Swim Meet Basics
What are the rules and responsibilities?
Each swimmer is responsible for getting to the meets. Maps and directions will be provided on our website, and you can
ask other parents. Swimmers should arrive at a meet 20 minutes before their scheduled warm-up time. Good
sportsmanship is expected from swimmers, parents and guests.
What is a heat sheet?
A heat sheet lists the events, lane assignments and fastest time for swimmers entered. Heat sheets list both individual
and relay events. Relays listed in the heat sheet will sometimes show the swimmers names. Be aware that relay team
members may change. You may be asked to swim a relay even if your name is not on the list. ACAC heat sheets also
feature advertising by local businesses and firms who donate to our team by purchasing advertising space. In
appreciation, support our advertisers in thanks for their contribution to our team!
How are events timed?
Swimmers times are collected in multiple ways. At ACAC, swimmers primary times are taken from our automatic timing
system. If you ask a timer for a time, be aware that the time is not an official time. Once the times for the heat have been
collected, you must wait for the official results to be posted. The official results (which include swimmers' names, their
times and event placing) are usually posted about an hour after completion of the event. Results are also posted on the
website usually within a couple of days of the meet. All event results are computerized and retained for each swimmer for
many seasons. The start of a race is usually a beep with a strobe flash that is used by the timers. If you are timing a race
from the stands, look for the strobe light.
What is a DQ?
A DQ is a disqualification from a race. To ensure fair competition for all swimmers, rules are equally applied to all
swimmers, regardless of age or experience. During competition, if a swimmer fails to comply with the stroke and turn
rules, a Stroke and Turn Judge (dressed in white and khaki) will raise his/her hand, write up a disqualification (DQ) slip,
and present it to the referee for approval. A swimmer is not disqualified until the referee accepts the report. If the referee
accepts the report, and the swimmer is disqualified, the swimmer will receive no time in the event. Judges always try to
reach the swimmer to explain the reason he/she was disqualified, but this is not always possible. Being disqualified is
not the end of the world. Almost all swimmers have been DQ'd at some time. This should be viewed as a learning
experience and not a failure. Swimmers should discuss this with their coach after the race, and together they will
formulate a plan to correct the mistake.
What is a relay?
A relay consists of four swimmers. The main relays are the Medley Relay and the Free Relay. In the Medley relay each
swimmer swims a different stroke (Back, Breast, Fly, Free order). In the Free relay, all swimmers swim freestyle.
Is is permissible to take photographs at meets?
At most meets you are permitted to take pictures as long as it doesn't interfere with the meet. Flash photography is not
allowed as it disrupts the starts and is a distraction to the swimmers.
What should I expect at a swim meet?
Blankets, sleeping bags, chairs, towels and kids everywhere! Chilly mornings (keep swimmers warm), lots of cheering,
new friends and a great time (especially if you get involved with the team and volunteer). Plan to arrive 20 minutes before
warm-ups start. This way you can check in, stake out your area, find your goggles, and report to the coaches when the
announcer calls for warm-ups. Shortly after the teams have warmed up, the meet should begin. Make sure you know
appropriate event numbers. They can be obtained from heat sheets sold at the meet or from our website. Most
swimmers write their event numbers including relays on a hand, arm or leg. When your event number is called, the
swimmer needs to report to the Clerk of Course (for 8 & Unders) or starting blocks (if there is no Clerk of Course). There
is usually a first call and final call for each event. If you are not in the appropriate area at the last call, you may be
disqualified (DQ). Parents: Please help your swimmers report to the Clerk of Course area. The parent volunteers helping
with Clerk of Course will ensure the young swimmers get to the starting blocks for the appropriate heat.
How can I help?
Thank you for asking! There are many needs that our team has in order to run effectively and make the experience
enjoyable for the swimmers, coaches and parents. We would like all of you to contribute your talents, gifts or abilities in a
small or big way to the team. Committee members are needed. Some of the committees include: timers, scorers,
hospitality host/hostess, concessions workers, heat sheet sales, ribbons, set-up and clean-up, clerk of course, deck
marshal, gym marshal, officials. If you see a need, volunteer to help!
How can I become an official?
Officials are dressed in white shirts and khaki pants at meets. If you are interested in becoming an official, please contact any of them. Officiating is an important contribution to our team and to the sport of swimming. It is important that officials not be thought of as “mean people who DQ little kids.” Officials are in place to enforce the rules and make sure that all swimmers have equal opportunity. The first rule of officiating is “advantage to the swimmer”. Good officiating at a meet makes better swimmers and better teams. Every team needs a good team of officials, so please consider volunteering for this important task!