SHSDT SWIM MEET 101
Swim and Dive meets are a great family experience. They're a place where the whole family can spend time together. Below are some very in-depth guidelines geared to help you through your first couple of 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 coaches.
What To Take To The Meet
- Team suit
- Swim cap
- Goggles (recommended to have 2 pairs)
- 2 towels (more if necessary)
- Something to sit on (kids usually sit on blanket or towel in bullpen, spectators may want to bring chairs)
- Sweatshirt/sweatpants (swimmers get cold when the sun goes down!)
- Games: travel games, coloring books, books, anything to pass the time so the swimmers aren’t bored in the bullpen throughout the meet.
- Healthy snacks
- Water bottles
Parking is bad at the meets. At home meets, you may need to ride a shuttle from South County Tech to the pool. Please allow plenty of time! Also, please note that swim meets can be long. A meet may last 4-5 hours (including warm-ups).
Before the Meet Starts
Arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled warm-up time. Warm-ups usually start at 5:15pm, so you’ll want to arrive by 5pm. The team sits in one place together, not usually with the parents. This area is known as the bullpen. Find the Sunset Hills bullpen and put your swimmer’s towels, bag, etc. there.
Find the check-in sheet posted in the bullpen. Please cross through your name with a pencil to say “I’m here and ready to compete.” Please ONLY cross through YOUR NAME, not a friend’s name.
You and your swimmer can find heat and lane assignments by purchasing a heat sheet. A heat sheep is like a program of events for a swim meet. The heat sheet is also posted in the bullpen.
Once "checked in", write or have the swimmers write each event-numbers on their forearm with a Sharpie. This helps them remember what events they are swimming and what event number to listen or watch for. Please DO NOT write anything else in ink or marker on your child’s back. The writing tends to rub off onto the pool furniture.
Your swimmer should now gets their cap and goggles and remains in the bullpen until they receive instruction from the coaches to warm-up. 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. They need to warm-up the engine before they can go all out.
After warm-up is a good time to make sure your swimmer goes to the bathroom, gets a drink, and just gets settled in. All swimmers should go to the bullpen before the meet to do the team cheers.
The meet will usually start about 10-15 minutes after warm-ups are over.
Swimmers are placed in heats via their “seed time.” When the team entry is sent in, each swimmer’s previous best times are used to “seed” the swimmers in their events. This ensures that athletes compete against swimmers of similar ability. If the swimmer is swimming an event for the first time, they will be entered as a "no-time" or "NT". A "no-time" swimmer will most likely swim in one of the first heats of the event. Therefore, they may not be with swimmers of similar pace.
It is important for all swimmers to know what event numbers they is swimming (again, why they should have the numbers on their hand). They may swim right away after warm-up or they may have to wait awhile. There will be parents workers in the bullpen responsible for lining up the swimmers and preparing them to swim their event. Please remind your child to carefully listen for their name to be called in the bullpen or else they may miss their race (It can get loud in the facility with everything going on!).
After each race:
- The swimmer should ask the timers (people behind the blocks at each lane) for their time.
- After getting their time, IMMEDIATELY report to the coaches to discuss their race. The coaches enjoy giving feedback to the swimmers about their race to better their swimming ability.
Things you, as a parent, can do after each swim:
- Please wait to talk with your child AFTER they discuss their race with the coaches.
- Tell them what a great job they did! The coaching staff will be sure to discuss stroke technique with him.
- Take them back to the bullpen to relax and recover. The swimmer should now wait and listen for their next event to be called.
When a swimmer has completed all of their events, they are free to go home. Before you leave, check with the coach to make sure your swimmer is not included in a relay. Also, please make sure that your swimmer has not left anything in the bullpen and pick-up all of your trash.
Results are usually posted somewhere in the facility. Ribbons will be placed in your mailbox within a few days after the meet.
What Happens If Your Child has a Disappointing Swim?
If your child has a poor race and comes out of it feeling badly, talk about the good things the child did during the race. Don't talk about the negative things and don't keep talking about the race. Let your child to focus on the next race or something enjoyable coming up after the meet! Limit the "post mortems!"
If your child comes up to you and says, "That was a bad race, don't tell me it wasn't," there is nothing wrong with a swimmer negatively evaluating a race. The important thing is for the child not to dwell on it. You should move the swimmer on to something good. "All right, you had a bad race. How do you think you can do better next time?" Immediately start talking about the positive things.
Meets are a lot of fun for the swimmers and divers! They get to visit with their friends, play games, and meet kids from other teams. They also gets to "race" and see how much all of the hard work they have put in at practice pays off!!!
Special Parent's Note: Dress appropriately by checking the weather! Sometimes it can be extremely hot outside. Nothing is worse than being hot at a swim meet. Make sure swimmers and spectators stay hydrated!