Sarasota Sharks Swim Meet Parent Tip Sheet

Who Decides What My Child Will Swim at a Meet?

Parents will commit to what day(s) their athlete(s) can swim in a meet through our Team Unify website. The coaches will then decide what events/strokes your athlete(s) 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 would like to swim, but ultimately the coach will decide.

A few days before the meet you will be able to look at the team website under your account and check which events you athlete(s) is competing. 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!

What Should We Bring to the Meet?

Please bring a Suit, cap, multiple towels, water, healthy snacks, 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 outside of the facility.  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?

Meets 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 event will be entered at NT (no time) and will be in the slowest heats. Awards 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 live on an app called Meet Mobile and will be posted on our team website after each meet.

What is a DQ (Disqualification)

When results are posted if your athlete’s time is shown as a DQ it means they made an error during their race. At the end of meets coaches are given a log for the DQs and the coaches will follow up with the athletes at practice as to what they need to work on, so they don’t get disqualified. Disqualifications for newer athletes are very common because they are learning to do the skills correctly. As they gain more experience disqualifications happen less and less.

What Is a Heat Sheet?

Heat sheets are typically available on our team website. Sometimes meet hosts require you to purchase heat sheets onsite and do not post them online ahead of time. A heat sheet lists every athlete who is swimming in every event along with which Heat and Lane that athlete will swim.

Girls will usually be the odd event numbers and boys are usually the even event numbers.  Depending on the meet, athletes can swim two to four individual events per day of the meet. It is important to check the heat sheet thoroughly to make sure your athlete(s) 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.  If heat sheets are available online you can start writing the information on your athlete’s arm at home or when you purchase it at the meet a heat sheet.  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.

Taking Pictures at Swim Meets

USA Swimming rules prohibit people from taking pictures or videos from behind the athletes on the starting end of the pool. The starting end of the pool can change depending on the distance the athletes are racing, so please keep in mind that if you’re standing behind the starting end of a race you cannot take pictures or videos.

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.  


  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.

We cannot host great swim meets without your help. By hosting swim meets we help save families time and money (time it takes to travel to another pool and the cost of travel). We do and will train you for any position you sign-up. You do not need to know anything about swimming to help. Many of our best volunteers never grew up swimming!