"Swimming is what we DO!"
SWIM MEETS 101
Information About Meets First, sign into the MCA website using your login information. A list of upcoming events is located on the homepage, or in the “Events” section on the website. Click the event to take you to information about the event, as well as a meet packet (if it is available). Information you may be looking for includes:
Eligibility – Some meets are open for all swimmers. Other meets require swimmers have achieved A, B, or C times. Time standards will be listed. Some meets are P/T/F, which means Prelims, Timed, Finals. These particular meets allow swimmers to swim Prelim races in the morning, followed by younger swimmers racing timed events in the afternoon session (similar to a regular meet), followed by the morning prelim swimmers returning in the evening for a Finals swim.
Entry Limit – Swimmers are typically allowed to enter 1-2 events on Friday evenings and 4 events per day on Saturday and Sunday. Swimmers decide the number of days they wish to participate in any given meet.
Events – The last pages of the meet information packet list all events offered at the meet. You will as see them when you click your swimmer to attend the meet.
Registering for a Meet You enter your swimmer in a meet when the meet is posted on the MCA website. You must be logged into the team site to sign up for a meet. Click on the event/meet you want to attend, click “attend/decline” in the top right corner and follow the instructions. Swimmers decide which events they would like to swim at meets, but they should swim a variety of distances and strokes. Coaches will usually leave notes on the event registration page with regard to races they suggest particular practice groups register for. Late registrations will not be accepted.
Arrive Early Check the meet packet for specific warm-up times for your age-group and please arrive early enough so that your swimmer is on-deck in the team area 15 minutes before warm-ups begin. Please allow extra time for your swimmer to check in (see below), walk through the locker rooms and say hello to an MCA coach.
Swimmer Check-In Positive check-in is required at almost all swim meets. This means that every swimmer must find and highlight their name on the Check-In Sheet (usually posted near the entrance of the locker rooms) which indicates to the meet official that they are there to swim their events. Swimmers will be scratched from their events if they fail to do this before the Check-in Deadline (which is typically 15 minutes after the start of warm-ups) and no refunds will be offered by the meet host. If you’re stuck in traffic on the way to a meet and you think that you’ll miss the check-in deadline, please try to contact a friend at the meet and ask them to highlight your swimmer’s name. Once "checked in,” write (or have your swimmer write) each event-number on his/her hand in sharpie. This helps swimmers remember what events they are swimming and what event number to listen/watch for. This is a good tutorial for our younger swimmers: http://www.swimteamlifestyle.com/2014/04/marking-swimmers-arms-with-events.html?m=1 At check in, write your swimmer's event in a graph type style similar to the link above, leave the heat/lane assignment blank and coaches will fill those in after the heat sheets are released and before they race. With limited time and many swimmers to tend to, it is a tremendous help to our coaches to have this done before the swimmers are on deck!
Whistles and Starter’s Command There are 5-6 short whistle blasts before the start of each heat. The whistle is an indication to the swimmer to be prepared to step onto the starting block. Next, the swimmer will hear one long whistle, which means to step onto the block. The official will then say, “Swimmers, take your mark,” followed by a beep sound, which means GO!
D.Q. (Disqualification) A DQ occurs when a rule or rules have been broken. An official will speak with the swimmer regarding the rule that was broken. This is a normal part of swimming. As we learn, the coaches will focus on getting the swimmer to make the necessary corrections for the future.
Dive-Overs When a swimmer has finished a race of 50 yards or longer, they are to stay in the water. The next heat will dive over the swimmers that just finished their race (upon the starter’s command). The swimmer in the water is to be either to the left or the right of the starting block in case the swimmer on the block falls in the water. We don’t want any injuries.
Touchpads The touchpads are located in the water at the starting block end. Swimmers are to touch the pad 3 inches under water to trigger the touchpad to stop. If a swimmer reaches the wall and the timer on the scoreboard keeps running, it is usually because the swimmer touched the top of the pad which rests on the gutter. Usually the meet officials will make a correction when there is a large discrepancy in time between what is showing on the scoreboard and what the backup timers (people standing behind the blocks with stopwatches) logged.
Get Your Time After swimming your race, ask your timer for your time. This is necessary because sometimes the scoreboard will malfunction or there will be a “bad touch” as noted above and the coaches want an idea as to what the swimmer’s time is.
See Coach for Feedback It is important, after every race, to see an MCA coach on deck for feedback about your race. The coaches are really good at seeing what needs to be adjusted in your technique. Their feedback from a race is meant to help you fine tune your strokes and give you points to focus on during future practices so you can improve for your next meet. Depending on the coach’s instructions, the swimmer may be asked to do some recovery swimming if a "warm down" pool or lanes are available.
Swim Meet Apparel MCA team caps are required at meets. Please only show up to swim meets wearing MCA team apparel. Apparel from other club or high school teams is not acceptable. During the meet season, it is a must that each swimmer wear a shirt, shorts or pants, and even shoes. This is to keep the muscles warm and loose. Remember, shivering expends energy. Shivering = tight muscles. Tight muscles = slow swims. Slow swims = unhappiness. Olympic swimmers are covered from head to toe with gear plus swimming parkas. Why? Warm muscles = fast swims. You are expected to wear this apparel to the block. When the heat before you is in the water, you should remove the extra apparel and be ready to swim.
Team Area It is imperative that each swimmer clean up after themselves and their teammmates. We want to leave the facility as we found it. If you notice any trash in the MCA area, please throw it away even if it is not yours. This is a reflection on our team and we always want to have a tidy area when we leave.
Results Results from each race are usually posted somewhere in the facility. You can also download Meet Mobile for your cell phone. Meet Mobile is a good tool to track your swimmer’s progress and also gives real time results for most USA Swim meets. Awards are often gathered for a team and given to the coach at the end of the meet. Coaches will get the awards to swimmers at a later practice.
Plateaus A swimmer will ultimately find themselves in such a situation. How does a swimmer respond? Either give up or work through it. One plateau may last for a short period of time such as a month. Another plateau may last 6 months. How does a simmer respond? Keep working hard at practice. Keep trusting in the coaches. Keep believing in yourself.