Your First Meet

An LRST Swimmer AND Parents’ Guide to Your First Swim Meet

Lake Erie Swimming meets are a great opportunity for the whole family to spend time together as well as with all the other families on the team. Below are some guidelines geared to help you through your first swim meet.

Is My Swimmer Ready?

Meets aren't required, but one of our primary focuses is to compete!  If you have questions about whether or not your swimmer is ready for a meet, just ask your Coach! If your swimmer is interested, we can help you pick a meet that is a good fit for your swimmer.  Some meets are designed for more experienced swimmers and some are targeted towards younger, less experienced swimmers.  Just ask your Coach and we'll help you find the perfect first meet!

What To Take To A Swim Meet

1. Swimsuit, LRST cap, goggles and 2 towels. It’s also a good idea to have an extra suit, cap, and pair of goggles handy.

2.Old blanket, or chair. Something comfy for you and/or your swimmer to sit on.  You’ll be here a while.

3. WARM CLOTHING- staying warm is essential.

4. Ipods, books, entertainment, etc. Especially important if you are bringing youngsters who are not swimming! Good for parents too because these meets are lonnnngggggggg.

5. Healthy snacks and drinks. Water, Gatorade, granola bars, fruit, yogurt, cereal, trail mix, sandwiches, bagels.

6. Sharpie marker, pen, highlighter- swimmers like to write their event numbers, lanes, and heats on their hands so they know what their ‘schedule’ for the day is.

7. SUNSCREEN FOR SUMMER MEETS.  These meets are long. Sun screen is essential.

*Special Parents’ Note= If it’s an indoor meet, the pool area is usually very warm. Make sure you dress appropriately. Nothing is worse than being hot at a swim meet. It makes the time pass very slowly!

Before the Meet Starts

1. Arrive at the pool at least 15 minutes before the scheduled warm-up time begins. Warm-up times are listed in the meet information posted on www.lakeerieswimming.com the Thursday before every meet. Often coaches announce or post exact warm-up times before a meet as well.  Warm-up times will also be emailed out as available.

2. Find a place to put your swimmer’s “stuff.” Typically, the team will sit together in a common area (gym, cafeteria, grass or tented area for outdoor meets).  At meets with larger deck space, swimmers will all sit together on deck.  Look for a teammate or coach to direct you to our area. Parents sit in the stands (not allowed on deck per USA swimming rules).  Also parents should be prepared to pay an entrance fee at all meets.

3. Help your swimmer find the coaches. Look for coaches on deck to let them know you are at the meet.

4. Find a heat sheet to purchase, or share with another parent. Heat sheets are usually available for sale in the lobby or concession area of the pool and generally sell for $5. It lists all swimmers in each event in order of “seed time”. If the meet is ‘preseeded’ this is where you will find what heat and lane your swimmer is in for each event.  If the meet is ‘deck seeded’ there will only be ‘psych sheets’ for sale which will not list heat and lanes.  IMPORTANT: At a meet that is deck seeded your swimmer will need to ‘circle in’ as soon as they arrive.  The area to circle will usually be clearly marked and manned by a volunteer parent. The swimmer will need to circle their name under each event they are swimming.

5. Swimmers report to the pool for warm-ups.  This is a good time for parents to relax, settle in, and get some food while the kids are busy!

6. Swimmers return to the LRST team area after warm-ups.  This is a good time for swimmers to find heats and lanes. Most swimmers will want to write heat and lanes on their hands with a sharpie.

7. The meet will usually start about 10-15 minutes after warm-ups are over.

The Meet Starts

1. Know what events your swimmer is competing in. It is important for swimmer to know what event numbers he is swimming. As mentioned, if the meet is deck-seeded, heat and lane assignments will be posted after warm-ups.

2. Listen for event announcements. Upcoming events are usually announced over the loudspeaker, asking swimmers to report to the starting blocks or to the “clerk of course”, a staging area used at very large meets or for swimmers 10 years and younger. The clerk of course will line swimmers up and direct them to their lanes and organize them. All they have to do is get to clerk of course. Swimmers should report with cap and goggles.

3. Check in with the coaches. LRST coaches will be on deck all meet.  Swimmers can come find a coach with any question.

4. Report to the blocks. The timers (usually volunteer parents from the host team) behind the starting blocks often check to make sure that swimmers are lined up in the right order. However, it is always a good idea to have your swimmer check in with the lane timers to make sure they are in the right lane and heat.

5. Parents, find a seat. According to USA Swimming rules, parents are not allowed on deck unless they are serving in an official capacity. Parents must sit in the spectator area, usually bleachers on the side of the pool.

6. Swimmers, swim your race and HAVE FUN. Time to see how all that hard work in practice pays off! After each race, swimmers should report immediately to their coach. Remember, you can’t control how fast everyone else swims…only how fast you swim!

7. Repeat above steps until all events have been completed.  When  you have a break from swimming… CHEER ON YOUR TEAMMATES!

8. Final check in with the coaches before heading home.  When a swimmer has completed all of his events for the day, he/she is able to go home. IMPORTANT: Be sure, however, to 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.

9. Results: Results will likely be posted in a hallway or common area of the meet.  Make sure your swimmer knows their times. This is the best way to track progress. Swimmers should know their times so they have a goal to beat!  Also, remember that swimmers are competing against the entire event…not just their heat.  Results will be posted that include all heats (so if your swimmer wins their heat…they might still get 10th overall!)

10. Most important: Ask for help! If during any of this you feel lost or confused, be sure to ask other parents for help! We have all had our “first meets” and know it can be overwhelming. Once you have attended one or two meets, it will all become very routine and even enjoyable.  

HAVE FUN!