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Swim meet FAQs

Facts about Swim Meets


Time Trials

Time trials are set up like a meet with each swimmer competing in all 4 strokes.  This gives coaches a baseline to measure progress as well as help decide which swimmers will represent the team at later scored meets.  Time trials also help familiarize new swimmers and volunteers with how a meet runs, and to train new meet officials. All families are expected to volunteer at the time trial their swimmers attend.

Saturday Meets

Saturday meets (also called "A" meets) are dual competitions against teams in our "Gold" division of the Colonial Swim League. These meets are held on five Saturday mornings.  At Saturday meets one "heat" of each event is raced and scored.  Each event includes three swimmers from each team (or four swimmers at 8-lane pools).  The coaches decide which swimmers will be entered in each event. Generally, it is the three swimmers who have the best time in that stroke.

The list of Saturday meet swimmers will be e-mailed no later than Friday morning the day before the meet.  The list also be posted at Friday morning's practice.  Please check the list each week.  If your swimmer is entered, but you can't make the meet, please let the coach or team rep know immediately.  It is important that the coach know if a swimmer is unable to attend so an alternate swimmer can be notified to swim the event.

After the scored portion of the meet, swimmers will often be allowed to swim an individual medley (or IM) which is a heat of all four strokes.

Wednesday Developmental Meets

Wednesday meets (also called "B" meets) are non-scored swim meets held on Wednesday evenings.  These meets provide opportunities for swimmers who may not have raced in Saturday meets to improve their strokes and times.  Because many more swimmers participate in these meets, they can be lengthy, but they are very entertaining.  To reduce the number of heats raced at Wednesday meets, a swimmer who swam in an event at the previous Saturday meet and placed 1st thru 3rd, generally will not swim that event at the following Wednesday meet.

CSL Relay Carnival

The Colonial Swim League hosts a Relay Carnival on a Sunday midway through the season.  This is an all-relay event, so there are no individual swimmer heats.  Swimmers are selected to swim in relay carnival heats based on the best times, the coaches' discretion, and strategy for maximum performance at the meet.

CSL Divisional Qualification Meet

The Saturday following the last "A" meet, a Divisional swim meet is held for each of the four CSL divisions to determine entrants for the CSL All-Star Meet.  Each team selects 3 swimmers in the 5 individual events (free, back, breast, butterfly and IM).  A swimmer may swim in a maximum of 3 events at this meet.  Swimmers are selected based on the best times.  There are no relay events at the divisional meet.

The division awards trophies to the top scoring team in each age/gender group.  These trophies are awarded at the divisional meet.  The division winning team also receives a trophy at divisionals.

CSL All-Star Meet

The Saturday following the Divisional meet, the league holds a meet where the top 12 swimmers in the league in each event compete.  This is the final meet of the season.  All All-Star swimmers are awarded medals at this meet.

Meet Protocol

Swimmers must arrive at the pool before the scheduled warm-up time.  They should report directly to the team area.  At Saturday meets there will be a check-in table, where swimmers and volunteers must check in.

We ask that swimmers stay in the team area.  Parents may visit their swimmers in the team area.  Good sportsmanship must be practiced at all times.

At Wednesday meets, swimmers may leave after finishing their events, however, volunteers are needed to finish their shifts.  At Saturday meets, participating swimmers are expected to stay until the end of the meet to cheer for their team.

Swim Strokes and Age Groups

Swimmers will be learning and competing in freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and Individual Medley (IM), which is 50 meters of each stroke in this order: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle. 8-and-under swimmers will swim 25 meter distances in all strokes.   9 -10 swimmers swim 50 meters in freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke, but 25 meters in butterfly.11-18 swimmers swim 50 meter distances in the individual strokes.

Disqualification (or "DQs") and False Starts

At each meet there are at least 4 Stroke and Turn Judges who are watching the swimmers to be sure that they are performing the stroke correctly.  If a judge sees a violation of a rule, they will raise one hand and fill out a Disqualification or DQ slip.  The Referee will ask the Judge questions and either accept or reject the DQ.  Once a DQ has been signed by the Judge and Referee, the coach and the computer operators receive a copy.  The swimmer will receive a “Participation” ribbon if they DQ at a Wednesday meet, but they will not receive an official time.  A swimmer may receive a “Heat Winner” ribbon at a Wednesday meet even if he or she DQs because the volunteers often are not informed about DQs.  At Saturday meets a DQ means that the swim does not qualify for a time, a ribbon, or points for the team.  Keep in mind, disqualifications are determined by the subjective view of the volunteer stoke-and-turn officials--and they are not always clear-cut.  Help your swimmer keep these in perspective, a DQ is unfortunate, but not terribly serious.  And especially for new swimmers, a DQ means only the swimmer made a stroke error, never that they did something "wrong" or "bad."

A false start is when a swimmer enters the water before the light and sound go off to start the race.  False starts are rarely charged to swimmers during summer league swimming, however if a swimmer is charged with two, they will be DQd for that heat.

Weather Cancelations

If a Wednesday meet is interrupted by thunder, it can be made up at the discretion of the team representatives. We have make-up dates for home Wednesday meets the following evenings.  Wednesday meets sometimes take quite long and may have to be called before all heats are completed.

Swim Meet Guidelines

  1. Have your swimmer arrive wearing their team suit, with cap, goggles, and towels. Swimmers can bring games to play while waiting for their events.
  2. Swimmers need to report directly to the Stingray team area. 
  3. Swimmers should remain in the team area during the meet.  This ensures the coaches can locate them and get them to their events on time.  If a swimmer needs to leave the team area (to use the rest room) they should inform a coach. 
  4. When a swimmer’s event is posted, a coach will distribute event cards to those scheduled to swim.
  5. Once the swimmer has their card, they will proceed to the Clerk of Course.
  6. The volunteers in the Clerk of Course area will put swimmers in order.  When we are swimming another team, lanes will typically alternate home and visiting swimmers.
  7. A volunteer will then walk each heat of six swimmers, in lane order, to chairs directly behind their assigned lane.
  8. Swimmers will sit behind their lane and move forward as the heats in front of them swim.
  9. When the swimmer's heat is called by the official, the swimmer will come up to the edge of the pool for the start.
  10. When a swimmer completes their race, they should remain in the water until the last swimmer in their heat touches the wall.  It is good sportsmanship to shake hands with the swimmers on either side and say something like “good race”.  Once the last swimmer has touched the wall, swimmers should exit the pool.
  11. Swimmers may ask timers for their time.
  12. Swimmers can touch base with their parents and then proceed back to the team area.
  13. No candy or other unhealthy food until all you have swam your last event.