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SWIM MEET FAQ


For which meets should I sign up my swimmer?

Take a look at the Events menu in the OnDeck app or the Events | Meet Signup page on this website. You will see several swim meets listed. Most meets are open to all HPAC swimmers. There are some Illinois Swimming Championship meets toward the end of each season that are only open to "qualifiers" – swimmers who have met the meet's time standards. If you are ever unsure whether a meet is appropriate for your child, don’t hesitate to contact coach Jory with questions.


What are "Age Groups"?

During a meet, swimmers compete by age group: 8 & under, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, and Open (generally for swimmers 15 & over, but younger swimmers may participate as well). Often, meet hosts will combine the 13-14 and 15 & Over swimmers into either 13 & Over or Open sessions.


What are "Sessions"?

Meets generally run for multiple days and are split into many sessions. The majority of meets have one session on Friday evening and two sessions (morning and afternoon) on Saturday and Sunday. For example, the morning session of a meet may be comprised of the 8 & under, 9-10, and 11-12 age groups, leaving the afternoon session for the 13-14 and Open age groups.


How do I sign up my swimmer for a meet?

Before signing up for swim meets you must add a credit card to your account. Click on the Events menu in the OnDeck app or the Events | Meet Signup tab on this website. Choose the meet you’d like to sign up for by clicking on the name of the meet. Look carefully at Days/Sessions and decide which days and sessions fit your schedule. Then click on Attend/Decline. Next, select your session(s). After you’ve chosen your session(s) click on Submit. You will receive a confirmation email. That's it! Coaches will choose what races the swimmers participate in.


Swim meet types:

Dual meets – A dual meet is a low key, semi-competitive meet between two club teams for all ages. This is a one-day meet with one session, meaning all of our swimmers compete in the same session.

Prelims/Finals meet – A very competitive meet where time standards are generally required in order to compete. Generally, these meets are for Giants, Giants Elite, Senior, and Senior Elite swimmers.

Conference meet – An end of season meet for all swimmers who have not qualified for Regionals or above. This is a great season culminating meet & also presents a "last chance" opportunity to qualify for Regionals

Championship meets – A competitive qualifying meet where time standards are required in order to participate. Swimmers can qualify for these meets at any sanctioned meet (dual, developmental, etc.). For qualifying times for Regionals, Age Group State, or Senior Champs, visit the Illinois Swimming website. For all other time standards visit USA Swimming.

Regionals – The first level of Championship meets. Illinois is divided into six regions, each having identical qualifying times. This meet is limited to swimmers who have achieved a Regional qualifying time but have not qualified for higher level meets in that event.

Age Group State/Senior Champs – The second level of Championship meets. Age Group State is for any swimmer 14 and under, whereas Senior Champs is for any swimmer who qualifies, regardless of age.

Zone Champs, Speedo Sectionals, Futures, Junior National Champs, National Champs – Highly competitive qualifying meets above the state level.


Is there a cost to swim in a meet?

Yes, meet costs are roughly $20 per day. The host team will charge $4 to $5 for each race entry; a $2 per meet Illinois Swimming surcharge; and a nominal per meet facility surcharge. There may also be an admission charge for spectators, generally no more than $5 per adult; children are free. Additionally, most clubs sell heat sheets to spectators. Please only sign up your child for meets they intend to swim in. HPAC is required to pre-pay its entry fees, which are non-refundable after submission to the host team. If you have signed up for a meet, you will be charged for your entries regardless of your meet attendance.


Will someone send me info about the meet?

Yes, you will receive an email the week of the meet with meet details including location, arrival time, warm-up time, and session starting times. In that email, we will attach a PDF file listing entered athletes and their events.


What should my swimmer bring to a meet?

  • Team suit
  • Goggles (2 pairs)
  • Team caps (2)
  • Towels
  • Deck shoes or sandals
  • Water bottle
  • Warm clothing (to remain warm between races, for example, shirts, pants, parkas, etc.)
  • Nutritious nut free snacks or money for concessions
  • Entertainment
  • Sharpies (optional to write heats and lanes on his/her arm)


Where can I buy team apparel like the Team Suit?

You can purchase HPAC team apparel through our Team Store. If your swimmer needs to be fit for a suit, or you would like to purchase other equipment, visit The Swim Team Store in Wheeling. All new swimmers receive a latex team cap and an HPAC T-shirt after joining the team.


Where does my swimmer go when he/she arrives at a meet?

After completing positive check-in, swimmers should proceed straight to the pool deck. Sometimes swimmers need to enter through the locker room to arrive on deck; sometimes there is an open door for the pool deck. In almost all circumstances there are signs, or volunteers, to direct swimmers to the pool deck and parents to spectator seating. Parents are NOT allowed inside locker rooms or on the pool deck. If your swimmer is scared or confused about walking in alone, partner them with a teammate who is walking in, or call a coach for assistance.


What is "Positive check-in"?

Positive check-in is very important! Swimmers will be assumed absent if they don't check in; then scratched from their events, and not permitted to swim. Positive check-in will be administered in one of two forms. The first being a table or wall with check-in sheets listing swimmer entries for each team. Your swimmer should find their name, then highlight it and the X’s next to it to indicate they're present. Meet hosts may also administer positive check-in through team coaches. If this is the case, your swimmer needs to inform an HPAC coach that they're present, the coach will take care of the rest. Positive check-in closes roughly 20 minutes after warm-up begins. If you are running late call your coach or ask a teammate to check in your swimmer. If your swimmer is unable to locate the positive check-in table, have them go on deck and ask a coach.


When/where do swimmers get their heat and lane assignments?

All participating athletes will receive an email listing their meet events a day or two before the meet begins. Prior to coming to the meet parents are encouraged to help their children write their events on their arm using a fine Sharpie. Athletes will receive their heat and lane assignments from their coaches after the meet warm-up. Heat sheets will also be posted on the pool deck after warm-up. If your swimmer would like to write their heat and lane assignment on their arm during the meet, please have them bring a Sharpie.


What are "Psych Sheets" and "Heat Sheets"?

A Psych Sheet lists all events for an entire meet and every swimmer, listed in order of entry time, entered in each event. There are no heat or lane assignments on the Psych Sheet.

After positive check-in closes Heat Sheets are generated. Session Heat Sheets list the session's events, each checked-in swimmer, and the lanes they'll compete in based on their seed (entry) times. Usually, girls swim in odd-numbered events and boys swim in even numbered events.


What is Meet Mobile?

Meet Mobile is an app for your smartphone that is available for a nominal annual charge. Meet Mobile posts psych sheets, results and, for a fee, you can view heat sheets.


What are "Relays"?

Relays are a group of four swimmers who compete together in a race. There are freestyle relays where each swimmer swims freestyle, and there are medley relays where each swimmer swims one of four strokes – Back, breast, fly, and free, in that order.


How long is a meet?

Each meet session is usually about five hours long, one hour of warm-up and four hours of competition.


What does my swimmer do during a meet?

All swimmers will warm up as a team and after the meet starts they'll swim their races. Swimmers should talk to their coach before and after their races. Sometimes swimmers will need to wait a while between their races. They can use this time to hang out with their teammates, play a game, or simply rest. Swimmers are permitted to go into the stands to visit with family, but we encourage and prefer swimmers to stay on deck with their team.


What do parents do during a meet?

Cheer! Parents often sit with other HPAC parents and cheer on the swimmers. They also read, bring their work, or socialize. Larger meets have concessions, swim equipment, and apparel.


I am a Timer. What do I do?

First, attend the Timer's Meeting, which occurs about 30 minutes before the start of a session, where an official will demonstrate how to time – it's time and location will be announced at the meet. Swim meets have electronic timing systems that record the times for each swimmer. You will see a Touchpad in the water at the end of each lane. However, occasionally the timing system fails and that’s where you come in – the manual backup. For each lane, there are generally two timers with a stopwatch and a plunger (a handheld device with a button connected to the timing system). For each race, a flashing light and a beep will signal the beginning of the race. Timers start a stopwatch at that time. When a swimmer touches the wall the timers stop their stopwatch and press the button on the plunger. Then the timers record the times from the stopwatch on a Timer Sheet.


My child was disqualified (DQed). What is that?

A DQ means that when your child swam their race they did something in violation of USA Swimming rules; such as an illegal breaststroke kick, or swimming backstroke on one’s stomach. An official will raise their hand when they see a stroke infraction and fill out a "DQ Slip" which notes the violation. The coach will explain to the swimmer why they were DQed and how to perform the stroke correctly. Disqualifications are common. Professional swimmers have been DQed. Reassure your child and explain that being disqualified is part of the learning process.


When is swim season?

There are two swim seasons per year. The short course season runs from September to March – Swim meets are held in 25-yard pools (SCY). The long course season runs from April to July – Swim meets are chiefly held in 50-meter pools (LCM).