Swim Meet Basics

Swim Meet Basics


Listed below are some very in-depth guidelines geared to help you through your first couple of swim meets. It may seem a little overwhelming, but we tried to be as specific and as detailed as we possibly could. If you have any questions, please ask your coach.



1. Arrive at the pool at least 20 minutes before the scheduled warm-up time begins. This time will be listed in the meet information,

2. Upon arrival, your swimmer will be the only person allowed on the pool deck. Please have them look for a coach or their team. The team usually sits in one place together, so look for some familiar faces.


3. It is very important for all swimmers to warm-up with the team. A swimmer's body is just like a car on a cold day he/she needs to get the engine going and warmed-up before he/she can go all out.

4. After warm-up, your swimmer will go back to the area where his/her team is sitting and wait there until his first event is called. This is a good time to make sure he/she goes to the bathroom if necessary, gets a drink, or just gets settled in.

5. The meet will usually start about 10-15 minutes after warm-ups are over.  

6. Per USA Swimming rules (because of insurance purposes), parents are not allowed on deck unless they are serving in an official capacity. Similarly, all questions concerning meet results, an officiating call, or the conduct of a meet, should be referred to a coach. He or she in turn, will pursue the matter through the proper channels.



1. It is important for any swimmer to know what event numbers he/she is swimming (again, why they should have the numbers on their hand). He/she may swim right away after warm-up or they may have to wait awhile.

2. Most meets are computerized. There are generally two ways a swimmer gets to his/her lane:

o A swimmer usually reports directly to his/her lane for competition a number of heats before he/she actually swims. Check with your swimmer's coach for specific instructions.


3. The swimmer swims his or her race.

4. After each swim:

o He/she is to ask the timers (people behind the blocks at each lane) his/her time. o Depending on the coach’s instructions, the swimmer may be asked to do some recovery swimming if a "warm down" pool or lanes are available.

o The swimmer should then go immediately to his or her coach. The coach will discuss the swim with each swimmer. Some coaches may wish to talk with the swimmer before her recovery swim.

5. Generally, the coach follows these guidelines when discussing swims:

o Positive comments or praise

o Suggestions for improvement

o Positive comments

6. Things you, as a parent, can do after each swim:

o Tell him how great he did! The coaching staff will be sure to discuss stroke technique with him. You need to tell him how proud you are and what a great job he did. o Take him back to the team area and relax.

o This is another good time to check out the bathrooms, get a drink or something light to eat.

7. The swimmer now waits until his next event is called and starts the procedure again. When a swimmer has completed all their events touch base with the coaches before going home. Make sure, however, you, as a parent, check with the coach before leaving to make sure your swimmer is not included on a relay. It is not fair to other swimmers who may have stayed to swim on a relay where your swimmer is expected to be a member and she is not there.

8. Results are usually posted somewhere in the facility. Awards are often gathered for a team and given to the coach at the end of the meet. The coach will give the awards to the swimmers later.