First Meet Basics

First Meet Basics

We know the first meet is a new and overwhelming experience.  Some swimmers cannot wait to compete while others are hesitant and sometimes terrified.  Either way, the coaches are ready for everything and anything and are there to support you and your swimmer during their first meet!  Below you will find some helpful information as you and your family prepare for your first meet.  We are confident that it will be a positive experience which only gets easier meet to meet.  

Remember, if you have any questions please be sure to ask.  

What do I need to bring to the meet?

It is advised that you pack your meet necessities the night before to ensure you don't forget anything!

  • Competition suit - remember you can purchase a team suit from our Elsmore Team Site
  • Two-towels - because one wet towel is never enough!
  • Goggles - preferably bring two pairs in case the primary pair breaks
  • Piranhas Swim Cap - all swimmers must wear the team cap if they choose to wear caps.  (Coaches have caps available at the meet.  Caps will be billed to your account)
  • Swim Bag (duffle bag or back pack) - to keep their stuff dry on the pool deck
  • Hydrating beverages and healthy snacks - keep those energy levels high!!

When do we arrive at the meet?  Where do the swimmers meet?

A few days before the meet, the coaches will post, on the Event Page, all important information for the upcoming meet including, arrival/warm-up times, pool location, the meet timeline, and the meet program.  In general, we ask that swimmers arrive to the pool 15 minutes before warm-up time to ensure proper warm-up, secure our seats, and just get comfortable with the environment.  

Once swimmers arrive to the pool, a coach will already be on the pool deck.  Find your coach and get ready for warm-up!  We ask that our swimmers sit on deck with the team, although occasional visits with parents are completely acceptable!

Are parent's allowed on deck? 

USA-Swimming rules prohibit parents to be on deck with their swimmers unless they are an official or volunteering for the meet.  We ask that parent's sit in the designated spectator area while their swimmers sit with their teammates on deck.  Swimmers are allowed to visit with their families during the meet! 

How do I know when my swimmer's race will be?

As stated above, an individual entry list by swimmer, the Meet Timeline, and the Meet Program will be posted on each meet's Event Page.  The individual entry list will show the exact events that each swimmer will compete in.  The Meet Timeline will show a mostly accurate time as to when each event will begin, as well as the start and finish of the meet.  The Meet Program will show the exact heat and lane that the swimmers will be in.  For almost every meet, the meet program will be provided to us before the meet.  Parents must bring their own meet programs to the pool as they usually are not available for purchase at the meet.  Meets are well organized! 

Don't worry, the coaches will always make sure that each swimmer is ready for their race! 

What is a disqualification (DQ)?

Each of the competitive strokes has certain rules to follow in order to execute the stroke properly and fairly as determined by USA-Swimming.  Trained officials observe the swimmers during each race to ensure compliance. If an official is witness to an infraction of the rules, a disqualification (DQ) will result, meaning that the swimmer will not receive an official time.  A disqualification may result from actions such as not getting to the starting blocks on time, false starting, 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.

It takes a long time and a few experiences to learn all the rules about each stroke and then physically perform them during competition.  Disqualifications are not uncommon with new swimmers.  The coaches will use disqualifications to further teach the strokes.

Other Informative Materials

- How to read a heat sheet (informative document HERE)

- Please check out our Parent's Education page for more helpful information about meets and competition!