What time are swim meets and how long do they last?

Swim meets will usually start at 9 am, with warm-up starting at 8 am. Sometimes, our communities open their pools for warm-up at around 7:45 am, which would then encourage us to start an earlier check-in. I will relay this information to everyone each week with my e-mails.

Swim meets vary in time but typically go no longer than 2 pm. It all depends on how long lunch break is, how quickly the meet official is running the meet, and how smoothly coaches and parent volunteers are making sure that swimmers are at the ready bench in time and on the blocks for their races.

What time is check-in and what is the point of it?

Check-in is typically 15 minutes before warm-up time. Therefore if warm-up starts at 8 am, it’s crucial that your Northstar is there no later than 7:45 am. We usually have the younger kids warm up first, so we want to check-in the younger kids first too.

At check-in, each swimmer will be notified of what they’re swimming and will have their event #s “sharpied” onto their hands. These numbers are extremely important (see next question).

What is that number counter in the corner of the area?

Usually located next to the “ready bench” is an event counter – which looks like a big stand with two numbers. These numbers will let you and your swimmer know which events are being called up. For example if you’re doing event #30, then your swimmer would need to go up when this event counter shows 30. Then your swimmer will meet with a coach and/or parent volunteer at the ready bench and be taken care of from there.

Please do not sit or stand with your child at the ready bench. We of course encourage each parent to cheer and support their kids and our Northstars, but in order to make things as smooth as possible – please let the parent volunteers and coaches handle it from there and you can enjoy watching your Northstar swim their race!

I’m not going to be at this week’s meet, what do I do?

Please update your commitment in the Events or through the OnDeck app. Everyone needs to declare Yes/No for each meet whether they are attending or not. The coaches won't know unless you declare.

Coaches have to submit meet seeds Thursday morning with individual and relay events. It’s horrible having to scramble around the day before or two days before a meet trying to redo relays or moving kids around to fill events out.

Please declare for the event no later than Wednesday night, when our practices for the day are over. That’s usually when the coaches begin the seeds and submit them the next morning.

Note that, per ISL rules, to be eligible to swim in the Championship Meet a swimmer must have participated in at least two dual or tri-meets (practice meet and Pentathalon excluded) AND four events cumulatively during the current season.

I’m going to be leaving early or arriving late at this week’s meet, what do I do then?

A lot of times, parents need to leave early or will arrive late and that’s no problem. However, the event commitment pages don't allow us to calculate whether you’re leaving early or arriving late.

Therefore, please let the head coach know no later than Wednesday night whether you’re leaving early or arriving late. When entering your declaration in the event, put your comments in the Notes section. The head coach will make a best effort to try and maximize your child's swimming based on your situation. For example, if you’re leaving early, the coach will try and put your Northstar in all of the morning events and vice-versa if you’re arriving late.

If you arrive late, please come to the head Coach as soon as you arrive. (S)he will let you know which events you’re swimming and what event #s they are.

What happens if we show up late or miss warm-up?

Because lanes are extremely crowded during warm-up, we can’t fit in swimmers that miss their designated warm-up times. For example, if the warm-up time for 5-6 year olds was from 8:00am – 8:15am and you arrive at 8:20am, the coach unfortunately can’t accommodate your swimmer for warm-up. 

What should our Northstars eat in preparation for the meet?

The night before the meet, you should load up on Carbs – that can be breads, pasta, etc. 

The morning of the meet, we would recommend eating a lighter yet filling breakfast. Good examples are a bagel with some eggs but even just a protein bar goes well. You want something with energy but nothing too heavy.

For lunch, try and stay away from soda (Gatorade and water are the best options). Any of our snack bar items are perfect halftime meals. Again though, you want to make sure that your Northstar doesn’t overeat or feel too heavy before their next race(s) though.

What should our Northstars be doing before their race?

Staying off of their legs is one of the most important things. But let’s be honest, all of the kids (especially the younger ones) want to play and often end up on the playground. While I’m not opposed to it, I don’t necessarily recommend it. Your legs are what use the most oxygen and in races, they’re the first parts of your body “to die” in a race – meaning when your body tires out, you can still pull yourself to the wall but your kick slows down dramatically.

And staying out of the sun and hot tub are two more important things. The sun and hot tub drain your body out of energy through heat. It’s better to stay in the shade somewhere, sit down, and play a board game, cards, or something electronic.

Lastly, the most important thing is to stay hydrated. It’s usually hot and chaotic with a lot of people on deck. Make sure that you’re constantly drinking water and/or Gatorade throughout the meet.

Anything else?

Honestly, just have fun and be proud. Learning how to swim and master four different strokes is not easy at all. Even if it looks like they’re struggling, be patient. You’ll begin to notice that as each week goes on, each swimmer will look better through technique and swim times.

Our coaches take pride in watching your children progress in their technique + times. Time improvements, even if they’re .01 faster are actually huge improvements depending on how old you are. Anything from one .05 to 1second and faster is incredible.

The coaches will make sure that the kids have a fun time as well. We have two different cheers that we do – one in the morning before the meet starts and one during half time. Make sure to join us for the cheers!