Swim Meets

Swim Meets


Here at MSA, we believe that competitions are an important step in the progression each swimmer goes through as a swimmer, so we therefore encourage all our members to take part in the meets our club attends. At this point, however, none of our competitions are required.

At all NCS meets, the events in which swimmers compete are based on the age of the swimmer. Each age group has their own set of events chosen to ensure that swimmers compete in a wide variety of events without requiring any athlete to swim an event he or she is unable to do. Each age group also has its own set of time standards designed to provide a set progression of improvement relative to the group’s age and physical maturity, while also ensuring that swimmers always compete against other swimmers of similar ability.  The USA Swimming designated age groups are 8 & Under, 11-12, 13-14, 15-16, and Senior/Open.

At almost all meets MSA attends, swimmers compete only against swimmers of the same gender and in the same age group.  Heat and Lane placement is determined by their best time, which means your swimmer will always compete in a heat of swimmers of roughly the same ability level.

DQ (Disqualified)
(Sorry, it’s not Dairy Queen!) This indicates that the swimmer has been disqualified from the event. Swimmers can be disqualified for a variety of reasons, including moving on the starting block, false starts, wrong stroke or kick, not touching the wall correctly. Officials monitor the swimmers to ensure that they are performing correctly.

Deck Entry
On-site registration for a race. Most entries are submitted prior to the start of the meet. That way, the host team can plan for the number of swimmers, the number of heats, etc. Often there is at least one heat in an event that is not filled. If there are extra lanes available, swimmers may sign up the day of the meet. Only Coaches are able to submit deck entries.

Fly-Over Start
Swimmers start the next race before swimmers finishing the previous race have exited the pool. The starters actually “fly-over” the heads of the other swimmers who are waiting by the wall. This method of starting is a bit disconcerting at first (especially if you’re the one waiting in the pool!), but it saves time and keeps the heats flowing smoothly.

Chase Starts
Heats alternate which end they start from and begin before the previous heat has a chance to finish while giving them enough space to complete the race and get out before the two swimmers meet.  These starts are generally only done in Long Course Meters (LCM).

Heats are races within the same event. Most pools have 6-8 lanes. A heat consists of 6-8 swimmers at a time. If there are more swimmers than lanes available, there will be multiple heats for a single event. Within a heat, swimmers are also ordered fastest to slowest. Faster swimmers will be in the center lanes. Slower swimmers will be in the outer lanes.

Heat Sheet/Program
A list of swimmers competing in each event. Swimmers are listed by heats with the slowest swimmers at the beginning and the fastest swimmers at the end.

I.M. (Individual Medley)
An event in which all four strokes are swum in the following order: Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, Freestyle. Rules for turns in the IM are slightly different than events with only one stroke. Be sure to review with the coach what is the proper technique if you are unsure.

N.T. (No Time)
Appears after a swimmer’s name to indicate that the swimmer does not have an official USA Swimming time recorded for this event.



Meets: How to Enter

1. Log into your account at www.msaswim.com. Click on the Events Tab to see a list of all Swim Meets MSA will be attending.

Please Note each meet has a sign-up deadline. You will receive an email 7 days from each deadline. Once the deadline has past we cannot enter swimmers.

2. Swim meets are designated by practice group, please read the description to see if the meet is for your child's practice group before committing to it

(Example: If your child is in Red, look to see if "Red" is listed in the Description).

At the end of each season at our Championship meets, Swim meets will be designated by qualifying times. This means needing a certain time in order to qualify for the meet.

*If you have questions about which meets to attend, please verify with your child's coach.

3. First click the Edit Commitment button for desired Swim Meet.

4. Select and Commit each child you would like to attend the swim meet.

5. You should see a list of available events for your child, it is recommended that you do not select events. If no events are selected, your child's coach will enter events as they see fit but if you edit the events then we will not add to your entry.

If you do not see a list of events, that is OK. You can still commit to attending the meet.

6. If needed you may type a message in the Comments box if you would like the coaches to see it. This can be where you list events your child would like to swim would go or if you can only attend one day of the meet.

7. Click Save to finish. If Save is not clicked your child's entry will not be added to the meet.

After the deadline, MSA Coaches will send in our team entry to the meet and your account will be billed automatically. You will not send anything into the meet.

The day after the deadline of a meet all meets fees are paid to the host swim team. Swim meets do not refund fees, so you must pay meet fees weather you attend or not. Please make sure you are going if you sign up to attend.

Following these steps to sign up for a swim meet is all you will need to do and the MSA Coaches will handle the rest. After the deadline, we cannot edit our entry nor can we refund a meet entry.


Meets: What to Expect

Meets can get very crowded and very stressful. These are some things we do to ensure a smooth meet and to reduce the chances of swimmers getting overwhelmed.

Be sure to arrive at the meet for warmups before the Meet starts. Warmups generally begin an hour before the meet starts so please plan accordingly, either find out when the meet starts and subtract an hour or check the Meet Information in the Events page.

Come Prepared
Meets are long, be prepared to have a small meal at a meet, dry change of clothes after a meet, and extra towels or clothes during the meet to stay warm aside from what a swimmers needs to compete; goggles, suit, and cap.

Only swimmers are allowed on deck
Not only is this an NCS and USA Swimming rules but it does help reduce the clutter of people on deck at any given moment. So please, if it is not vital, try to wait until your kid comes to you but if it is important try getting either your kids’ or coach's attention.

Writing on Arms
You may notice that your swimmer has a bunch of writing on their arm. This is so the swimmer knows when their race is, it is the swimmers' responsibility to be at the block and ready to swim at the time of their race.  Coaches will help the newer swimmers but veteran swimmers will need to take the responsibility.

On their arms are three letters: E, H, L. These stand for Event, Heat, Lane and tell the swimmer what Event they are competing in, what Heat for that Event they will be in, and what Lane in the Heat they will swim in, usually followed by a distance or stroke.

These letters and numbers are written in a grid pattern like so:








200 I.M




50 Fly

Your swimmer’s first Event would be #27, Heat #4, and Lane #6 swimming the 200 I.M. Their second Event would be #33, Heat #2, and Lane #1 swimming the 50 Fly. This helps out Coaches and swimmers both and aren’t just doodles on arms!