi­vidually and gives positive comments concerning splits, stroke technique, and race strategy.
  4. Electronic timing is used at most meets. Generally, the official time is the one recorded in the computer when the swimmer touches the touch pad. This time appears on the scoreboard. However, if a swimmer misses the touch pad, or if there is a mechanical failure, various back­up times may be used. The timing and score keeping personnel ana­lyze all times to determine the official times, which are then posted as final results.
  5. NOTE: According to USA Swimming rules, parents are not allowed in the immediate competition venue 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 the RMT coaching staff. They, in turn, will pursue the matter through the proper channels.
  6. In between races, swimmers are asked to rest and stay warm. All energy should be stored up and used in compe­tition. If swimmers must eat, a light, nutritious snack is recommended.
  7. It is very important that parents and/or swimmers check with the coaching staff prior to leaving the swim meet, making certain that their swimmer has not been placed on a relay.


  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 arm). He/she may swim right away after warm-up or they may have to wait awhile.
  2. 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.
  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.
    • Depending on the coaches instructions, the swimmer may be asked to do some recovery swimming if a "warm down" pool or lanes are available.
    • The swimmer should then go immediately to his or her coach. The coach will discuss the swim with each swimmer. Some coaches may wish to talk with the swimmer before her recovery swim.
  5. Generally, the coach follows these guidelines when discussing swims:
    • Positive comments or praise
    • Suggestions for improvement
    • Positive comments
  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 check out the bathrooms, get a drink or something light to eat.
  7. The swimmer now waits until his next event is called and starts the procedure again.  While swimmers are not swimming, they should rest and sit with their team. Swimmers can pass the time between events with games, reading, homework, etc.  Ipods,ipads and phones are NOT the best thing to bring to a meet, they can be very distracting.  It’s important that they are not wandering the facility, as they risk missing their next event.  Events will proceed whether the swimmer is present or not.  And the swimmer is charged, whether they compete or not. So it’s important for them to be nearby and ready when their event time arrives.  Parents will need to keep track of the events and make sure their child is ready at the right time.  The team will have swimmers competing in practically every event, therefore the coaches remain on the side of the pool during the meet to support and encourage those swimmers currently in the water.  The coaches cannot track down swimmers.  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.

A note about disqualifications

Inevitably there are new swimmers who will DQ (disqualify) in every event!  It happens. If your child is disqualified in an event, be supportive rather than critical.  Encourage your swimmer by letting them know you are proud of them regardless of the DQ.  For beginning swimmers, a disqualification should be treated as a learning experience, not as a punishment. A disqualification alerts the swimmer and coach to what portions of the swimmer's stroke need to be corrected. They should be considered in the same light as an incorrect answer in schoolwork-they point out areas that need further practice. Disqualifications are necessary to keep the competition fair and equitable for all competitors. A supportive attitude on the part of the official, coach, and parent can make a positive situation out of the disqualification.
Trained officials observe the swimmers during each event to ensure compliance with the technical rules of swimming. If a swimmer commits an infraction of the rules that is observed by an official, a disqualification (DQ) will result. This means that the swimmer will not receive an official time and will not be eligible for an award in that event. A disqualification may result from actions such as not getting to the starting blocks on time, false starting, performing strokes in an illegal manner, or unsportsman­like conduct. 
DQs are also a result of technical rules violations. They include but are not limited to:  
  • Freestyle: Walking on the bottom, pulling on the lane rope, not touching the wall on a turn, or not completing the distance.
  • Backstroke: Pulling or kicking into the wall once a swimmer has turned passed the vertical onto the breast. Turning onto the breast before touching the wall with the hand at the finish of the race.
  • Breaststroke: An illegal kick such as flutter (freestyle), dolphin (butterfly), or scissors (side stroke); not on the breast; alternating movements of the arms; taking two arm strokes or two leg kicks while the head is under water; touching with only one hand at the turns or finish. 
  • Butterfly: Alternating movements of the arms or legs; pushing the arms forward under instead of over the water surface (underwater recovery); a breaststroke style of kick; touching with only one hand at the turns or finish.
For specific language on any technical rules consult the USA Swimming Rules and Regulations book. Violations of the rules are reported to the Referee.

What to Bring to a Meet Note:

Be sure to put your swimmer’s name on all belongings and equipment!
1. Team swimsuit
2. Team swim cap
3. (2) pairs of goggles
4. RMT team t­shirt
5. (2) towels, minimum
6. Old blanket or sleeping bag
8. Food - nutritious snacks (check out some great nutrition articles posted on the RMT website (
9. Reusable water bottle
10. Sun screen
11. Folding chair

Example Heat Sheet and How to Mark E/H/L/S on Your Swimmer's Arm

Once you and your swimmer have attended one or two meets, this will become routine. Please do not hesitate to ask any veteran parent on the team for help or for information. These meets are a lot of fun for the swimmers! They get to visit with friends, play games, and meet swimmers from all RMT locations and from other teams. Swimmers get to “race” and see how much they have improved from all the work they have put into practice.