Swim Meet 411

Swim Meet Overview

DASH participates in many different types of swim meets. The team hosts several meets a year and will also attend other in-state meets as well as out-of-state meets. Swim meets provide an opportunity to show off the skills learned and perfected at practice. Meets also provide motivation and incentive for practice. Individual improvement, goal achievement, and the development of a championship attitude are the goals of DASH swimmers at meets. USA Swimming sanctions all meets DASH participates in. This ensures certain standards of officiating, safety, and fairness are observed. All swimmers attending these meets are members of USA Swimming.


Types of Meets

Most meets take place on weekends and may be one, two, or three days long.  The type of meet being offered depends on the swim season (short and long course) and time standard. 

Fall season is called Short Course because the kids race in yards. 1 length of the pool = 25 yards. This is how Loras' pool is designed.

Summer Season is called Long Course because the kids race in meters. 1 length = 50meters … it is much longer than Loras' pool. Some of the pools during the summer season are meters and some are yard pools.  Race times still count if swam in a yard pool during the long course season; these times are convert to a long course or meter pool time.

Time Standards: meets that have time standard requirements are more selective in what swimmers may be eligible. These types of meets set time standards and in order for a swimmer to participate in the meet, the swimmer must have the required time standard in the event that he/she would like to swim.

"Q" times - is the time a swimmer must get for an event to be able to swim it at State. State is the championship meet held at the end of the season at which all USA swim teams in Iowa compete against each other. Throughout the seasons, each swimmer’s goal is to try and make a “Q” time. Once a swimmer achieves a “Q” time, this time is good for the entire time that a swimmer is in that specific age bracket.

Each event has their own qualifying state time. These “Q” times are available under the ATHLETE tab of the DASH website and on the ISI website

"Q" times only: this means that your swimmer must have at least 1 state qualifying time in order to compete in that meet; they may then sign up for any additional events whether they have a “Q” time or not

Non-Q meets: Swimmers may only compete in events in which they DO NOT have a State "Q" time.

Q minus: Same as Non-Q meets

ALLAll team members may compete in these meets.

Prelim/Finals: 13 and over Summer State meet and 11 - 14 Winter State meet, as well as several meets throughout the season, are Prelim/Final meets.  This means that a swimmer will race their event in the morning of the meet.  The top 16 or 24 swimmers from each event will than qualify to return that evening to race the same event for the “final” race.  Finals consists of 3 heats but only the top 8 swimmers will have the ability to score/podium.  If your swimmer qualifies to swim their event at finals they must scratch within 30 minutes of it being announced if they do not plan to attend to avoid being penalized.


Championship Meets

Regionals: if a “Q” time is not achieved in an event throughout the season, the week before both short course and long course competition is the Regional Meet. The Regional Meet is a Q minus meet which means that a swimmer can only swim the events that he/she does not have a “Q” time in. If a swimmer achieves a “Q” time at the Regional Meet, this event can be swam at the state meet.

Fall and Summer seasons State Championship Meet

Fall: Short course season ends with two separate state meets: 12 and Under Championships and 13 and Older Championships. These are usually held on different weekends, and hosted by different clubs.

Summer: Long course season holds a single State Championship meet held on the same weekend.

All swimmers who have qualified for the state championships are expected to attend these meets and represent DASH. This is beneficial for both the team and for the individual, for it is at the end of the season, when swimmers are best prepared for the final competition of the season.

In addition to state meets, there are other meets which require tougher time standards than “Q” times. Zones is the highest age group meet with a time requirement of AAA in any event swum at Zones. The Zone Meet is only offered in the summer and usually the weekend after Long Course State.  Sectionals and Nationals are non-age group meets that have even higher time standards than Zones.


Signing up for a Meet

When DASH receives a meet invitation, Coach Doug will send an email stating that the meet is available for sign up.

The meet information consists of a cover sheet which explains the specifics and a schedule of events which explains the events taking place at specific sessions of the meet. Generally, there are entry limits as to how many events each swimmer can swim per day and for the whole meet. To Enter a Meet:

1. Log into your account on DASH website.

2. Select the meet of interest (under the "Events" section of the home page) and click "Attend/Decline."

3. Click on your swimmer's name under "Member Name" on the next screen.

4. For the "Declaration" drop-down menu, select "Yes, please sign [] up for this event."

5. After looking at the schedule of events and the required number of events that a swimmer can swim, decide what events the swimmer wants to swim. 6. Using the schedule of events, check the box next to the event that the swimmer wants to swim. Click "Save Changes."

7. Please be aware that there is a due date for the sign up for the meet. This date is very important. Getting the entry in by this date assures your chances of getting into the meet. Also, this gives the coach ample time to enter your swimmer’s times accurately into the meet. When the due date is missed, there is a possibility of not getting into the meet.

8.  There is an event fee and splash fee for the meet. Coach Doug will send out a listing of meet entries and the fee owed. Fees will be billed to your DASH account. Fees are due the 1st of every month; a late fee of $5 will charged if not paid by the 15th at midnight.


Swim Meets

Event List

This will be emailed from Coach Doug with meet information including the on-deck time, their individual events and possible relays – usually the week of the meet. On-deck time is the very latest they should arrive on-deck and be ready to swim.

Things to bring to a meet:

  • $$$ - You will need money for a program and concessions. A program is usually available for sale in the lobby or concession area of the pool. There is a fee for the program. This 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.
  • Drinks and snacks. - Water, juices, chocolate milk, sport drinks, health high carb easily digested snacks are recommended.
  • 2 towels per swimmer per session per day - Wet towels tend not to dry in hotel rooms so if you are going for the weekend keep this in mind.
  • Sweats, robes, sweatshirts etc… - Something for your swimmer to put on to keep warm in between their events - even during the summer the swimmers can get chilled
  • Flip flops/Sandals/Crocs: to wear on pool deck.
  • Outdoor Meet Chairs, blankets for ground, sunscreen. Swimmers should check in with the coach before and after their race. Coaches will tell them how to swim their race and review their performance.
  • Some meets will have a "crash site" - This is an area outside the pool (sometimes a gym) where you can set up blankets and chairs you can "crash" at in between your child's events. This info is on the meet PDF.
  • Highlighter!!! - This is to highlight your child's name in the program so you can find it easier. The programs can be like a small book sometimes. It does help to have the list of what your child has signed up for including any relays.
  • A Sharpie in a dark color! You will need this to write your child's event number, heat and lane on either their arm or leg. This helps you, your swimmer, the coach and sometimes the timers behind the blocks to know where your child is suppose to be.
  • This is the format: E H L: E = event H= heat L= lane








50 Free




50 Breast

This is where highlighting all that information comes in handy!

CAUTION: Do not try and write on your swimmer while they are wet … it will ruin your sharpie!

Before the Meet Starts

  • Arrive at the pool at least 15 minutes before the scheduled warm-up time begins. Upon arrival, find a place to put your stuff. The team usually sits in one place together, so look for some familiar faces. Your swimmer should find a DASH coach and let him/her know that they have arrived at the meet.  Write their events as shown above on their hand or leg.  It is easier to do before they are wet!

According to USA rules, parents are not allowed on-deck 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 coaching staff. They, in turn, will pursue the matter through the proper channels.

During the Meet

  • A swimmer’s event number will be called, usually over the loudspeaker. A swimmer will either be asked to report behind the blocks or to the clerk of course. The clerk of course will usually line up all the swimmers and take them down to the pool in the correct order. Swimmers should report with his/her cap and goggles. The swimmers swim their race. After each swim, the swimmer should go immediately to the coach. The coach will discuss the swim with each swimmer.

After the Meet

  • When a swimmer has completed all of his/her events, he/she and their 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 he/she is not there.