Sarasota Sharks Swim Meet Parent Tip Sheet

Who Decides What My Child Will Swim at a Meet?

You, the parent, will commit to swimming in a meet on Team Unify, and select the day or days your child will swim. The coach will then decide what events/strokes your child will swim. There is a place in the notes when you commit on Team Unify to leave a message to the coach requesting strokes or events that your child wants to (or does not want to) swim, but ultimately the coach decides.

A few days before the meet you will be able to look at the team website under your account and check which events you child is in. Your child may or may not swim in a relay. Relays are picked by the coach usually of the fastest 4 swimmers in each discipline. There may be an A and B relay, or even more, depending on the number of swimmers in a particular age group at the meet. * It is important to have your child ask the coach at the meet if they are participating in a relay. * Relays can be the first events at a meet before the individual events, or at the end of the meet, so it is important that the swimmer check with the coach before they leave the meet!

How Do Relays Work?

Freestyle Relays are made up of 4 swimmers each doing Freestyle.  Medley Relays are made up of 4 swimmers and each does a different stroke:  Backstroke, Breaststroke, Butterfly and Freestyle.  

What Should We Bring to the Meet?

Please bring a Suit, cap, multiple towels, water, sunscreen, sharpie marker and goggles of course. During the cooler months bring warm clothes (i.e. parka).  A spare cap and goggles are a good idea.  You may want to bring lawn chairs.  Some people set up small tents or canopies for shade.  Some bring small coolers with snacks although most pools have concession stands.  For the meets during the cooler months it is essential to bring some warm clothes and socks.

How Does The Meet Work?

Meet are run in event order and each event has a certain number of heats based on the number of entries. The pools all have 6, 8,or 10 lanes, so if there are 12 swimmers in an event, there will be two heats. Swimmers are grouped with other swimmers who have similar best times. Swimmers who have never competed in a certain will be entered at NT (no time) and will be in the slowest heats. Award are given out based on overall performance of the total number of swimmers in an event. At some meets, ‘heat winner’ ribbons are given out, but not at all meets. Coaches will pick up the awards at the end of the meet on the last day, bring them home and will pass them out to the swimmers on their teams in the week(s) after the meet.

Race results will be posted on a wall at the meet, so you can see the swimmers’ time and final place. If you see a DQ (disqualification) next to your child’s name it means they were disqualified for a rule(s) infraction (related to their stroke, kick, start or turn). This is very common for new swimmers and not something to get upset over…it is an opportunity to learn! The coaches will find out what the issue was, and then take it back to practice to fix it!

What Is A Heat Sheet?

Heat Sheets are available for purchase at every meet, but are sometimes avalaible online. If heat sheets are available online the coaching staff will post them to the event page on TeamUnify. A heat sheet lists every child who is swimming in every event along with which Heat and Lane that child will swim. A copy of the heat sheet is usually posted on a wall near the pool.

Girls will usually be the odd event numbers and boys are the even event numbers.  Depending on the meet, kids can swim three to four individual events per day of the meet. It is important to check the heat sheet thoroughly to make sure your child does not miss an event. 

   An event listing will look something like this:

#21 Girls 8 & Under 25 Meter Backstroke

Team:  19:45     1997     Gianna Gogetter

           Pool:    19:18    1998     Sammie Speedster

Lane   Name

Heat 1 of 2



Seed Time

1         Paulette Perch




2         Makenzie Muskie




3         Sarah Starfish 




4         Sienna Seahorse




5        Delaney Dolphin




6        Sally Stingray 




This is event #21.  The Shark Team Record was set by Gianna Gogetter in 1997.  However, the fastest time ever swam in the pool where the meet is being held – by anyone from any team - was by Sammie Speedster in 1998.  A Seed Time is the fastest time a swimmer has swum an event in the past.  Paulette Perch has never swam this event before so she has No Time (NT) listed.

Writing on Hands/Arms

   Most young swimmers have their events written on their hands or arms to help them remember what they’re doing.  After you purchase a heat sheet you can write this on your child's arm.  You can write Events, Heats, Lanes and a reminder of what the stroke is.  “Grids” drawn on arms or legs often look like this: 





25 free




25 back





   This child is swimming the Freestyle and Backstroke individual events which are Events #2 and #4.  For Freestyle, the child is in Heat 3, Lane 1.  Use black Sharpie.  It will stay on thru the meet but will wear off within a day or two.

Can I go behind the blocks with my child?    

Parents are not allowed behind the blocks. If children have their event, heat, and lane written on their arm as above it is much easier for people to help get them in the proper place.  Your child should report to their lane by the event before the one they are swimming to check in with the timer and make sure they are in the right place. Coaches will help younger and inexperienced athletes get into position, but as an athlete gets older and becomes more experienced they will be expected to report to the block on their own.

Do I have to volunteer at home meets?

  Yes.  One of the things that make the Sharks one of the best teams in the State of Florida is our volunteers.  We ask that all parents volunteer for 2/3 sessions for each meet that the Sharks host. A sign-up sheet will be displayed on Team Unify under the Events tab.  Select the meet that you would like to volunteer for and click on the link for the sign-up sheet. There you will find a list of all the available positions. Choose the position you want, enter your name and hit save.