NOW Partners
Swim Meets

This FAQ section has information about swim meets.

Does my swimmer have to swim in every swim meet ?

No, you do not have to swim every swim meet or all sessions available at a meet. 


How do I know when it is time to sign up for a swim meet ?

You will receive an email from NOW when a meet becomes available for sign-up.  (Note sign up deadline)

  • Click on Swim Meet Tab on home page then select event to review the meet packet.
  • This page also has the coach’s recommendations
  • Determine if you want your swimmer to participate in the meet.

How do I sign up?

After signing onto the NOW website, click on the event page.

  • Attend Event
  • Click Name
  • Commit or not
  • Choose events (refer to coach’s recommendations. You may enroll in more, less or different events than the coach recommends if you choose. It is always wise to consult with your swimmer’s coach to ensure your swimmer is ready for events.)
  • Check the Day and Session (see definition below)

How do I know what days/sessions the events are on?

Check the meet packet for the sessions corresponding to your swimmer’s age group. On the event sign up page there is a Day and Session column. Each day can have up to two sessions (AM/PM).

  • Day 1=The first day of the swim meet.
  • Day 2=The second day of the swim meet.
  • Day 3=The third day of the swim meet.

How long is a session?

A swim session usually runs about 4 hours, plus about an hour of warm-up.

Do I enter the entry time for the event?

Entry times are generally a swimmer’s fastest legal time in an event recorded in our database.  For some meets, such as the state championships, only the fastest times achieved in the last year are considered.  A swimmer who does not have a time in an event may be entered by the coach with no-time or a time estimate from a similar event or a practice.  

How do I know when the coach confirms entries?

A final meet entry document is posted on the event page before the meet. Please check to make sure that your swimmers events are correct. If there is a problem, PLEASE contact the coach as soon as possible.

How does my swimmer get into a relay?

The Coaches enter the swimmers into the relays.  If your swimmer can not stay for a relay, let the coach know as soon as possible, so a replacement can be found.  If you know when you are signing up for the event, indicate that the swimmer cannot stay in the “Notes” section.     

How do I pay my meet fees?

Meet entry fees are automatically added to your account balance and will be charged at the beginning of the next month. You will have the ability to review online invoices before your credit card is charged.

What age group will my swimmer be in?

Please note that the age of the swimmer depends on the type of meet.

  • For YMCA meets during the fall/winter, the swimmer’s age is based on his/her age as of December 1st and the swimmer swims with the same age group all season long.
  • For USA meets, the swimmer’s age is based on his/her age as of the first day of the meet and therefore may swim with different age groups during a single season.


How many meets does my swimmer need to participate in during a swim season?

It is not expected that swimmers will participate in all meets. However it is expected that swimmers will swim in enough YMCA regular season meets (three sessions) to ensure they are eligible for YMCA championship meets which begin in February.

What is an AB or BB meet ?

Some USA meets have qualifying times based on time standards. For example, the OLY meet in October is an AB meet. You must have a Michigan Swimming A or B time standard for your age as of the first day of the meet. The Circle City meet in Indianapolis in January uses USA Swimming BB time standards.


What are Championship Meets?

There are several levels of YMCA and USA swimming championship meets.  Some meets require time standards to be met while others do not.   All swimmers are expected to participate in championship meets for which they are eligible whether it be in an individual event or as a relay only swimmer. To participate in YMCA championship meets swimmers must also have swum in three YMCA meet sessions during the regular season and have been a member of the team for 90 days prior to the meet.

Where are the Time Standards?

Time Standards are found on the NOW website under the Top Times tab.

What should my swimmer eat before a swim meet?

The night before a swim meet, cut down on the fatty foods and eat plenty of carbohydrates and protein to provide energy for your swimmer.

Should my swimmer know the event information before arriving at the meet?

The swimmer should know what event #’s and the name of the event.  This info can be written on the swimmers hand with a permanent marker (particularly with the younger swimmers).  Heat and lane information is available in the program for YMCA meets and will be posted on deck prior to the start of the meet for USA meets. The coaches and seasoned swimmers will help the younger/new swimmers on deck to make sure they know heats/lanes.  Keep a spare permanent marker in the swim bag.

What should my swimmer do when we arrive at the swim meet?

Make sure you arrive at the meet 15 minutes early, this allows for your swimmer to have plenty of time to change and get prepared for the meet.  Make sure you know what time warm-ups start; it is usually 1 hour before the meet starts.

  • If it is an USA meet your swimmer must “CHECK-IN”.
  • The check-in sheets are usually located by the locker rooms.  If you cannot find them ask someone (a volunteer at the admissions table will know).  Be sure to HIGHLIGHT your swimmers name and all of the events.
  • The check-in closes usually 15 minutes after warm-ups have started.  If the swimmer fails to check-in the swimmer will not be able to swim any of their events for that session.

What if I am running late?

Contact another swimmer’s family you know in the same session.

What do the swimmers/ parents do after checked in?

After your swimmer checks-in the swimmer will proceed to the locker room to use if necessary and then proceed to the pool deck to find the team and inform the coaches they are there.

  • Parents are not allowed out on the pool deck, and depending on the meet, are not allowed in the locker rooms.
  • Spectator seating will be clearly marked near the admissions table.  Look for other NOW parents in the crowd. We encourage all families to sit together as a group at the meets in support of our team.

Can my swimmer leave the pool deck during a swim meet?

Swimmers are asked to stay in the team area.  This allows the coaches to make sure that each swimmer is ready for their event and behind the blocks at the appropriate time.  Also, it shows team spirit and support for other NOW swimmers.  If the swimmer needs to use the bathroom, get something to eat or visit with their parents, ask permission from a coach first.  It makes the coaches’ jobs easier if they know where you are for safety reasons, but also to ensure you are ready for your next event.

How does my swimmer know when to line up for their event?

In most meets, younger swimmers are marshaled (lined up in event order) prior to their event.  There are signs on deck telling the coaches and swimmers which event is being marshaled at the time.  Eleven and over swimmers are often not marshaled. They will need to watch the scoreboard for the event numbers.  If they are new to competition, they should ask their coach approximately when to go line up. Prior to swimming your event, meet with a coach to receive a race plan and review race strategy and goals.  After you swim your race, ask the lane timer for your time, and then visit again with a coach to receive a post-race analysis.

What should my swimmer take to a swim meet?

  • Wear your team t-shirt (provided by NOW) and/or warm-ups to show team spirit and pride. This will keep you warm after swimming.
  • Bring a swim bag containing two towels – one for during the meet and one for afterwards.
  • Cap and goggles (extras because caps can rip and goggles can break or get lost)
  • If possible wear your NOW logo caps (provided by NOW)
  • Team suit or a solid black suit.
  • Permanent marker to add heat/lane information to their hand.
  • Small, healthy snacks and water bottle
  • Change of clothes for after the meet.


What should I take to watch a swim meet?

If you have team apparel you can choose to wear it. It is great for the swimmers to see NOW parents in the stands. Apparel is available on the NOW website.

  • Admission Fee – Typically the fee is $4.00
  • There are meet programs to purchase if you desire.  They are usually $6.00.  The program lists all of the swimmers for each event for each session for each day along with their entry times.
  • You may take cameras and/or video cameras. PLEASE DO NOT take flash photography at the start of a race.  The start of a race is indicated with a beep and a flash of light. So if someone snaps a flash camera the swimmers may think that is the start of the race and false start.

Does my swimmer have to stay for the entire session?

No, although we encourage swimmers to cheer on their teammates, the swimmers are free to leave after their last event.  If you are leaving before any scheduled relays, check with the coach to make sure your swimmer has not been added to one.   PLEASE HAVE YOUR SWIMMER NOTIFY A COACH BEFORE LEAVING!

Are awards available at swim meets?

Check the meet packet. Each meet does awards differently.



Do I have to volunteer to help at the swim meets?

Yes, the team cannot host swim meets without the help of the membership.  Hosting swim meets is a NOW Parent Board fundraiser to support our swim program.

Do I have to volunteer in the session that my swimmer is swimming?

No, you may volunteer any session(s) that you prefer.

How do I sign-up to volunteer?

Emails will notify you when opportunities are available.