Swim Meets 101
Swim Meet Information

Swim meets are a great family experience.  They are a place where the whole family can spend time together.  Listed below are some in-depth guidelines geared to help you through your first couple of meets:

What to Bring

  1. Autumn Ridge team swim suit, team swim cap, goggles, flip flops, water shoes or slides and towel(s).

  2. Something to sit on; camping chair, sleeping bag, old blanket or anything that will be comfortable.

  3.  Autumn Ridge sweat shirt, sweat pants, flannel pants, sweat suit, warm-up suit etc.  (Stay Warm!)

  4. Games, travel games, cards, coloring books, Legos or anything you can use to pass the time.

  5. Food: bring your own.  Each swimmer is usually allowed to bring a small cooler.  There is often a concession stand at the meet, but the lines can be long and they sell mostly junk food.  Suggestions for items to bring:  Gatorade, water, fruit juice (all in plastic bottles), granola bars, fruit, cereal and sandwiches.  Swimmers need to make sure they stay hydrated while waiting to swim at outdoor swim meets.  It is never a good idea to eat or drink too much before or during a swim meet.

  6.  Sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, umbrellas (if needed) and folding chairs are always recommended.

  7. Cell phones and/or expensive electronic devices are discouraged, but may be brought to the meets when parents accept the liability associated with the possibility that it could come up missing and not be found.  The Autumn Ridge Swim Team will not replace lost or stolen property.

  8.  Summer swim meets are typically very warm; always dress appropriately according to the outdoor climate.  Parents will be warm; children will be warm or cold according to when they last swam.


Before & During the Meet 

  1. Arrive at the pool at least 15 minutes before the scheduled warm-up time begins.  This time will be listed in the meet information e-mailed prior to each meet.  You will also find meet information and  location information listed on our team website under events

  2. Upon arrival, you should find where the team is located.  The team will sit in one place together.

  3. Parents will sit together on one side of the pool and kids will sit together within another location at the pool.  Please do not allow your swimmer to sit with you.  Swimmers must sit with the other children from our team so they can be located and clerked to their individual events.  All 10 & Under swimmers are required to sit on the green tarps that will be provided.  If a swimmer misses their event based upon being absent at the time of clerking, the swimmer forfeits their right to swim.  It is not the coach’s or clerk’s responsibility to locate any child when it comes time for them to swim.  Have your swimmer go to their assigned seating area and stay there.

  4.  When your swimmer finds their assigned seating area, they will then need to find their coach and let the coach know they have arrived.  If a swimmer arrives after or during warm-ups, there is a  chance they will be “scratched” from all races within that meet.  It is very important that you arrive on time for warm-ups and are not late to the meet.

  5. Once your swimmer has found their assigned seating area and checked in with their coach, they will   then need to get their cap and goggles and report to the pool for warm-up instructions from their coach.  It is very important for all swimmers to warm-up with the team.  Swimmer’s bodies are just like cars on a cold day – they need to get the engine going and warmed up before swimming all out.

  6. After warm-ups, your swimmer will be told what events they are swimming and sometimes these events will be written on their arms or hands in permanent marker so that they do not forget.  This is a good time to make sure that they go to the bathroom, if necessary, get a drink and just get settled in  before the meet starts.  Sometimes the kids will cheer and chant during this time as well!

  7. If you are a parent who signed up to volunteer at the meet, you will need to find the Volunteer Coordinator(s) and check in with them to find out what your assignment will be.  They will be happy to answer questions and help with any concerns you might have regarding your assignment.

  8. Heat sheets will be posted in various locations around the pool prior to the start of the meet.  (The meet will typically start 10-15 minutes after warm ups end.)  Heat sheets will indicate when your child will be swimming and in what lane and heat they will be swimming.

  9. At outdoor meets, parents are not allowed to enter the roped off areas or to approach the starting blocks.  Parents should try to stay in the designated seating area for all parents of the team.  Once the swimmers have arrived at the assigned swimmer seating area or what is known as the “bullpen”,  coaches are capable of helping the swimmers with any needs they might have.  It is best to stay seated and enjoy the races.  Visitors to the “bullpen”, can sometimes disrupt the flow of the meet and cause swimmers to become distracted or sometimes even miss races.  Please allow the coaches to do their job and enjoy this much needed time off!

  10. It is the swimmer’s responsibility to report for their race if they are 11 years of age or older.  Children 10 years of age and younger will be “clerked” or what you might think of as escorted to their races. 

  11. Swimmers are to report to the starting blocks area where their coach will greet them and explain how they are to line up for their race.  The swimmers should take their cap and goggles with them so they are prepared to race.

  12. After each race, the swimmer should ask the timer for their time, then go immediately to their coach. The coach will ask their time and discuss the swim with the swimmer.  Generally, the coach will provide  positive comments or praise, suggestions for improvements along with more positive comments, high fives or cheers if desired.  Discussing a race right after it has been completed is the best time to reinforce those skills the swimmer will need to perform again in the future.

  13. Things you can do as a parent after each swim: Tell your swimmer how great they did!  The coaching staff will be sure to discuss stroke technique with them.  You need to tell them how proud you are of  them if they are watching you as they return to the “bullpen” area.  This is another good time for your swimmer to go to the bathroom if needed and if time permits, get a drink or something light to eat.

  14. The swimmer will then return to the “bullpen” to wait for their next event.  All swimmers should stay with their coaches and teammates as a group in the “bullpen” during the course of the meet.

  15. When a swimmer has completed all of their events, check with the coach before leaving to see if your swimmer is on a relay.  It is not fair to other swimmers who have stayed for a relay if your swimmer is not there and the relay team cannot swim.  As a general rule, it is good to stay for the entire meet just  to make sure your swimmer is not needed at the last minute for a relay event.

  16. Please note that family and friends are invited to these meets.  There is typically no admission fee  associated with attending dual meets and sometimes swimmers will do quite well when they know they have an audience to perform for.  Just make sure you arrive in enough time to park your chairs for the  number of people you have coming to watch.  Deck space fills up quickly and you will want to  make sure you have a great seat to watch your swimmer’s races.

  17. The coaching staff reserves the right to make the final decision concerning which events swimmers will  be entered within.  These events are selected with the best interest of the swimmer and best interest  of the team in mind.  Questions regarding why your swimmer is swimming or not swimming a particular event must  always be directed to your swimmer’s coach.

  18. Even the very best swimmer will have meets where they do not improve on their best times.  These "plateaus” are a normal part of swimming.  Over the course of a season, times should improve if your swimmer is attending practice regularly.  Please always be supportive of your swimmer and proactive in your thoughts when encouraging them that they will do better as time goes on.