Hi NSC parents- have a look as I have outlined the essentials for participating in all our meets. We are all excited and we want to make sure everyone is ready to have a great time.
1) Warm-up-- Be sure to arrive in time for warmup, which is at 0800. Warm up gets everyone physically and emotionally ready for the races. Also, it helps swimmers feel like part of the team. The warm up set is directed by the coach on deck, so after your swimmer is dressed, send them right over! Swimmers should plan on warming up together during the designated warm up time for their session.
2) There are four documents that you should be familiar with. All of these documents are listed under the event on our teamunify site except for heat sheets which are purchased by you at the meet.
A) meet information – this is the general information about the meet but it has a couple key things like parking, when warmups start, which ages/events are in which session, and time standards if applicable to get into the meet. The meet is broken down into 2-3, 4 hour long sessions per day and typically this is done by age group and gender.
B) meet timeline - Generally, each meet will print a timeline and have it available about a week before the event. This is an estimated schedule of events based on numbers of entries in each event. It is nice to be able to plan when each event will be going. Two things to remember are that the timeline is just an estimate and the meet goes forward at the rate that it goes forward... it can be unpredictable. Second, ideally your swimmer should warm up with the team and be present and engaged in the meet even if their events are more near the end of the session. It is generally not a good idea to use the timeline to show up just before the athlete’s events.
C) psych sheet - the psych sheet is simply a list of all swimmers signed up for each event and their seed time. This means you can look and see how your athlete stacks up against the competition. Keep in mind that seed times can be very old, so the psych sheet is interesting but not perfect as a planning tool.
D) heat sheet – This is tells you the event, heat, lane for all the races in the meet. These are purchased by you at the meet and you should bring a sharpie permanent marker and a highlighter. You can go through and highlight your child’s races and then make a grid on your swimmers arm with the race info. Usually a grid says the event number, the heat number, and the lane. You can also write the event. I posted an example of how this looks on our website. Parents need to facilitate this for athletes as coaches will be busy handling warmup and other business.
3) It is essential that your swimmer come over to our table prior to their race and after so that the coaches can help set goals, go over the race strategy and debrief the swimmer after the race.
4) between races--- it is key to stay warm, dry, hydrated and fed. I look for really good swimmers to take care of themselves well during the meet and I really look for them to participate in cheering for team mates etc. I personally would prefer that athletes do not play video games during the meet because I feel it is distracting and sets the wrong tone but that's not a hard and fast rule. Listening to music or an audiobook is fine. Swimmers need to keep in mind that it is up to them to be ready for their race and get to the blocks 2-3 heats ahead of their race.
5) What will you be doing between races? – you will be sitting. You should bring a chair, a book or some other way to keep you and your other kids happy while waiting. In swimming, there is a lot of waiting done by family members so be prepared! It’s great when parents help athletes get an area to for the team to hang out in. Families and athletes bond during this time.
6) Goal setting - Experienced athletes ought to be able to name their goal time, what they plan to do in the race to accomplish that, and then have some ideas about their performance after the race. We will scaffold this process for all the athletes but our goal is to make it a part of each athletes mindset. The time standards are available on our website… feel free to print them and bring them out.
7) behavior at the meet – I let the swimmers know that we are there to race and that I will absolutely not tolerate any behavior that jeopardizes the performance let alone safety of any athlete. Swim decks are slippery, there is a lot of chaos and waiting between events and this can be difficult for some of the younger athletes. I appreciate your help in making sure all our athletes represent themselves and their team appropriately. Please bring any issues to me so I can be proactive as needed.
8) One last thing I want to mention is be sure to let the coaches coach. A meet represents one opportunity for the kids to showcase the result of all their hard work, but sometimes their time does not reflect their improvement, even when they really have improved their stroke or conditioning. The most supportive parents I know say things to their athletes like "I love to watch you swim" and let the coaches take care of the rest.