How to Read a Heat Sheet:
What is a Heat Sheet?
A heat sheet is a printed listing displayed before and during a meet that tells swimmers what events they will compete in. It also defines the swimmer’s heat and lane assignment per event. Lanes are typically assigned based on seed times, with the fastest swimmers in the last heat and in the center lanes of the pool in each heat. The heat sheet will be available for you to download off the team website and print at home on the day of the meet (probably after lunchtime). But when you arrive at the meet, please ask the age group parents if there have been any last minute changes that might affect your swimmer’s age group.
Events are listed in order alternating boys and girls events. In our Louisville Swim Association (“LSA”) meets, there are 80 events. Generally, all freestyle, backstroke and medley relay events are in the first half. Generally, breaststroke, butterfly, IM and free relays are in the second half. All 6 & under events are in the first half.
“Seed Time” is the fastest time a swimmer or team of swimmers for a relay has swum an event prior to the submission of entries for the meet. For individuals, this is the time entered for the swimmer for the event, and is a good goal to try to beat. It also factors into lane placement and heat number.
An “NT” listed for a seed time mean no seed time has yet been recorded for that swimmer, i.e., that swimmer has not competed in that event, or was previously disqualified in that event and does not have an official time.
An “X” in front of seed time means the swimmer is swimming an exhibition heat. In exhibition heats, swimmers receive a time, but do not score points for the team. Exhibited heats are performed so that more swimmers can participate in events, and are a valuable opportunity to get a legal time for qualifications eligibility, or achieve a personal best time.
“DQ” stands for disqualification. This usually results from using illegal stroke technique during the race.
“Qual Time” is a time set by LSA for each event that a swimmer must meet in order to participate in the Qualifications Meet in that event.
As shown in the example above, individual swimmers in the age groups 6 & under; 8 & under; and 10 & under swim one length of the pool, or 25 meters. Therefore, swimmers line up at the end opposite the timers for the start. (The only exceptions are one heat of 8 and under 50 free and one heat of 10 and under individual medley). Swimmers aged 11 and up swim two lengths, down and back, or 50 meters. These swimmers line up at the timer end for the start.
Individual Medley or “IM”: is an event swam only by swimmers aged 9/10 and older in Events 43-50. There is only 1 heat of individual medley per age group/gender in each meet so only 3 swimmers from each age group/gender will get to swim it each meet. We will take turns getting to try this event. It is a 100 meter race in which the swimmer swims one lap (25 meters) of each of the four strokes.
The order of the stroke in the Individual Medley (“IM”) is:
- Butterfly; (2) Backstroke; (3) Breaststroke; (4) then Freestyle
It is important for swimmers to know the order for individual medley because any other order will result in a DQ.
Relays: There are 3 types of relays during a meet. There is only 1 heat of each relay. Please note that your swimmer may only swim one of the three relays each meet depending on the number of kids in that age group. We will try to take turns in larger age groups so everyone has a chance to swim relays. Be sure to check the relays on the heat sheet for the next age group up to if your swimmer is there. Sometimes we have a swimmer “swim up” if needed in the next age group.
- All Age Relay: Events 1&2 are the All-Age Relay where the relay team is comprised of 6 same-gender swimmers, one from each age group, all swimming freestyle. Each swimmer in the relay swims 25 meters. The 6 & under swimmer, 10 & under swimmer, and 14 & under swimmer line up at the timer end. The 8 & under swimmer, 12 & under swimmer; and 18 & under swimmer line up at the end opposite the timers.
- Freestyle Relays: Events 5&6 for 6 & unders and Events 71-80 for all other ages are the Freestyle Relays. 4 swimmers from that age group form a relay team and swim freestyle. For age groups 6 & under; 8 & under; and 10 & under the freestyle relay is a 100 meter race meaning each swimmer on the relay team swims one length of the pool, or 25 meters. For age groups 11 & up, the freestyle relay is a 200 meter race, meaning each swimmer swim there and back, or 50 meters.
- Medley Relays: Events 7-16 are the Medley Relays. Only 6 & unders do NOT swim the medley relay. In a medley relay, each swimmer on the 4 person relay team swims a different stroke. For age groups 8 & under and 10 & under, the medley relay is a 100 meter race meaning each swimmer on the relay team swims one length of the pool, or 25 meters. For age groups 11 & up, the medley relay is a 200 meter race, meaning each swimmer swims there and back, or 50 meters.
Medley Relays are swum in this order:
- Backstroke; (2) Breaststroke; (3) Butterfly; and then (4) Freestyle.
Please note that this order is different than the individual medley (“IM”). The way to remember the Medley Relay Order is that the strokes are in alphabetical order.
PLEASE NOTE: that for a 100 meter relay (all relays for swimmers aged 10 and younger), Swimmers 1 and 3 line up at the timer end and Swimmers 2 and 4 line up at the end opposite the timers for the start.
For 200 meter relays (swimmers age 11 and older), all 4 swimmers line up at the timer end for the start.