In general, there are four levels of swim meets:
Seasonal League Meets:
These are meets designed for entry level swimmers. They are designed to be short and offer three or four events (always 25’s and 50’s) and sometimes a relay at the end of the meet. If you’ve never swam in a meet before, this meet is for you! These meets are held at either the Trousdell Pool, Myers Park (Wade Wehunt Pool), or Jack McLean Pool, depending on the season. There are no entry fees. For these meets, you will either use the sign-up board and circle your name and the strokes you want to swim or your swimmer will receive an entry form in their folder with an explanation as to when and where to turn in their entries Your coach will announce when the board is up for a particular meet and when the deadline for circling your name is due. How the swimmers register depends, again, on the season we are currently swimming in. Parents..If you are not timing, please have a "Heat Sheet" (available at the meets) so you can help the coaches by letting your swimmer know when to report for their events.
These are slightly larger meets held on Saturday mornings. These meets are around two and a half to three hours long and offer several events, including some longer ones. These meets are perfect for those swimmers who are comfortable swimming with a larger crowd. For these meets, you will have to fill out a meet entry form (will be placed in your swimmers’ folders) and return it to the Meet Entry Box in the Team Room (located near the water fountains at Trousdell Pool). If you are at a pool other than Trousdell Pool, your coach will inform you about how they want to collect this information. ATAC parent volunteer timers are critical for these meets and it is extremely easy so please answer the call when it is announced for volunteer timers. You also work withy a partner and there are back-up timers so it is not the end of the world if you make a mistake…..it’s covered.
These meets are exactly what the name indicates; they are multi-team swim meets either hosted by ATAC or another United States Swimming club that has "invited" to ATAC to attend. ATAC hosts two major Invitationals each year; The Summer Long Course (50 meter pool) in June and the Winter Short Course (25 yard pool) at the end of January. ATAC attends a variety of invitationals throughout the year and would like as many swimmers to attend these meets as possible since we want to always represent Tallahassee well especially to teams that may make a trip to our invitationals for the great competition we provide. Designated TEAM MEETS on the ATAC schedule are strongly emphasized to attend. These meets normally are either two or three day meets spanning a weekend. We encourage swimmers to attend as many of these meets as possible (Team Meets especially) since they play a very important part in their development as benchmarks for the coaches and swimmers on their progress and training needs. All levels of swimmers are encouraged to attend Invitationals. They are extremely beneficial for young swimmers in their overall development as a competitive swimmer. They are also a great social event for both the swimmers and parents. Team dinners and planned entertainment when possible is all part of the experience. Once you try one you’ll wonder why it took you so long to make the decision and will want to know when the next one is!! Entry forms will be placed in each swimmer’s folder with the appropriate details and entry deadline information.
These meets are held at the end of a season (like at the end of the summer or winter). They are large, fast meets where "qualifying times" are necessary in order to enter the meet (qualifying times are attained through competing in sanctioned meets up to that time. Again, this reflects the importance of attending as many meets as possible during the year).
For these meets, you will have to fill out a meet entry form and return it to the Meet Entry Box in the Team Room (located near the water fountains). Your coaches will let you know when the entry form is either available in your Swimmer File Folder or when they will be passed out. Swimmers swimming at pools other than Trousdell Pool will turn their entries into their coach by the deadline he or she sets up for your pool
How We Compete
Swimmers compete in age groups separated by gender. When you see "U" as in 10&U, it means "under" as in swimmers 10 years-old and under (younger) may compete in that event. At meets, we compete in heats because we only use eight lanes at a time. If we have sixteen 10&U girls who want to swim the 50 freestyle, we can only have eight of them swim at a time. The first eight will swim in heat one, the second eight will swim in heat two.
A "Heat Sheet" is the swimming term for a program. It lists all of the events and who is swimming in each event. It also shows the heat, lane, age and current time for that swimmer. By looking at the heat sheet (it takes some time to learn how to read it) your coach can tell your swimmer "You are in event #3, 25 Freestyle, Heat 2, Lane 4, your old time was 27.5 seconds, let’s try to get a best time today!"
What to Bring to Meets
ATAC team suit, ATAC team cap and your favorite pair of goggles. ATAC Team uniform shirts At least TWO towels (they get soaking wet) Sunscreen, possibly a hat and light clothing to hide from the sun and chairs parents Small snacks (grapes, teddy grahams, granola bar) and lots of fluids (water, sports drink) A highlighter to highlight your name in the heat sheet and pen/maker Always, always, always have extras of EVERYTHING because you just never know!
First and foremost, show up ON TIME for warm-up. Swimmers who show up late are often disoriented and overwhelmed with everything that’s going on and at the site of so many swimmers in the pool! You may also miss some important announcements, stretches, and key points to warm-up that could have you swim faster later in the day.
When you get to the pool, look around to see where your team is sitting and go sit with them. Make sure you’re all settled and ready to go when your coach calls your group. We usually stretch in our groups, swim a short warm-up (just a few laps) and practice some dives. After warm-up you have some time to sit with your team or talk to your coach about your races. Find a heat sheet and highlight your name!
The starters will call for volunteers just before the meet begins. We need a total of 16 timers in order to run a meet (two per lane). Swim meets are not possible without the help of our parent volunteers so please help if you can (both for in-town and out-of-town meets)! It’s an easy job and you get a front row seat to the action!
Your coach will let you know where you should be throughout the meet. It’s usually best to stay in the area where the rest of the team is sitting. You are responsible for making it to the starting block on time on your own. However, your coaches will be around the pool deck to guide you and it’s always a good idea to talk to your coach before and after your race.
Before you leave ask if you are on a relay! We want all swimmers to participate in relays if possible – they add points for the team and create a great TEAM experience! If you are places on a relay and leave early, the other three swimmers in your relay can’t swim their race.
Meet Etiquette for Parents
Support your swimmer. We can’t express that enough! They are doing the best they can and they’re trying they’re hardest to please everyone! Sometimes it’s hard, but let the coaches do the coaching while you give the love and support. If you have questions or concerns about your swimmer’s race feel free to talk to his or her coach about it and we’ll work together to figure things out. Support other swimmers. Every swimmer out there loves to hear a positive comment from someone other than their parent and coach – it means someone new noticed how great they are! Volunteer. Again, meets are not possible without parent volunteers – if your swimmer is comfortable at meets, please volunteer to time – you can still watch them swim!
Meet Etiquette for Swimmers
Support your fellow teammates. Cheer for them and they will cheer for you – show everyone how proud you are to be a part of ATAC and to have these swimmers as your teammates! Support swimmers from other teams. A mature swimmer congratulates other swimmers after a race, no matter who won. We want other teams to recognize the excellent sportsmanship ATAC promotes and we want them also to be able to say "Wow, those ATAC swimmers are not only fast, they’re nice too!" Swim in relays. Relays are a chance for everyone to swim together as a team – they are important and a lot of fun! See your coach. Talk to your coach before and after each race. We are there for you and just might have some useful things to say. Thank your parents. Your parents woke up awfully early to drive you to a meet and then sat in the sun all day, just for you. Say thank you!
Swim Meet Attire
We would like to see all ATAC swimmers wearing ATAC apparel. When you are in the water, we want everyone to know what team you swim for! Girls and boys should wear ATAC caps and ATAC bathing suits. These can be found at Total Team Wares only. ATAC t-shirts will be on sale during practice sometime in the near future - dates will be announced and flyers will be posted around the pool beforehand.
Tip: Wear your cheaper suits and caps to practice and save team attire for swim meets only.
At Meets, our T-shirt colors are: FRIDAYS (Gold), SATURDAYS (Maroon), SUNDAYS (White). Of course, if you don't have but one shirt, that's the shirt to wear!
We hope this helps,
THE ATAC COACHING STAFF
To learn more about Meets, contact ATAC today!