Swim Meets

Swim Meets

The “Seasons” of Competitive Swimming

There are two “seasons” of competitive swimming, short course and long course. The difference between the two is the length of the pool that the competition takes place in. Pools of 25 yards are called “short course pools”. 50 meter pools are “long course pools”. We are fortunate that our pool is 50 meters by 25 yards, so we are able to swim both short course and long course.

Time Standards

Meets are designed as A, B, or C meets. The letters refer to the time standards that are used to place swimmers in terms of how fast they swim. Every one starts as a “C” time swimmer and then advances to “B” then “A”. There are also JO (Junior Olympics) time cuts. You can find your swimmers time standards on the website after their first meet.

Types of Meets

C Meets - Limited to swimmers with C times B Meets - Limited to swimmers with B times A Meets - Limited to swimmers with A times

Meets can be combined, i.e. AB meets or BC meets.

San Diego-Imperial Swim Junior Olympics

They are held twice each year, in Spring and Summer. The Spring meet is short course yards and the Summer meet is long course. Swimmers must have a JO cut in order to participate in these meets.


Swim Meet 101Arrival

Arrive at the meet in plenty of time. The coach will inform you of what time to arrive.

Check in for Meet

When you arrive at the meet, check in at the check-in table as soon after arrival as possible. If the swimmer does not check in, they will not be able to swim. At check in, the swimmer’s name and events that they entered will be confirmed. There are permanent markers available at the check in table for the swimmers to write their events on their hands. This is a useful tool, so that they do not forget their event numbers for that day.

Team Area

There will be a team area where team members sit together fostering team spirit and the exchange of valuable information. Swimmers play games, eat, and enjoy each other’s company during swim meets. Come and join the fun in the team area at swim meets. Look for the MRA canopies!


The swimmer must check in with the coach upon arrival at the meet, preferably after they have already signed in at the check in table. The coach will supervise the swimmer’s warm up before the event.

Deck Seeding

Heat and lane assignments are posted 1/2 hour before each event. Each heat places the slowest swimmer in the outside lanes and the fastest swimmers in the center lanes. Be sure to check the heat and lane assignments carefully.


Check-in Prior to Event

After finding your heat and lane assignment for the event your swimmer will swim, the swimmer should check in with the coach and provide this information to the coach. When you arrive at your assigned lane, ask one of the timers working in that lane to check and see if the swimmers name is on the sheet.


If the swimmer is disqualified (DQ’d) from an event, the official will try their best to make contact with the swimmer after their swim to discuss the DQ. Consider being DQ’d a valuable learning tool.


After swimming an event, the swimmer should ask for his or her time from the lane recorder and report the time to the coach. The coach will use this meeting to give encouragement and suggestions to the swimmer. It gives the coach time to focus on individual swimmers. The swimmer will improve more rapidly if he or she competes regularly and communicates with the coach.


At all meets, we must help with timing. Teams are assigned a timing lane and one or more chairs. We also need to provide stroke and turn officials. There is training involved with this, please talk to a coach if you are interested.


Parent Timing Commitment

Manta Ray Swim is required to supply timers at every swim meet they attend. Meets cannot run without timers, and swimmers cannot get accurate times without the support of the parent timers. TIMING IS MANDATORY. MRA parents are required to work at least one timing shift at each of these meets. It is each parent’s responsibility to find the Timing Chair Coordinator at the meet and sign up for the required number of shifts.

When signing up for a timing shift, please be aware of the meet time line and your swimmer’s events and needs. You may find it necessary to fulfill your timing commitment during your swimmer’s events or stay after your swimmers have completed their events and time then.

Be a good timer.....and remember that “Often the best seat is a timing chair!”

• Sign up for your timing shift.
• Be prompt for your timing shift.
• Remain in your timing chair until relieved by the next timer.
• Need to change your shift? It is your responsibility to find a replacement.

Timing 101

Timing is very easy, there is no special training required. Usually, there will be two timers per lane. At least one of the timers will have a stopwatch, a clipboard and an event list. If the pool has an automatic timing system, there will be “pickles” for the timers as well. “Pickles” are the backup system in case the swimmer does not touch the electronic pad properly or in case the timing pad malfunctions. There is always a Head Timer whose duty is to start two stopwatches so that if a timer makes a mistake or a watch malfunctions, one of these watches can be obtained to time the swimmer in your lane.

The event cards on the clipboard will list the event number, the distance and stroke, and the names of the swimmers in each heat. When the starter calls a heat to the blocks, verify the swimmer’s name on the event card. Report any discrepancies to the starter at once. In events when one length of the pool is swum, the swimmers will either start at the end opposite of the timers, or the timers will be moved.

Record all times on the event card next to the swimmer’s name. DO NOT average the times. A runner will collect the completed cards at the end of the event. If you do not have an event card, notify the starter before the event begins, if possible, but remember ALWAYS start the stopwatch anyway. The event card can be obtained and filled out after the heat.