Meets 101

How to Register for a Swim Meet.

Meet Expectations.

Meets 101

1. What to bring:

  • Team suit, team cap, goggles

    • It’s good to have an extra cap and goggles just in case one breaks.

  • Towels (2 to dry off with… your child will be in and out of the pool a few times)

  • Blanket to sit on in between events or a chair.

  • Team t-shirt (represent!)

  • Warm ups or something to keep your swimmer warm between events.

    • Dry clothes for after the meet.

  • Games, a book, or something constructive to do between events.

  • Food.  There usually is a concession stand but consider bringing healthy snacks.

    • Suggestions: water, Gatorade, granola bars, sandwich, fruit, veggies, nuts…

  • Water bottle or sports drink.

  • Pen or sharpie marker to write events on their hand.


2. Day of the meet:

  • Make sure your swimmer gets adequate rest the night before a swim meet. Eat a healthy breakfast before arriving at the meet.

  • Arrive at least 15 minutes before warm ups begin.

  • Swimmers should write down their event, heat and lane assignment down before the meet starts.

  • Parents are not allowed on deck during USA swim meets. Meet your child in the hallway or gym if they need to see you during the meet.  Swimmers are encouraged to stay on deck during the meet so they don’t miss their events.

  • If there is a clerk of course, swimmers are required to check in there before their event to get lined up correctly.  Typically, clerk or courses are provided at USA meets for younger swimmers.

  • After swimmers complete their race, they should see their coach immediately.

  • Swimmers must check with their coach before changing to leave the meet.



Trained officials observe the swimmers during each event to ensure compliance with these technical rules.  If a swimmer commits an infraction of the rules that is observed by an official, a disqualification (DQ) will result. This means that the swimmer will not receive an official time and will not be eligible for an award in that event.  A DQ may result from actions such as not getting to the starting blocks on time, false starting, and performing strokes in an illegal manner, or unsportsman­like conduct


DQs are also a result of technical rules violations. They include but are not limited to:  

  • Freestyle: Walking on the bottom, pulling on the lane rope, not touching the wall on a turn, or not completing the distance.
  • Backstroke: Pulling or kicking into the wall once a swimmer has turned passed the vertical onto the breast. Turning onto the breast before touching the wall with the hand at the finish of the race.
  • Breaststroke: An illegal kick such as flutter (freestyle), dolphin (butterfly), or scissors (side stroke); not on the breast; alternating movements of the arms; taking two arm strokes or two leg kicks while the head is under water; touching with only one hand at the turns or finish. 
  • Butterfly: Alternating movements of the arms or legs; pushing the arms forward under instead of over the water surface (underwater recovery); a breaststroke style of kick; touching with only one hand at the turns or finish.

If your child is DQed in an event, be supportive rather than critical.  For beginning swimmers, getting DQed should be treated as a learning experience, not as a punishment.  A DQ alerts the swimmer and coach to what portions of the swimmer's stroke need to be corrected.  DQs are necessary to keep the competition fair and equitable for all competitors.  A supportive attitude on the part of the official, coach, and parent can make a positive situation out of the disqualification.