Your First Swim Meet Guide
Here are a few tips for going to a swim meet from some
experienced swim parents.
What to Bring:
Team suit, caps and goggles
Water bottles or sports drinks and healthy snacks such as fresh
fruit, energy bars, bagels, sandwiches etc. (Candy and sodas are
not good snacks for your swimmer.)
Sunscreen if it is an outdoor meet or if you are not sure whether
it is out or in
A black sharpie, a highlighter, and a pen
Sweats, t-shirts or a deck coat for a cold, wet swimmer
Whatever toiletries and clothing your child may need for changing
after the meet
Whatever medication (such as inhalers) your child may need during
Cards, Gameboys, crayons, whatever your child may want to do to
pass the time between events.
What to wear:
You should dress in layers. Many swim facilities are very
hot even in winter, but occasionally they are cold. If the meet is outside, you will
probably be glad for a hat.
Your child should have layers to put on or take off, as well. See #6 above
What to do:
Do not skip the warm up. It is important, and important
things happen during that pre-meet time.
Check in. At almost
all meets you must do a positive check in for each of your
There will be a check in sheet for boys and one for girls somewhere
on the wall. Put a
check mark beside your child’s name for each event he or she
is entered in. Do not
“scratch” (i.e. put an X indicating your child does not
want to swim the event) without the coach’s
Find the team and try to sit together. It’s always a good idea to
have lawn chairs in the car in case you need them. There isn’t always enough
bleacher space, or you may prefer to sit in the shade. If you have a
“pop-up” tent, you may want to bring it for outdoor
meets. Shade can be
hard to come by.
Send your child to find the coach and to warm up. It is very important for the
coach to know what swimmers are present so that he or she can plan
Buy a “Heat Sheet.” They are usually about
$5.00. Find your
child’s event numbers, etc. Some people write their
child’s event, heat and lane assignments on the child’s
arm or leg with the sharpie. It helps the child to find where
he or she is supposed to be.
Find out where heat and lane assignments are going to be
posted. A little
before each of your child’s events he or she will have to go
and find out his or her heat and lane assignment off the
Encourage your swimmer, but don’t coach him or her. Let the coach critique the
swim; your kid doesn’t need to hear it from you! What he or
she needs from you is cheering, lessons in positive attitudes,
congratulations for a good effort, and an example of good
Volunteer to time. All
meets need timers, and it can be a good way to pass the time at a
meet if your child doesn’t need you.
Keep your child (and yourself) hydrated with plenty of
Ask questions. You
won’t learn how a meet works very quickly unless you ask a
lot of questions.
Other swim parents, even those from other teams, are happy to
answer and help. Get
one to teach you the ropes, and by your second or third meet
you’ll be the old pro helping out the newcomers.
One final note:
All of our coaches are more interested in healthy kids than fast
swimmers, and here is a bit of advice that really helps on both
fronts. A child who
eats right, drinks plenty of water, and gets the right amount of
rest all the time is going to swim better in practice and at