A Guide to Your First Swim Meet

Registering for a meet

A tentative meet schedule is available on the website and is sometimes provided at the time of registration.  You will be notified via our Team Unify email system when there is a meet coming up.  You will be asked to go to the OSHAC website and either accept or decline your swimmer's entry. 

It is important to declare your commitment before the entry deadline posted under the event information or your swimmer will not be entered in the meet.

What Next?

So you have signed up and are ready for your first meet. Here are some things you need to know!

For the Swimmer

  • All black swim suit for racing and a backup suit
  • Team cap and shirt, warm clothes to cover up between races.
  • Well-fitting goggles (an extra pair is a good idea too in case one pair breaks)
  • Towels (take 2 - 3 depending on the length of the meet)
  • Flip flops or non-slip deck shoes
  • A refillable water bottle
  • Nutritious snacks (i.e., oatmeal bars, raisins, grapes, etc.), nothing too heavy to digest and nothing fatty (no junk food)

For the parents/spectators

  • Money for the meet program.  These cost $2 - $4 and are available at the pool.  They show all the races and you can check which races your child is in (and what lanes).
  • Highlighter marker so you can mark off your child's races.
  • Keep in mind that the indoor pool can get very hot inside so dress accordingly.
  • Viewing is often limited -- arrive early or volunteer to help out with officiating.
  • Snacks and water -- some meets have a shop with food but others do not.
  • There is no flash photography allowed at meets.

Teams warm up in the pool, usually an hour before the first race begins. Please leave home in plenty of time to be on deck and stretching at least 15 minutes before the start of warm-ups.

When you arrive at the pool:  

  • Ensure your swimmer is changed and on the deck.  An OSHAC coach will already be there. 
  • Look for other OSHAC swimmers/parents. If seating permits, sit together as a team. Parents will not be allowed on deck.  Swim Canada only permits registered coaches on deck. 
  • Buy a heat sheet (program) and look for your child’s name. Highlight the races he/she will be swimming in while he/she is in warm ups. Most events are swum slowest to fastest. New athletes with no times (NT) will usually swim in the first or sometimes second heat. Once they have swum they will get an official time and the next time they swim that event they will be seeded accordingly. 
  • Encourage your child to cheer for their team mates! 
  • Your child must talk to his/her coach before and after each race. This allows the coach to give plans and encouragement before the race and to provide feedback after the race for next time. 
  • Before your swimmer leaves the deck, make sure to check with their coach that they are actually done racing for the day.  There may be relays at the end of a session and your swimmer may be a member of a relay team. 
  • When the meet is over, please ensure that your swimmer has collected all of his/her belongings before heading home.      

Meet Results 

Encourage your swimmer to do their best and to have fun. Results are usually posted on a wall at the meet as they become available. These will show their official time and place for each event. At some meets, results can also be found on a phone/tablet app. called Meet Mobile (available for iPhone and Android).  Results are not official until they are uploaded to the Swim Canada website at www.swimming.ca. This website shows not only all the results of all the meets nationwide but will show you provincial and national rankings.  

If your child places in an event, ribbons are often given out. These ribbons, however, are only given out at the end of a meet and usually to the coach who will award them to swimmers later on.  Encourage your child to have fun and not to worry too much if they don't get a ribbon. These early meets should be a positive experience for your child and about learning the sport and getting best times.

HAVE FUN and enjoy the journey with your athlete. Swimming is a wonderful sport with so many great benefits.

Swim Meet FAQs 

What is a meet package and where do I find one?
A meet package is a document that contains all of the details of a swim meet -- warm up times, events, location, etc. You can find the meet package on our website Team Events page under the specific meet or on Swim Canada's website.

How do I know which events my swimmer is participating in?
Meet entries will be available approximately 1 week prior to the meet.

What are psych sheets?
Psych sheets are a rank ordering of the swimmers entered per event at a particular meet.

What does it mean that a meet is sanctioned?
A meet is “sanctioned” when Swim Ontario has given its stamp of approval on the competition or time trial.

What is a DQ?
This is a disqualification. Sometimes, a swimmer may be disqualified and an official will tell the swimmer at the end of the race.  Although this is done to help the swimmer learn the rules of the strokes, it is often a very emotional event for the young swimmer so it is important to let them know that this happens to most swimmers when they are starting out and that even some of the world champions get disqualified. The coaches will also help athletes understand why they have been disqualified so they can learn from the experience.   

What do I do if I signed my swimmer up for a meet and now he/she is not able to attend?
If for any reason your child is no longer able to attend a meet you had previously signed up for, please be sure to let the coach know ASAP as he/she has to be scratched from the races ahead of time.  There are scratch deadlines. Please make scratches before the sign up deadline date which is on the website. Failing to do so will result in you having to pay meet entry fees even though your child didn't swim.