What are a short course meet and a long course meet?

A short course meet is swum in a 25 yard pool, the length of the pools at GBN & GBS. For swimmers age 8 and under, there are 25 yard (one length) races, as well as 50 yard (two lengths, down and back) races and some 100 yard races. For swimmers age 9 and over, the shortest events are 50 yards. A long course meet is swum in a 50 meter pool, like the Olympics. During the fall and winter seasons, all meets are swum short course.  During the spring and summer seasons, many meets are long course.

How long is a meet?  When does my child swim?

Meets begin with a warm up, generally an hour.  If a warm up time is noon, for example, plan to arrive at that pool at 11:45, and the competition starts at 1:00.  A smaller, dual meet (two teams) may be over in a couple of hours. The larger meets with many teams generally have four-hour sessions. 

Swimmers compete by age group: 8 and under, 9-10, 11-12, and 13 and over (or 13-14, and 15 and over). For dual meets, often all ages compete during the same session.  For the larger meets, some ages swim in the morning and some in the afternoon.  Read the meet description online to see when your child will swim.

Your child’s age may change during the season. If your child turns 11 on November 15th, he/she will compete in the 9-10 age group for the first part of the fall season, and the 11-12 age group after the birthday.  

Can I find the meet schedule for an entire season?

Yes. From the GA homepage, put your cursor over Swim Club on the top. One of the options in the drop down menu is “Meet Schedule”. You will find the meet schedule for either the fall/winter seasons or the spring/summer seasons as soon as it is available.

Should my child compete in meets?

Yes! Swimmers in all groups have specific expectations for competition, outlined in the group descriptions distributed via email and posted online.

Competing in meets is the best way to see progress as a swimmer, looking not only a swimmer’s times but also their skills, such as stroke improvement, flip turns, starts, etc.  Swimmers get immediate and individual feedback from their coaches after their events. And for many kids, it’s fun! During the waiting time in between events, the kids talk & play cards and get to know their teammates. 

How do I find the meet options and how do I sign up?

Our meet sign ups are done online, and registered swim families receive emails as each meet opens for sign up. Go to the GA website and look in the middle for “Events”.  Click on the name of the meet to get information (location, days, times,). Click on “Attend/Decline” (or if you are already signed in to your GA account, it will say “edit commitment”) to get your swimmer signed up. Then click on your swimmer’s name, and a page will pop up with information on the meet. Read the “important notes” red box near the top carefully for specifics on the meet. There is a drop down option where it says "select" that allows you to choose "yes" or "no" to attending the meet. Make sure to click on "save changes" when you finish on this page.

You may sign up for one or more days of a meet. Indicate by checking the session boxes or writing in the “notes” section which day(s) your swimmer is available. If you do not specify days, you will be signed up for all days.  In general if a Friday night is offered, the events are longer (distance events) and not good choices for younger or newer swimmers. THE COACHES READ THE NOTES SECTION CAREFULLY SO DO USE THAT SECTION TO COMMUNICATE WHEN YOUR SWIMMER IS AVAILABLE TO SWIM!

Make careful note of the deadlines for meet sign ups.  Once the deadlines have passed, we are unable to add swimmers. Make sure to sign up on time.

**Unlike when you register for the program, you will not get an emailed confirmation that you signed up for a meet. If you are not sure if you are signed up, you can always check by logging into your GA account, clicking on “edit commitment” for the meet in question, and seeing if your swimmer shows as attending or not.

Email [email protected] if you are unsure about meet sign ups!

Is there a cost to swim in a meet?  How do I pay?

Yes, there is a cost for most all meets. It varies a little, but an average meet is about $15 per day. Once GA submits the meet entries, you will be charged whether or not your child actually swims the meet or not, because the club has to prepay the entry fees to the host club weeks in advance of the meet. If your swimmer has a soccer game that day, or is invited to a party, or gets sick or injured, etc, you are still responsible for the cost of the meet.

The meet fee is charged automatically to your credit card on file on the first day of the month after the charges are posted. You may sign into your account at any time to review any meet charges.

Can I cancel a meet sign up?

Before the Meet Sign Up Deadline: To cancel a meet registration you have already completed, you simply reverse the process you used to register for the meet in the first place.

After the Meet Sign Up Deadline: Once the entry deadline for a meet has passed, you cannot withdraw from a meet. Immediately following the entry deadline, GA coaches select events and submit the team entry including entry fees to the meet host. Once that entry is submitted, you are responsible for any entry fees incurred on behalf of your swimmer even if your swimmer does not attend the meet. If you know your swimmer will not attend a meet and the entry deadline has already passed, please email your swimmer’s coach so he/she is aware your swimmer will not attend the meet.

Do we purchase a competition suit and swim cap?

GA has selected a team suit and cap for most competitions that we ask all our team members to wear at meets to promote unity and team spirit. These suits are simple Speedo brand suits with our logo on them. 

Suits:  A competition suit** is often a size smaller than a practice suit – tighter fit cuts down on drag in the water.  Suits are sized 22, 24, 26, 28, etc. Your nine-year-old swimmer might wear a size 24 practice suit but a size 22 competition suit, for example, and that’s normal. (If your younger Gator group swimmer will also be wearing the suit to practice, purchase a comfortable size.) Team suits are ordered through the Swim Team Store. See the GA Team Store link on our website. If your swimmers are new and do not yet have a GA team suit, they may compete in another suit.

**We have a team policy regarding technical suits and dome caps for our team members. Please familiarize yourself with these policies before purchasing any sort of high priced suits or caps:  TECHNICAL SUITS & DOME CAP TEAM POLICY 

Caps: Girls must wear a swim cap to compete. It is optional for boys. All swimmers will receive a GA team cap during their first season on the team. Team caps that are personalized with a swimmer’s name (first name, last name, first initial and last name –your choice) are especially helpful as coaches are identifying swimmers in the water. Personalized caps are ordered by the team twice a year, and ordering information will be emailed out to team families. 

Reminder: We are PROUDLY a Speedo-sponsored team, so we ask that you purchase Speedo brand items. GA uses the Swim Team Store as our gear outfitting company. Items purchased online through our website will be shipped directly to your home.  If you have questions, please call the Swim Team Store directly.


Does GA host any meets?

Glenbrook Aquatics proudly hosts two to three large meets per year. Our Oktoberfest meet is held annually in October. In 2017, the weekend is October 20-22 at GBN. Swimmers ages 9-12 swim in the morning sessions; swimmers ages 13+ and ages 8 and under swim in the afternoon sessions. Friday evening is distance events for experienced swimmers of all age groups. All GA swimmers should plan to swim at least one session of the Oktoberfest meet if at all possible.

Our Super Teams meet is held annually in early January and is a prelims/finals meet. Swimmers ages 9-12 swim in the morning at GBN; swimmers ages 13+ swim in the morning at GBS. The top 16 swimmers in each event swim in a finals session in the evening. The 8 and under swimmers have their own session on Saturday afternoon. Super Teams in 2018 will be January 5-7.

In February, 2018, GA will again be the host site of one of the State Regional Meets. Swimmers with regional state times will be swimming; all families are welcome to volunteer at the sessions.

Parents of swimmers participating in our home meets are required to work the session(s) that their children are competing. Complete information will be emailed prior to the meets.

All GA families are encouraged to contribute drinks (water, soda, Gatorade) to sell at our home meets, regardless of whether they have a swimmer competing or not. Drink donations are worth 10 achievement points. Complete information will be emailed prior to the home meets.

What does my swimmer pack for a meet?

Pack: several towels, deck shoes, cap and extra cap (for girls, caps optional for boys), warm clothing to wear in between events including a warm hat, assorted nutritious snacks, water and/or sports drinks, two pairs of goggles, an extra swimsuit, things to do to pass the time (playing cards, book to read, hand-held games but nothing valuable!), clothing to wear home.  An old blanket or sleeping bag is helpful; at some meets kids are sitting on a floor in between events.  Many clubs sell concessions, so your swimmer might appreciate a little money, but make sure to pack food in case concessions are not available.

We encourage experienced swimmers to warm up in a practice suit and then change into their competition suit after warm ups. Swimmers in the Silver and Gold groups must follow this procedure. It’s hard for the younger and less experienced swimmers to change suits independently, so those kids should wear their competition suit to the meet. At most meets, parents will not interact with their kids again until the end of the meet, so please pack such that the swimmers can locate items and change independently.

Where do we go?  What time?  What events will my child be in?

Before each meet, you will receive an important meet sheet via email. The meet sheet includes the arrival times, warm up times and the address of the pool. PLEASE WATCH YOUR EMAIL IN THE DAYS BEFORE THE MEET. You can locate your swimmer’s events by signing in to your account on the GA website and clicking on “edit commitment” for the meet, the way you signed your swimmer up for the meet.  Their events and event numbers are shown for you.  The coaches select events for swimmers based on what they are ready to swim.

Pay careful attention to any other emails you receive from GA in the days leading up to the meet.  Sometimes there are changes in warm-up times; sometimes Friday night events could be limited to the top X number of swimmers to allow the session to conclude on time; parent timing assignments could change, etc.

What do we do when we first arrive at the meet?

Swimmers:  Swimmers should first look for positive check in. At nearly all meets, there are lists of swimmers, usually by team, entered in the meet taped to tables or a wall near the entrance. Look for GA, look for the swimmer’s name, and highlight  (highlighters are provided) your name and the Xs next to your name (Xs = events you are entered in that day).  Checking in tells the host team that you are present and planning to swim.  Swimmers whose names are not highlighted are assumed to be absent and will not be given lanes for their events, so it is very important to do positive check in.

Positive check in closes about 20 or 30 minutes into warm ups.  For example, if warm ups are noon to 1 p.m., you should plan to arrive at the pool by 11:45 and do positive check in right away. The sheets will be taken down by 12:20 or 12:30, and then the swimmer will be unable to swim the meet. Therefore, it’s important to be on time.

After positive check in, swimmers should follow the instructions provided by the host team.  They may sit on deck by team area or be in a gym or other designated area, again by team, until it’s time to swim.  It’s helpful to explain to your swimmer that you will be there, but he/she may not be able to see you, and not to worry. 

Parents:  Parents of new, younger swimmers may need to assist their children with positive check in. With experience, the kids should be able to manage this task on their own. Then look for the admission table.

There is an admission charge for spectators at most meets, normally about $5 per person but if varies. Many clubs are moving toward pre-paid electronic admission (included with meet fees), but not all are there yet, so make sure to bring cash with you. Some clubs will also sell psych sheets and/or heat sheets. See descriptions below. Many clubs also sell concessions for swimmers and spectators. During meet warm ups (an hour), parents may find seating in the stands or run an errand, unless attending the timers’ meeting (see below).

What are Psych Sheets and Heat Sheets and Meet Mobile App?

A psych sheet lists all the events for an entire meet (all the sessions if there are multiple sessions) and the swimmers entered in each event. The swimmers are listed in each event from fastest entry time to slowest entry time. These times reflect the swimmers’ previous best times. At the end of the list for each event are the swimmers with no entry time (NT), which means that no time was submitted with the entry – usually because the child has not previously swum the event. There are no heat and lane assignments. All swimmers entered in the meet are in the psych sheet, regardless of whether they are in attendance. It is more common now for the psych sheet to be posted only on Meet Mobile; fewer teams are selling paper copies.

A heat sheet is generated after positive check in (as explained above) closes. There may be paper copies for sale th heat sheet may be on Meet Mobile (see below). Swimmers are placed or seeded into heats of each event according to their entry time or seed time. Swimmers are seeded with the no time swimmers first, and then from slowest to fastest. The heat sheet lists exactly what heat and what lane each swimmer will compete in for each event. Normally girls swim in the odd numbered events and boys swim in the even numbered events.

Increasingly at meets, you can view heat sheets, psych sheets and/or meet results on your phone using the Meet Mobile app. There is a nominal annual charge for the app. Results are free; there is normally a per meet charge for heat sheets.

How do I know what is going on during the meet? 

If you have a psych sheet or heat sheet (paper or by app as described above), it’s easy to follow the progress of the meet. There are often scoreboards, which list what event number and heat number is in the water, and then the times for each lane at the end of each race. Note that using a camera with a flash is prohibited during swim meets as the flash resembles the strobe light signaling the start of the race. 

Bring reading material, work to do, etc. Many places have internet access, but don’t count on it. GA parents try to sit together in the stands, so look for familiar faces in GA clothing or colors. Parents are NOT allowed on deck unless volunteering as a timer or official.

You can also visit the vendors at the larger meets: concessions, t-shirt vendors, one of the local swim shops, etc. Meets are great places to pick up that extra set of goggles or purchase your swimmer a little “meet treat” or even a future birthday or holiday gift.

I am going to be a timer. What do I do?

The timing system records the time for each swimmer in each lane. You will see a touchpad in the water at the end of each lane. A beep and flashing light signal the beginning of the race.  The race ends when the swimmer touches the pad at the end. 

Parents from visiting clubs are asked to be lane timers, so you could be timing at an away meet as well as at a home meet. While the timing system records the time for each lane in each race, sometimes technology fails. Parent timers serve as the back up in case of tech glitches. In addition, sometimes the children don’t hit the touchpad hard enough at the end of an event.  In those cases the timers’ times can help determine the official time for the swimmer.

Our coaches assign parent timers for each away meet, so watch for that information in an email in the days before the meet. We try to have each parent time just one half of the session when possible, and we all take turns to share the responsibilities over the course of a season.  Parents attend the timers’ meeting (about 30 minutes before the start of the session) where you receive instructions on what to do. If you are assigned to time and are unable to, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to find a replacement parent.  Please do not email the coaches. The parent timer assignments list alternates, so try those parents first.  To locate contact information about other families on the team, you may sign into your GA account and look for GA family roster on the drop down bar under GA Swim Club. This information is available only to GA member families. Families who do not fulfill their timing assignment or contact a replacement timer are subject to a $25 per session fine.

What do officials do? Why was my child disqualified from a race?

Officials (the ones in white on deck) are dedicated volunteers who make sure that meets run safely and according to the rules of USA Swimming and Illinois Swimming. Anyone can train to be an official, so make sure to let us know if you are interested in training.  Officials start the races, check for legal strokes and turns, etc. 

All swimmers will be disqualified or “DQed” from many races in their careers. It simply means that they did something “illegal” in that event. Common examples include finishing a backstroke race on one’s stomach, having an illegal breaststroke or butterfly kick, touching the wall with one hand (should be two hands) in breast or fly, etc.  Officials raise one hand to signal a DQ during a race, but as a spectator you usually don’t know which swimmer it is. It is up to the coaches to explain DQs to the swimmers. As parents, it is our job to reassure our kids that DQs are common, like making mistakes in school. We simply learn from them.

What are relays? Will my child be in a relay?

Many meets have relays, a group of four swimmers (same gender and age group) who compete together in a race. There are free relays, in which each of the four swimmers swims freestyle. There are also medley relays, with one swimmer swimming each of the four strokes --- back, breast, fly, and free.  

GA tries to enter as many kids in relays as possible and as permitted by the host club.  There could be an A relay, a B relay, a C relay, and so on. Since four swimmers are needed for a relay, the number of relays we have depends on the number of swimmers who come to the meet. The coaches cannot finalize the relays for the day until all the swimmers have arrived at the meet, so your child won’t know ahead of time who is on the relays. The club covers the cost of all relays as part of the family fee charge. Sometimes the relays are at the end of the session, so swimmers always need to ask their coaches if they are in a relay before leaving the meet.

What is a flyover start?

Most meets with many teams in attendance will use flyover starts for races of 50 yards or longer to help move the meet along more efficiently. The first heat will swim, and then those swimmers stay in the water next to the edge of the pool at the end of their race. The swimmers in the next heat will start, “flying over” the kids who just finished. Then the first heat of swimmers climbs out of the pool.  Heats and events continue this way except for backstroke events. Since backstrokes begin in the pool, flyover starts cannot be used.

I hear people talking about JOs, Regionals, and various cuts.  What are those?

These “cuts” or times refer to the time standards set by age group and event for Illinois Swimming. 

Regional times are the first level of cuts that our kids try to achieve. Reaching any of these times qualifies them to swim that event in a regional meet (set up across Illinois by region) in late February and late July. 

Age Group times (also known as JO cuts, short for Junior Olympics) are more difficult cuts. The Age Group Championship Meet is the top meet in Illinois for age 14 and under swimmers.  It is held each March and late July/early August at one location in the state. The meet is swum short course yards in March and long course meters in the summer.

THIS IS A COACH/SWIMMER CONVERSATION ONLY. The swimmers should come to their parents to share the good news. We focus on working on all the right things to do in practice to show improvements in meets. The coaches will inform the swimmers about any cuts achieved in a meet.

When is my child finished for the day?

Your child is finished once his/her last event is completed, including any relays. Swimmers MUST ALWAYS check with their coaches before leaving the meet. Sometimes the relay events are at the end of the session, and your child may be needed to swim a relay. Plan a meeting spot for after the meet is over – often just outside the locker room is a good choice.

Further Questions?

As always, if you have any questions about meets (attending, how to sign up, etc) in general, please email us at [email protected].  If you are unsure about signing your particular swimmer up for a specific meet, please email your swimmer's lead coach.