Dummy’s Guide’ To Swim Meets for New Swim Team Parents:  Just The Basics

Swim Meets Q&A 

For the brand new swimmer, what are the best meets for us to enter?

Meets that are smaller and less competitive are good meets for new swimmers.  Such meets would include meets hosted by OCSC or meets hosted by local teams such as Stoughton, Verona, Deforest or Waunakee.
How many meets would you like for my child to swim?
OCSC has some swimmers who will enter every meet to get the experience, try to improve times, and get qualifying State/National cuts. I encourage swimmers to participate in as many meets as possible, within the boundaries of a balanced family life.  In swimming, the more you put in, the more you get out.  Many swimmers find that the most useful feedback they receive is at meets.  It's a time when coaches can provide one on one feedback.  Plus meets are fun!  And a fantastic time to bond with teammates.  Many of the most successful swimmers, and the swimmers who last the longest in the sport - attend a good amount of meets throughout the season. 
How do I know what meet events to sign my child up for?
If you have any questions about your child’s ability in regards to meet event stroke choice or event length, you can direct those questions to your group’s coach.  If  you need to sign up right away, new swimmers should sign up for shorter events (50 yards/meters or less) and stick with freestyle or backstroke until the swimmer gains more confidence at meets and practice.
How do I know which relays I need to sign my child up for?
If you enter your child into a meet, the child is eligible for relays. This does not guarantee they will be placed on a relay, but I have the option of placing them in one as appropriate.  It’s a good idea to stick around until the last relay is swum (unless you know your child has not been placed on that particular relay).  All swimmers are expected to notify me when they are leaving a meet so I can determine whether or not they have been placed on a relay.
Are there some meets that are required?
Yes, home meets  are required of every swimmer (parents are also required to volunteer for home meets)  as is the Conference meet in February.  Generally speaking, swimmers pick the events they want to swim.  But the coaching staff always reserves the right to adjust event entries as they see fit.

What do I need to fill out to sign my swimmer up for a meet?

You can do that right here on this web site.  Click on Events on the top menu bar which brings up all meets and other opportunities.  Locate the event you wish to participate in and follow the prompts.


What is the parents’ role at a swim meet?

A parent’s role at swim meets is to support the swimmers and be a cheerleader.  It is the coaches’ job to provide direction to the swimmers in terms of where and when they need to go for the start of events.  Coaches also advise swimmers in stroke technique, provide feedback after events and even console swimmers who are upset.  Parents ARE NOT allowed on the swim deck at any point during the swim meet.  When the parent seating area is on the deck, parents are off limits in the team area. Swimmers are required to ask the head coach for permission to leave the pool deck.


What should we bring to the meet?

Aside from a suit, goggles & team cap, your swimmer should pack a couple of towels, dry clothes, snacks and a drink. Parents should bring cash (there will be a meet entry fee of a few dollars per adult and heat sheet will also be for sale, cash only).  There are concessions items sold at most swim meets but swimmers generally don’t have long enough breaks between events to purchase concession items so it is advisable to pack some snacks.  Your swimmer may also want to pack heavier clothes (sweat shirts, sweat pants, etc.) to keep the swimmers warm during the meet.  Some kids bring card games and hand-held games to play when they are not swimming. Just remember that water will ruin most everything!