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Swim Meet Primer


Swim Meet Primer


Advice for Parents

A.  Encourage your swimmers to know their events and times.

B.  Encourage your swimmers to develop a unique routine (1-2 minutes) that works for them before their events.  This is one of the things that can be fun for creative swimmers to think about, and it is an easy way for parents to discern whether or not their swimmer is thinking about event preparation.  After awhile, before every time I swam, I performed the same routine of swinging my arms, standing with good posture, breathing properly and warming up my body.  It was my way....

C.  Keep track of the progression of the meet so your swimmer does not miss their event or forget to talk to the coach.

D.  Let the coaches coach.  Your support is essential in getting the athletes to the pool on time (with enough sleep) and prepared.   

E.  At the meet, look for other Spartan parents. Try to sit in the same area. This will help build the friendships for both you and your swimmer. Also, as you’re "learning the ropes", seek out more experienced parents.  They can help answer any questions you might have.

F.  At least for the first, few meets, get there early. Getting familiar with the setup at the pool will help relieve stress of a crowded meet. Please let your coach know prior to the meet if your swimmer will be arriving late or leaving early.

G.  Dress for comfort, both winter and summer. Layers work well and if you’re not sure about seating, always bring a few compact beach/pool chairs.

H.  Although not required, swimmers should have a Spartans team cap and bathing suit.  

    I.  Good behavior at the meet is expected. When not swimming, swimmers should stay with the team and not be disruptive or distracting to others who are prepping for an event.


Different Pools Can Be Different Lengths


There are 3 different lengths of swimming pool in which we swim.  Here at practice we swim in a 25 meter pool.  1 meter = 3.2808399 feet (3 feet 3⅜ inches) so 25 meters = 82.02 feet.  Most pools, like the one in Yonkers is 25 yards.  1 yard = 3 feet so 25 yards = 75 feet.  The pool this weekend is 50 meters, so it is double the length of our pool.  This is the kind of pool that you will see this summer on television during the Olympics. Because it is so long, there are no 25s.  A 25 only gets you halfway across, meaning the shortest race is a 50 and it is only 1 length.  


Short Course Yards (SCY) - 25 yards - 75 feet

A.  Fastest times as it is the shortest pool

B.  USA Swimming SCY season is Nov-Apr

C.  Most WFSL or Summer League meets are swam SCY

Short Course Meters (SCM) - 25 meters - 82.02 feet

A.  Depending on how fast the swimmer is moving, times for a 50 SCM are approximately 1.5-3 seconds slower than that of SCY  

B.  USA SCM season is Sep-Nov but there are few SCM pools in the area

C.  Our pool is SCM

Long Course Meters (LCM) - 50 meters - 164.04 - “Olympic Length”

A.  Slowest times as pool is longer and there are no walls to gain momentum

B. Times are approximately 4.5-7 seconds slower than SCY and than 3-5 seconds slower than SCM

C.  USA LCM season is Apr-Aug


Basic Reasons Why Swimmers Get DQ’d



A.  If you show up at a meet too late, your child will be scratched (and you still must pay entry fees).  All swimmers must be on time for warm-up.  If you are going to be late, make sure that you have a parent at the meet contact the coach or meet desk immediately.  Scratches are completed 15 minutes after warm-up begins.

B.  The swimmer reports to the starting area late.  All swimmers should be behind the blocks 7-10 minutes prior to their event and check in with the timer.


All Strokes - There are a few ways to get DQ’d that are common to all strokes.

A.  False Start

B.  If a swimmer pushes off the bottom or pulls on the lane rope.

C.  Swimmers may only travel up to 15 meters under water before they must surface.


Freestyle - It is hard to get DQ’d in the free, because it is a “free” style or any style the swimmer chooses.  Occasionally you will even see a swimmer in a free event choose to swim one of the other strokes.  (This is permissible and if the coach/swimmer arrange beforehand, the official can allow the time to count for a cut in another event providing the stroke is done legally)   


Backstroke - Very easy to get DQ’d although the rules are rather simple - stay on your back unless there is a turn.

A.  If a swimmer rolls over too soon in an effort to complete a backstroke flip-turn.    

B.  If a swimmer does not complete the race on her back.


Breaststroke - Very easy to get DQ’d, as there are many complicated rules.

A. Swimmers need to complete each length with a simultaneous 2 hand touch with their shoulders square to the wall.

B.  During the kick, both arms legs need to act in concert and the feet need to turn out.

C.  During the pull, the arms/hands are not permitted to travel past the abdomen and the elbow are not permitted to come completely out of the water.

D.  If an underwater pullout is used, the swimmer’s head must break the service for a breath before the arms sweep inward for the initial pull.


Butterfly - Very easy to get DQ’d, as fatigue sets in early and strokes break down.

A. Swimmers need to complete each length with a simultaneous 2 hand touch with their shoulders square to the wall.

B.  During the dolphin kick, the legs need to stay together and act in concert while the feet/toes remain pointed.   

C.  During the pull, the arms must act in concert and the elbows must completely break the plane of the surface.