New to Meets?

Common Questions about Swim Meets

What time should my swimmer arrive?

Please plan to have your swimmer ready to get in the pool approximately 15 minutes prior to the start of warm ups. They will need to stay with the team during warm-ups, if they want to go talk to a parent that is fine but we ask that it’s a quick chat and they come right back. It is hard for us to keep track of all the swimmers and we don’t want anyone to miss warm-ups.

What will my swimmer need to wear? What do they need to bring?

Your swimmer should wear their Sea Devil swim cap, a suit and goggles. 

We recommend you also pack extra towels and flip flops or some type of deck shoes for the pool deck. Please LABEL EVERYTHING!! After each meet we always find something that has been left behind, or several kids will have the same outfits. It helps us a lot if there is a name or an initial on the tags.

Swimmers will need a healthy drink and snack; we suggest fruit or veggie slices, half of a bagel with peanut butter, power bar (any type) and Gatorade/powerade or water. We do not allow junk food on the pool deck.

Swimmers should keep their belongings with them on the pool deck or with family in the camping area. We do not recommend leaving things in locker rooms due to items being stolen in the past. Many kids will bring I-pods on the pool deck to help them get into their zone, that is fine.

What is an event?

An event is their “race.” There are 4 strokes in competitive swimming: Freestyle, Backstroke, Breaststroke and Butterfly. There is also an IM which stands for Individual Medley. The IM consists of equal lengths of all 4 strokes in the following order: Fly, Back, Breaststroke, Freestyle.

A relay is an event where 4 swimmers each swim an equal distance. When the first swimmer finishes, the next swimmer goes until all 4 have completed their lap(s). There are freestyle relays where all swimmers swim Freestyle, as well as the Medley Relay. In a Medley Relay each swimmer swims a different stroke. The Medley Relay is swum in the following order: Backstroke, Breaststroke, Butterfly, Freestyle.

How many events can they swim in a day?

This varies by meet.  The description of each meet will indicate how many events they can swim, and the event registration system will ensure you do not select incorrect or too many events. 

Coaches will finalize the events a swimmer will compete in.


As coaches we try our best to get kids into relays. It will depend on how many swimmers there are for each age group and gender. Sometimes we don’t have enough kids for everyone to be able to be in a relay. Some meets a swimmer may be in a relay one day and not the next. Again we will try to do our best to make sure sometime during the season each swimmer gets an opportunity to participate in a relay.

Relays are typically added by the coaches once the meet entries are finalized.  If you do not wish to do relays, be sure to include that note when you register your swimmer for a meet. 

What is a 50? What is a 100?

All of our practices and all meets during the Fall/Winter season are in a 25 yard short course pool.  So the 50 yard free is two lengths of the pool, a 100 is 4 lengths, and so on. In the Spring/Summer season, some meets are swam in a 50 meter long course pool.  This means that the 50 meter free is one length, a 100 is 2 lengths, and so on. 

In meets they need to be able to swim the full event without stopping. The coaches will help you determine if yours wimmer is ready for longer event.  Most swimmers will start by only swimming 50s. 

Heats and Lanes?

The number of heats is determined by the number of swimmers and the number of lanes in a pool. For example if 32 girls in the 9-10 yr old group sign up for 50 free, then there would be 4 heats of 8 swimmers in each heat. The heats are typically set up from slowest to fastest. So the last heat in each event has the fastest swimmers for that event. Swimmers with "NT" (does not have a time in that event) will be assigned to the first heats.  

Lanes are also assigned based on times within a heat.  In an 8 lane pool Lane 4 has the fastest swimmer in each heat, then lane 3, lane 5, lane 2, lane 6, lane 1, and lane 7.

Writing on your swimmers arms and legs?

It’s a swimming thing…that’s all I can say! Events, heats and lanes are written on a hand, arm or leg with a sharpie so the swimmers always know where to be. We ask that the parents help do this, as you can imagine there are a lot of swimmers and only a couple coaches! To do this, you can looking up your swimmer in the meet program - there you will find the exact event, heat and lane.  Having this info on your swimmer also helps the coaches ensure swimmers are in the right place!

Here's an example of what to write:

You and your swimmer can also use this as a guide, as it helps teach the swimmers to follow along with the meet. They watch the score board for the current event and heat, and know where we are at in the meet and how much time they have before their next event.

Meet Sessions

Weekend meets generally have two sessions, a morning and afternoon session. Pay close attention to the meet information it will tell you if you swimmers events are morning or afternoon and what time to arrive for warm-ups. Typically the older swimmers will compete in the afternoon sessions, but again always double check because occasionally the meet start times or sessions will change.

What is "Camping"?

When we mention "camping", it means that you have the option to hang out in the designated "camping" area rather than sitting in the bleachers for the whole meet.  Many families choose to do this, as the pool has limited seating space, and it gets a bit warm in there!  We recommend you bring some camping chairs and blankets to sit and relax on.  Your swimmer can come sit with you in the camping space, but they can't sit in the bleachers! Often times pools will have temporary seating in the pool bleachers for families who are camping so they can go in and grab a seat a bit before the event and heat their swimmer is in, watch their race, then head back to camp!

Please note:  Sometimes there is a designated space that we want our swimmers to be in for the whole meet.  Sometimes its space on the pool deck, or in a nearby area.  This is where we will call for events and look for swimmers before each race.  

Swimming Standards & DQ’s (disqualilfications)

USA Swimming has standards for each stroke, start, and turn. Minnesota swimming is governed by USA Swimming and there are officials at each meet that you will see on the pool deck, wearing white. If a swimmer is disqualified you will see them raise their arm. We as coaches will receive a slip of paper that explains to us what the swimmer did incorrectly. We call these a DQ. As a developmental swimmer you can expect these, they are a part of the learning process. We may or may not discuss these directly with each swimmer. At each meet the results are posted on wall (somewhere) outside the pool. If your swimmer gets a DQ their name will be listed on the bottom of the result sheet with the letters DQ next to it. What this means is that what ever time they swim will not count. If they got their best time ever, it will not count and they will have to swim it again in the next meet. Please do not worry about this at all! These kids are young and most of them are brand new to the sport. We have not had enough practice time yet for them to understand all of this. Tell them what a great job they did!

Coaches Coach, Parents Cheer

After each event we ask your swimmer to come talk to the coaches first. It is best when we have their race fresh in our minds to go over a quick review with them. Then they can come and visit with you. Please give them positive feedback!!! You are their biggest cheerleaders and they need to hear from you how great they did! The first few meets are tough and we usually have one or two swimmers in tears, we strongly encourage you to let us take them under our wing, trust us they will be fine and they will have a great time! Remember they have only been swimming for a short time and this is all new to them. We will try hard to make these first meets a fun, memorable experience for you and swimmer.