First Swim Meet

What to expect at my first swim meet

When to Arrive: 

Age 10 and under swimmers generally swim in the morning sessions, arriving about 7:30am and finishing around noon.  11 and older swimmers usually swim in the afternoon sessions.  Detailed information and instructions for the meet will be emailed to the team a few days before the meet starts.  By committing your child to swim, you are also volunteering to time at the meet if needed. 


What to bring and wear:  Prepare for any sort of weather on the day of the meet.  The only time a meet will be canceled by weather is if there is lightning.  Bring towels for your athletes, team caps, team suits or related suits, goggles, team apparel such as t-shirts, warm ups, sweat shirts, sweat pants, and closed to shoes.  There will be a snack bar at most meets, but please make sure to bring healthy snacks and water.  


Where to go when you get to the meet:  The Coyotes sit together in our team area. You'll be able to find our area by looking for our team EZ ups.


Meet Check In:  When you arrive at a meet, look for a table that is a designated check-in table. Every swimmer needs to check in at every swim meet or they will not be eligible to swim their races.  The first thing you should do is check-in.  If you are not able to find the check in table, find your coaches, and they will point you in the right direction.


Meet Warm Up:  Athletes will stretch out and warm up for the meet as a team.  After warm up, the athletes are to return to the team area and wait for the meet to start.


Heat and Lane Assignments:  Heat and Lane assignments will be posted on a wall or fence at every meet.  This is a map of when and where athletes will be swimming their races.  Heat and Lane postings are usually posted around 20-30 minutes before a race starts.  Athletes should be prepared and behind the starting blocks a few heats before they race.  For athletes swimming 25’s, they are usually staged in a staging area to help the athletes’ line up for their races. It is the parents’ and swimmers’ responsibility to get to their heat and lane on time.  


Coaches at the meet:  Coaches will sit in the coaches’ area on the pool deck during the meet.  All swimmers are asked to check in with their coach before they race.  When they check in, the athlete will tell their coaches their heat and lane assignment, and the coaches will talk to the athletes to remind them about how to swim their race.  Please let the coaches coach.


Before an Athlete Swims a Race:  All athletes should warm the body up before they race.  Every meet will have a warm up / warm down section to the pool.  Athletes should swim until the body is ready to race. They should also "check-in" with their coaches to report their heat and lane assignments. 


After an Athlete Swims a Race:  The athletes will walk back to the coaches and they will talk about the race.  This is very important to the learning process for the athletes.  Please let the coach talk to the athlete face to face.  After the athlete and coach finish their post-race talk, the athlete should go to the warm up / warm down area and warm down to help the athlete recover for their next race. 


What is a DQ?  DQ refers to a “disqualification” and it occurs when a swimmer does not swim a stroke correctly or “legally”.  While a child never enjoys getting DQ’d, it happens to almost every swimmer at some point, especially new swimmers.  Every sanctioned meet has start and turn officials, who are certified and trained by USA swimming.  The officials observe the races from different positions around the pool and will DQ an athlete if they see that an athlete doesn’t perform a stroke “legally”.  Please remember that officials are people too.  If an athlete gets DQ’d in an event, their time achieved during that specific race will not count for future meets. 


What does NT mean?  If your child has never swum a particular race before, they will be entered with a NT, which stands for “No Time”.  Once a swimmer legally swims an event, they will be given an official time and will be entered with that time for their next meet in that event. 


Why do I need to time?  Like most youth sports, swimming depends on volunteers.  In order for USA swimming to accept your child’s new time, it must have a valid recorded time.  All meets will have parents from each team assigned to timing chairs at meets.  Timers will time the athlete’s race for their lane, and record their time on their lanes ‘timer sheet’.  Although most meets have electronic timing systems, we believe in having a backup for all systems.  By entering your athlete in the meet, you are also volunteering to time. 


Where do I find results?  At the meet, once an event is completed they will post the results for that event, on top of where the athletes found their Heat and Lane assignment.  Results can also be found on the website for Southern California Swimming,  It may take a few days for the official results to be posted.  Please remember that results are unofficial until posted on the Southern California Swimming website.  Results can also be found on your account page on the Coyote team website.