Meets 101


First Colony Swim Team (FCST) is a competitive swim team and it is expected that most of our swimmers will compete in USA Swimming meets sometime during the year. Competition is what makes this sport fun. In addition, meets are often where our swimmers are able to have some fun time with their friends, and make new friends as well.

There are TWO types of USA Swimming meets:

  1. Open Meets – These meets are open to all swimmers, regardless of how fast they may be. As a New USA Swimming swimmer, you should attend the Open meet at the beginning of the season. For the Gulf Open 2017 Long Course Eligibility Criteria CLICK HERE.  

  2. Qualifying Meets – To enter these meets you must have a qualifying time in at least one event. Sometimes you will need to be able to swim faster than the qualifying time to enter a meet, and sometimes your best time will need to be slower than the qualifying time. The meet invitation will specify this, and you can always ask your coach if you have questions. If you see something such as “BB & Under” or “A Meet” in the title of the meet, then this indicates a qualifying meet. There are also other types of qualifying meets. This is explained in greater detail on the FCST website.


Special Note for Parents of White & Red Group Swimmers:

When are they ready to compete? Swimmers need to compete at meets that foster a positive environment for their skill level. There should be a natural growth in competing, starting with our Developmental meets and progressing to local USA Swimming meets, and then to more competitive USA Swimming meets that may be a longer distance away.

Some of our Developmental meets take place in our practice pools and are slightly longer than a normal practice session. These meets provide a competitive experience and some practice in basic “meet skills” (starting from the blocks with a buzzer, and other meet behavior).

Does the information that follows on attending meets apply to your swimmer? Please read it over – preparation for meets is useful no matter whether you are attending a Developmental meet or one farther away. Developmental meets won’t have quite the same requirements, but it will be similar


Helpful Meet Information/Procedures Documents:

Meet FAQs:

How often do meets occur? While there are meets almost every weekend during the season, your swimmer will only attend about one per month. This is because there are a variety of meets during the season – some are for different age groups, some are for different levels of ability. The meet schedule posted on our website has all the available meets listed, but each swimmer will only attend a few.

How do I know which meets my child will attend? At the beginning of the season the coaching staff will publish the “Opt In/Out” Form. This form will list only meets that your swimmer’s group will be participating in for the given season. You will choose meets to attend by “opting in”. If you have any questions about your individual swimmer and meet attendance, please talk with your coach.

What events should my swimmer race at meets?  The coaches will enter your swimmer in the events that are most appropriate for their age, skill level and time of season. Swimmers should compete in strokes and distances that they have been working on legally in practices.  Swimmers do not need to race an event that they have never practiced. As they begin to master all 4 strokes, then they will begin to compete in those strokes at meets.

How Do I Enter A Meet? At the beginning of the season you will be asked to fill out an Opt In/Opt Out Form. This form can be found HERE.  This form will list all the meets that are available for your swimmer to participated in during the season.  Some meets may require certain time standards, so if you have questions talk to your swimmer's coach.  On this form you can select what meets you want to attend.  Some meets may be multiple days.  If you can only attend certain days, for example you can only come on a Saturday just indicate that in the note section. Turn a copy of the Opt In/Opt Out form to your swimmer's coach, but also keep a copy for your records!  It is very important that if your schedule changes throughout the season, please let you swimmer's coach now ASAP of the changes. It is best to let them know through email, so that there is a record of the change.

If you do miss a sign up date for the meet and your swimmer wants to swim, you can on deck enter your swimmer at the meet.  It is expensive to do this as the meet fees are usually double the cost and there may be limited spots available. If you have questions about this procedure, talk to you swimmer's lead coach.

How Do I Know If My Swimmer Is Entered In The Meet? Preliminary Entries are posted on our Meet Page, click HERE, about four weeks before the meet.  It is very important that you check these entries even if you didn't sign your swimmer up for the meet, just to make sure they weren't entered accidently.  If you did enter your swimmer, make sure they are listed.  If you notice any errors it is very important to let your swimmer's lead coach know so that they can be corrected.  Once Final Entries are posted families are responsible for any meet fees because FCST has already paid the host team for your swimmer.  Final Entries are usually posted three weeks before the meet.  A schedule can be found in the Weekly Newsletter sent to all families.

How Do I Know What Days My Swimmer's Events Are On? The order of events is listed in a meet Announcement.  These Announcements can be found on the MEET page, click HERE.  In the Announcement you will find all the information about the meet.  The address of the pool, start time of meet, rules for the meet and events at the meet.  The events can usually be found towards the end of the Announcement.  In the Announcements it will have the Event Numbers and Event Descriptions that will be swam each day.  You can match these Event Numbers to the Preliminary Entries your swimmer has been signed up for at the meet.