Swim meets can be both exciting and confusing. Our team enters many different types of meets as well, so it is important to stay up to speed on the information the team puts out. We will post information on the team website, and through handouts & announcements at practice. Don't hesitate to call or email with any questions you may have.
Because swim meets can be confusing, it is best to arrive about 15-20 minutes before warm-ups begin. This will give you time to check in, find the team area, change into your suit, and get behind the blocks for warm-ups.
The first thing to do when you get to a meet is to positive check in. This is a sign-in sheet, usually located near the building entrance or on the pool deck. If you don't sign in, you won't be put into the meet. All swimmers must sign in for all events in which they were entered by the coaches. Positive check in usually closes about 30 minutes before the actual start of the meet. If you miss the check-in, you will not be put into the meet.
All swimmers will do a team warm-up. We do a very organized and specific warm-up which is designed to properly prepare swimmers for competition. Our warm-up is also designed to familiarize the swimmers with the facility and minimize any safety risks. For these reasons, coaches may scratch swimmers from the meet if they miss all or part of warm-ups.
Generally, the swimmers sit together at meet in areas designed for sleeping bags, coolers, etc. At some meets swimmers can stay on the deck as well. Each meet is different, so just look for familiar faces. Parents generally sit in the bleachers overlooking the pool deck. Swimmers are welcome to sit in the stands at most meets.
Food & Drinks; Caps & Clothes
Most meets have concessions, but many swimmers like to bring their favorite drinks (Gatorade, water) snacks (fruit, bagels) or small meals (pasta, etc). NEVER bring anything in a glass bottle to a swim meet! Wear warm clothes in between events. Bring your team cap to race in. You may swim in any racing suit you like (preferably plain blue or black), or one of the Team Suits available at Kiefer.
Heat Sheets & Lane Assignments
After positive check-in closes, the host team will make a Heat Sheet for the meet, which will tell swimmers their heat and lane assignments for each event. These will be posted in various places around the facility for swimmers to see. It is ultimately the swimmers' responsibility to be in the right place at the right time. At many meets, if you miss an event, you may be scratched from the next event.
Many teams use a Bullpen for 8 & Under swimmers. In a bullpen, volunteer parents help organize swimmers into their heat and lanes to ensure that they don't miss an event. Announcements will be made for swimmers to report to the bullpen prior to each event.
Talk to your coach
Each swimmer should report back to their coach after each event. The coaches will discuss stroke technique, race strategy, splits, etc with each swimmer. This is an important part of the learning process of swimming, so please report to your coach regardless of how you feel about your race.
Swim all your races
The coaching staff believes in the philosophy of "everybody swims, everybody wins." We enter swimmers in as many events as are offered to encourage the full development of each swimmer. This adds both to the individual's long-term success, and the team's success. Many times, a swimmer will surprise themselves in an event they previously did not consider one of their "best events."
If our team enters relay events, we will decide on the day of the meet who will swim on those relays. We will not know who will be present at each meet until warm-ups, and therefore will not be able to assign relay swimmers until that point. Generally we will gather all the swimmers together immediately after warm-ups to do this. Do not leave a meet without double-checking with a coach to find out if you are on a relay! Sometimes we may make last second changes.
The parent's most important role at a meet is to be an encourager to your swimmer. Many times parents from all teams will also be asked to help volunteer as timers. Please be willing to do this occasionally. If everyone helps a few times, then it will save a few people from having to volunteer all the time. Remember that spectators are not allowed on the pool deck at any time, unless acting in an official capacity as a volunteer. If you have a question for a coach, please send a message via your :.. swimmer. Please do not approach an Official or Referee at any time for any reason.
The most important thing to remember is that swimming is supposed to be fun. Everyone has good meets and not-so-good meets. So relax and enjoy spending time with your friends, coaches, and parents! Especially in the early meets, the coaching staff is more concerned with stoke technique and race strategy than your Times. Focusing on these things early on will produce better swims at the end of the season!