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Learn: What Happens at Meets
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Last updated: 6/18

What happens at meets?

ISL teams compete against each other in head-to-head competitions called swim meets. A swim meet typically involves 2 teams, the “home” team and the “visiting” team. The meets are held at the home team’s pool. Each year the Riptide participates in an intra-squad practice swim meet, 5 regular swim meets, and the ISL Championship meet.

When are meets?

Meets are held on Saturday mornings, 9:00am to 1:00pm.

What time to arrive?

Arrive at the pool at 7:30am to check in with your swimmers. The first thing to do when arriving is to go to one of the two “sign-in” tables operated by the Riptide. There, a Riptide parent volunteer will write your swimmer(s) events on their forearm with a sharpie marker (it comes off later with soap and water). After that, the coaches will have them warm up in the pool in an organized manner. Swimmers should bring their swim caps, and of course they should wear their official Riptide swimsuit.

If your family has a swim meet job assignment, then sign in at the Jobs Board as you arrive at the pool. See the “swim meet job” section below for more details.

Swim meet events

A swim meet consists of 68 events (see below for the list of all events). The four swim strokes that are used in a meet are freestyle, backstroke, butterfly, and breaststroke. The events can be broken down into certain categories:

  • Individual - where a swimmer competes against other swimmers using one stroke
  • Individual Medley - where a swimmer competes against other swimmers, using all four strokes
  • Free Relays - where a group of 4 swimmers competes against other groups of 4, using the freestyle stroke
  • Medley Relays - where a group of 4 swimmers competes against other groups of 4, with each of the 4 swimmers using a different stroke

A given event is referred to by age group and stroke, such as 5-6 girls freestyle. Events of the same stroke are repeated through all age groups. For example, 7-8 girls freestyle is followed by boys 7-8 freestyle, which is followed by girls 9-10 freestyle, until 15-18 boys freestyle is reached. It then starts all over with another stroke.

Every swimmer who participates in an event receives a ribbon. Ribbons will be placed in the team file box the Monday after a meet, and can be picked up after your practice session.

The Ready Bench

The events will begin at 9:00am. Swimmers for the first 2 or 3 races will be called to the Ready Bench about 15 minutes before the meet begins. The Ready Bench is simply a staging area, and is typically located under a canopy on the pool deck. There the swimmers will be put into order depending on their event by the Ready  Bench volunteers, and then led to the starting platforms.

Once you bring your child to the Ready Bench, you can leave that area and get ready to watch the event. It is the responsibility of the parents to make sure that their swimmers arrive at the Ready Bench in time, otherwise a child might miss an event.

How will you know when a swimmer should go to the Ready Bench? A large placard with rotating numbers will be on the deck. The number displayed on the placard refers to the race that is being gathered at the Ready Bench. Thus, if the placard number is 28, all swimmers who are participating in event #28 and below should go to the Ready Bench.

Reluctant Swimmers

Some new swimmers may be tentative before their race, and may not want to race or even go to the Ready Bench. This is normal. The coaches may try gentle persuasion, but no swimmer will be forced to do anything against their will. In the event of a reluctant swimmer, just be patient and understanding with your child. When one young swimmer was 5 years old, she refused to swim any of her events until the 3rd meet of the season. By meet #5, she set a team record in one event. Patience and compassion are the keys.

What to Bring to a Meet

You will be at the pool for a few hours. What will you and the kids do between their swim events? Bring cards, board games, books, and other things for the kids to do. The kids enjoy playing games with their friends. Chairs, suntan lotion, hats, pop-up tents, snacks, drinks, and beach towels are also good to bring. You can bring high-back chairs, but do not place them close to the pool edge, which would block other people’s view. Same for strollers and other tall items.

The home team operates a concessions table with limited quantities of food and drink available for sale during the meet. Prices are established by the home team. Items typically include pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, donuts, candy, water, Gatorade, and soft drinks (the pizza will arrive later in the morning).

Missing a Meet

While all swimmers are encouraged to attend all of the meets, this is often not possible due to family vacations and other priorities. In general, you should strive to attend at least three of the meets.

 

It is important for the Head Coach to know if your swimmer will miss a swim meet. Why?

Knowledge of which swimmers will not be attending allows the coach to plan the meet event assignments to maximize the team’s chances to win races. It also reduces the confusion that can ensue before a race if a swimmer cannot be located and a substitute identified.

You should indicate your commitment to attend or decline a meet no later than the Wednesday before the meet they will miss. The coach creates the meet event assignments on Wednesday night. Then 500+ swim labels are printed out and affixed on index cards on Thursday and Friday by NPST parents.

 

Swim Meet Jobs

It takes many parents to run a swim meet, for jobs like timer, data entry, ribbons, concessions, etc. A letter will be mailed to each Riptide family in May, listing their swim meet job assignments for the season. All of these jobs are EASY and fun to do.

If you have a swim meet job assignment at a given meet, please sign in at the Riptide sign-in table when you first arrive at the meet pool.

 

For home swim meets at the Northpark Forest Glen Pool

If you drive to the Forest Glen pool, please be careful when parking your car. Some sides of certain streets around the pool are zoned for FIRE, and parking is not allowed (such as on Fair Oaks, by the playground). Please do not park in these areas.

There is lots of parking on Forest Glen, and it is a quick walk to the pool. Give yourself time to get to the pool. If feasible, consider walking to the pool to leave parking spaces for our visiting team. Let’s do everything we can to show our Northpark neighbors that the team is respectful of the residents and NP property!

There will be several spaces reserved in the pool parking lot for officials, coaches, concessions drop-off, etc, so it is best to avoid the parking lot altogether.

The team has exclusive use of the pool during a swim meet, but the spa and baby pool are open to all residents. No Riptide or visiting team swimmers are allowed in the BABY POOL. This is important!

A certain amount of trash is generated during a meet. This trash will be periodically double-bagged and moved to a point outside of the main gate.

After the meet is over, it is critical that the pool area look pristine, even better than it was before we arrived. A tear-down and clean up team will be assigned, however let’s make their job easier by returning chairs to their proper place, having your kids pick up small pieces of trash, and in general do what you can to make the place look nice. Again, we want to be respectful to the Northpark community.

Instructions and a map for visiting teams can be found on the meets page of our website.

List of Meet Events

1 Mixed 5-6 100 Medley Relay
2 Mixed 7-8 100 Medley Relay
3 Mixed 9-10 200 Medley Relay
4 Mixed 11-12 200 Medley Relay
5 Mixed 13-14 200 Medley Relay
6 Mixed 15-18 200 Medley Relay
7 Girls 5-6 25 Fly
8 Boys 5-6 25 Fly
9 Girls 7-8 25 Fly
10 Boys 7-8 25 Fly
11 Girls 9-10 50 Fly
12 Boys 9-10 50 Fly
13 Girls 11-12 50 Fly
14 Boys 11-12 50 Fly
15 Girls 13-14 50 Fly
16 Boys 13-14 50 Fly
17 Girls 15-18 50 Fly
18 Boys 15-18 50 Fly
19 Girls 5-6 25 Back
20 Boys 5-6 25 Back
21 Girls 7-8 25 Back
22 Boys 7-8 25 Back
23 Girls 9-10 50 Back
24 Boys 9-10 50 Back
25 Girls 11-12 50 Back
26 Boys 11-12 50 Back
27 Girls 13-14 50 Back
28 Boys 13-14 50 Back
29 Girls 15-18 50 Back
30 Boys 15-18 50 Back
31 Girls 9-10 100 IM
32 Boys 9-10 100 IM
33 Girls 11-12 100 IM
34 Boys 11-12 100 IM
35 Girls 13-14 100 IM
36 Boys 13-14 100 IM
37 Girls 15-18 100 IM
38 Boys 15-18 100 IM
39 Girls 5-6 25 Breast
40 Boys 5-6 25 Breast
41 Girls 7-8 25 Breast
42 Boys 7-8 25 Breast
43 Girls 9-10 50 Breast
44 Boys 9-10 50 Breast
45 Girls 11-12 50 Breast
46 Boys 11-12 50 Breast
47 Girls 13-14 50 Breast
48 Boys 13-14 50 Breast
49 Girls 15-18 50 Breast
50 Boys 15-18 50 Breast
51 Girls 5-6 25 Free
52 Boys 5-6 25 Free
53 Girls 7-8 25 Free
54 Boys 7-8 25 Free
55 Girls 9-10 50 Free
56 Boys 9-10 50 Free
57 Girls 11-12 50 Free
58 Boys 11-12 50 Free
59 Girls 13-14 50 Free
60 Boys 13-14 50 Free
61 Girls 15-18 50 Free
62 Boys 15-18 50 Free
63 Mixed 5-6 100 Free Relay
64 Mixed 7-8 100 Free Relay
65 Mixed 9-10 200 Free Relay
66 Mixed 11-12 200 Free Relay
67 Mixed 13-14 200 Free Relay
68 Mixed 15-18 200 Free Relay