Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Swim Meets
Swim meets are a great family experience! They’re a place where the whole family can spend time together. Listed below are some very in-depth guidelines geared to help you though your first couple of swim meets. It may seem a little overwhelming, but we tried to be as specific and detailed as possible.
Meet Entry Fees
- Parents are required to pay their swimmer’s meet entry fees. Fees are added to the swimmers Team Unify account after the meet. Riptide pays the host club before the meet then parents reimburse Riptide.
- Meet fees vary by location and are set by the host team of the meet.
- For all away meets (not at BWAC), fees will include a coaching fee of $5 (local), $10 (hotel stay) or $15 (flight required). This fee is subject to change should the costs of travel/lodging be exorbitant.
- It is imperative that all families follow the meet entry accept/decline process outlined below.
- Swimmers are expected to participate in all meets in which they qualify. Once the deadline passes, meet fees are non-refundable EVEN IF A SWIMMER IS A NO SHOW THE FEES WILL BE CHARGED TO THE SWIMMER’S ACCOUNT
Meet Entry/Decline Procedure
We encourage all swimmers to attend all group/swimmer appropriate meets on the schedule.
- Parents are responsible for accepting the meets their swimmer wishes to attend using their Team Unify account.
- All parents are responsible for knowing the Riptide meet schedule. The meet schedule is posted on our team website and on our bulletin board.
- All parents are responsible for understanding which meets are specific to their swimmer.
- All parents are responsible for understanding the deadlines to ACCEPT/DECLINE through Team Unify. The deadline dates will be listed on the meet calendar, the particular meet page and will be noted in weekly email blasts.
The Day Before the Meet:
Swim Meets 101 Help Sheet
Be sure to check your child’s events before the meet deadline. They will be posted and emailed. Review it carefully. If you think that there are any mistakes in terms of their entry or events, contact Coach Amy Parratto, (amy@Riptideswimteam.org). A few days before the meet, check the meet information posted on our website. Go to “Team Events” to find the upcoming meet. When you click on the meet, the meet information provided by the meet host will be available to view and print. (Be aware that sometimes the meet information is not available until about four weeks before the entries are due. Once you are at the specific meet page on Riptide’s website, click on “edit commitment”, then go to “committed athletes”. You will be able to view your child’s events and see the sessions they are in. Print their events and warm-up details or write it down.
***We would like the swimmers to have a copy of their events in a small plastic bag for them to reference during the meet. A prepared swimmer is a relaxed swimmer!
Help your child pack their swim bag the night before the meet. Make sure they have their team suit, 2 pairs of goggles, team cap, team t-shirt, at least two towels, warm clothes if conditions require it, snack & water bottle. Be sure your child’s name is on everything!
The Day of the Meet:
Arrive at the pool at least 15 minutes before the scheduled warm-up time. Riptide will post details on our website the Tursday before the meet. Remember to send your swimmer with a list of their events. This will encourage swimmers to be responsible on deck.
Locate the Riptide team area on deck, have your child check in with his or her coach. Swimmers, coaches and officials are the only people permitted on deck. You will not be able to lead your child to the team area on deck or be on deck at any point during the meet. This is a USA Swimming Rule and will be strictly enforced.
Once the swimmer has found a spot to sit with the team, they should report back to the coach for their warm-up instructions. It is very important for all swimmers to warm up with the team. Swimmer’s bodies are like cars on a cold day – they need to warm up their engine before racing.
What do you do? Find the other Riptide team parents and get an area together. Wear your Riptide gear. We want parents to cheer for everyone on the team. Let’s do everything we can to support the goal of being a TEAM. If Riptide is hosting the meet at Bluewater Aquatic Center, all parents will have a job assignment to help run a successful swim meet.
After the warm-up, the coaches will write the heat and lane on each swimmer’s hand so that they remember where to go. The swimmers should make sure that they go to the bathroom before the meet and/or their events begin. Sometimes new swimmers forget this detail! If time allows and only after checking with the coach, swimmers can check in with their parents to let them know what heat and lane they will be in.
Because parents aren’t allowed on deck, make sure you tell your child to check in with you throughout the meet. However, swimmers should always let their coach know if they are leaving the team area. We don’t want anyone to miss their event!
A meet program, (known as a psych sheet), is usually available for sale in the lobby, concession area or entrance to the meet. Most B/C meets are pre-seeded in Minnesota Swimming rather than seeded at the meet with a check-in process. The program lists the swimmers in each event in order of their “seed times” and in a pre-seeded meet, their heat and lane assignments. When the team entry is sent in to the meet director, each swimmer and his/her previous best time is listed. If the swimmer is swimming an event for the first time, they will be entered as “NT”, (no time). A NT swimmer will most likely swim in one of the first heats of the event.
The Meet Begins:
1. It is important for any swimmer to know what event numbers he or she is swimming. Coaches or other swimmers will write the event #, heat, and lane on their hands. The swimmers may swim right away after the warm-up or they may have to wait a while.
2. When the event is posted, (a sheet of paper with the heats and lanes generated by the Hytek software program), the coaches and other swimmers help each other write down their heats and lanes. The coaches will pay special attention to brand new or very young swimmers. Generally, the girls’ events are odd-numbered and the boys’ events are even numbered. Example: “Event #26, 10 & under boys 50 Freestyle is now posted”.
3. The swimmer swims his / her race.
4. After each race: He/she is to ask the timers (people behind the starting blocks at each lane) his/her time.
5. Swimmers should always say “thank you” to the timers.
6. He/she should go immediately to their coach. The coach will ask his/her time and discuss the race with each swimmer.
Generally, the coach follows these guidelines when discussing a race:
-Positive comments or praise
-Suggestions for improvement
After Each Race Parents Should:
Tell your child how great they did! The coaching staff will be sure to discuss stroke technique, starts & turns with them. Please refrain from analyzing their races. You need to tell them how proud you are of them and what a great job they did. Plenty of High Fives and Hugs!
When the swimmers have completed all of their events and relays and have checked with the coach, then they may go home. At championship meets and dual/tri meets, relays are often included. All relay decisions will be made by the coaches at the meet. If you leave and your child was supposed to swim in a relay, that leaves three other swimmers without their fourth relay swimmer. Always check with the coach before leaving
The Race Didn’t Go Well…
If your child has a poor swim and comes out feeling bad, talk about the good things. The first thing to say is, “Hey, you gave it a good try and after all you are still my favorite, Susan, (give a hug).
Try to focus on the positive aspects of the race i.e. first time doing an event like the 50 butterfly etc. Help your child from dwelling on a “bad” race. Learn from it and move on…no one is perfect!
What to take to the meet:
- Team suit, team cap (for those who wear them), team t-shirt and goggles
- Baby powder (sample size) to dust the inside of the swim cap so that it is easier and less
painful to put on
- Towels – pack at least two
- Flip Flops or some type of deck sandal
- Something to sit on if there is not enough seating – old blanket, small beach chair
- Warm-ups or sweat shirts to stay warm
- Sharpie to write events on arm/hand
- Games – cards, books, coloring, small hand held computer games, etc.
- Food – Bring a small cooler with a water bottle, juice box or Gatorade/Powerade, fresh
fruit, cereal bars, energy bars, dry cereal, etc. NO GLASS! Usually, food is not allowed on the pool deck. We suggest that you keep the food with you and have swimmers come up for a snack. Swimmers should be sure to eat a healthy meal before the meet. Concessions are available at most meets but please encourage healthy choices.
- Plastic shopping bags for wet items
- A printed or written copy of your child’s events in a zip top baggie
Once you have attended one or two meets, this will all become very routine. Please do not hesitate to ask other parents, coaches or staff members if you have questions. These meets are a lot of fun for the swimmers. They get to hang out with their friends, play games, swim a few races and meet swimmers from other teams.
Special Parent’s Note
The pool area (for indoor meets) is usually very warm. Therefore, you need to make sure that you dress appropriately. Remember that only swimmers, meet workers, USA certified coaches and officials are allowed on deck. Last but not least, remember your cheering voice for your child and all of our Riptide swimmers!