Current Season Meets

There is one practice meet, 5 regular season ISL meets and one Pentathlon Meet and one ISL Championship meet. Meets are held Saturday mornings from 7:30 AM to roughly 1:00 PM. See the events calendar for specific times and dates.

About Meets

Per ISL rules, to be eligible to swim in the Championship Meet a swimmer must have participated in at least three dual or tri-meets (Time Trials/practice meet excluded, but Penthalon may count as one of the three meets) AND four events cumulatively during the current season.  Please refer to the ISL website for Championships qualifying times. Swimmers who do not earn a qualifying time can still swim one race at champs. We highly encourage all swimmers to attend the Champs meet.

Important notes about Swim Meets

  • For each swimmer you need to declare whether they are going to attend the meet by Wednesday night before the meet. You can do this either through the Events page or the OnDeck app. It is critical that the coaches know who is going to attend the meet in order to assign events and relays and for the meet to run smoothly.
  • The baby pool is reserved for non-swim team residents during meets, and is closed to all Northstars swimmers during meets.
  • Please help keep our pool and facilities clean. The Park Paseo HOA allows us to use the pool and facilities for practices and meets, and can revoke our right to use the pool or charge penalties if we do not adhere to their policies.
  • If a swimmer is placed in a relay, do not leave the meet before the event. Relay events take a lot of coordination and have a big impact on meet performance.

A swim meet consists of 68 events. Events are grouped by stroke and are repeated through all age groups, starting with 5-6 Girls and ending with 15-18 Boys.

  1. Medley Relay
  2. Butterfly
  3. Backstroke
  4. Individual Medley
  5. Breaststroke
  6. Freestyle
  7. Free Relay 

Typical Meet Schedule

7:30 AM

Swimmers check in. Volunteers sign in.

7:45-8:45 AM

Swimmers warm-up

8:45 AM

First shift workers go to assigned positions

9:00 AM

Meet begins

10:45 AM

Break – second half workers go to assigned positions

11:00 AM

Second half begins

1:30 PM

Meet ends; Clean-Up (home meets)

What to Bring: Swimmers must wear the team swim suit and cap (girls only) but should also consider the following for a great swim performance:

  • Team Suit
  • Swim cap 
  • Swim goggles
  • Towels (extra towels are a good idea because kids get in and out of the pool multiple times)
  • Sunscreen
  • Northstars t-shirt
  • Sweatshirt for chilly mornings post warm-up
  • Cash for breakfast and lunch at the snack bar
  • Parents wear a team t-shirt or t-shirt of matching color

Be sure to label your belongings. Other items to consider are hats, pop-up tents, and games for kids to play between their swim events.

Transportation: Parents are responsible for getting their swimmer(s) to & from the meet. Carpools can be arranged by parents if needed.

Warm-Ups: In swimming, as in any strenuous sport, it is important to stretch and warm up before competing. Plan to arrive at meets at 7:45 AM sharp so your swimmer can check- in and have an adequate warm-up.

Seating: You may wish to bring your own chair or blanket to the meet, as seating is limited at most pools. You will generally find that the Northstar parents will gather in one area, so look for them when you arrive. Swimmers should sit together with their teammates to make it easier to find them for their events.

Events: Parents should help swimmers watch for their event at the ready bench and make sure they report when called. A large placard with rotating numbers will be on the deck. The number displayed on the placard refers to the race that is being gathered at the Ready Bench. Once you bring your child to the Ready Bench, you can leave that area and get ready to watch the event.

Some new swimmers may be tentative before their race, and may not want to race or even go to the Ready Bench. This is normal. The coaches may try gentle persuasion, but no swimmer will be forced to do anything against their will. In the event of a reluctant swimmer, just be patient and understanding with your child. A lot of parents have also experienced this with their swimmers.

Food: Park Paseo has the best snack bar in ISL! Everything has been homemade for the past 3 years and not store bought. Enjoy fresh delicious food at the Northstars Snack bar! Start your swimmer off with a good breakfast before a meet. During the meet, the swimmers should eat lightly. We encourage you to support the snack bars at the meets since the profits go to the host team. No glass is allowed in pool areas. Please keep the pool area clean.

Helping Out: Swim meets can only run smoothly and finish on time if we have your help. Most of the jobs can be learned quickly, even if you are not familiar with competitive swimming. Sometimes the best views and shadiest seats go to those who help with timing or scorekeeping! Helping out is the fastest way to get to know other parents and swimmers. We encourage our parents to talk to each other and parents on the other team to learn from each other to help make the swim meets an enjoyable experience for everyone.

Scoring and Awards: Each swimmer earns points for her team by competing in their event (excluding disqualifications). At the end of the meet, these points are tallied to determine the winner of the meet. Ribbons will be awarded for the first through sixth place at meets. Participation ribbons are given to all swimmers not receiving a top six finish or heat winner ribbon. Swimmers who improve their times or set team / league records also receive special ribbons. At the end of the season, all swimmers in good standing receive a swimmer’s trophy for their team participation. The size of the swimmer’s trophy grows with each year of participation.

Fun Swim: During the meet’s half-time break there will be a “race” for swimmers who are not on the swim team, for example, younger siblings or an adult relay team. Parents and siblings should bring their suits and goggles to the pool for a fun race. The kids love seeing their parents swimming and it's a great opportunity to experience what your child goes through!

End of Season Championship Meet

The Championship Meet is the final season swim meet with participants from all the 20 other Irvine Swim League teams competing by division. It is a great chance to meet other swimming families in Irvine and an opportunity for your young swimmers to compete at the facility that is used for national competitions AND where past Olympians have swum.

Your participation is critical to the success of the Park Paseo Northstars team. Swimmers who achieve qualifying times can swim in up to four events. Swimmers who have not met the qualifying times are still eligible to compete in one event.

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

All Champs swimmers can earn the team points for their performance. A team of 100 qualifying and non-qualifying swimmers will outperform a team of 50 qualifying-only swimmers. Enjoy a fun final meet with the team at Champs and give the Northstars an opportunity to finish strong in our division this season.

Meets FAQ

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

Swim meets will usually start at 9 am, with warm-up starting at 7:45-8 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!