Swim Meets 101- Everything you wanted to know

Swim meets are a great family experience! They’re a place where the whole family can spend time together. Listed below are some very in-depth guidelines geared to help you though your first couple of swim meets. It may seem a little overwhelming, but we tried to be as specific and detailed as possible.  Do you have the "on deck" parent app?

Meet Entry Fees

  1. Parents are required to pay their swimmer’s meet entry fees.  Fees are added to the swimmers Team Unify escrow account after the meet.  WSY pays the host club before the meet thus if you entere a meet and "scratch" you will still be charged.  Meets that we (WSY) are hosting, we will not charge for "last minute scratches"
  2. Meet fees are set by the host team and are usually $5/per event
  3. It is imperative that all families follow the meet entry accept/decline process outlined below. 

Meet Entry/Decline Procedure [Quick Tutorial on the Team Unify Intranet Site for our Team]

We encourage all swimmers to attend all group/swimmer appropriate meets on the schedule.  

  1. The Coaches will be adding swimmers in each practice group to swim meets (except AGA).  If parents know your swimmer will NOT be able to race in a certain swim meet, you MUST "Decline" attending that meet. Swimmers in AGA will be asked to register for your meets 
  2. After swimmers are added to a certain meet, the coaches will email a copy of the en try to all swimmers in their parctice group.  Swimmer may ask to change events.  The coaches will have the "final say" in all event selections.
  3. All parents are responsible for understanding the deadlines to ACCEPT/DECLINE through Team Unify.


The Day Before the Meet:

Be sure to check your child’s events before the meet deadline. They will be posted on the website and emailed to all swimmers in the meet. Review it carefully. If you think that there are any mistakes in terms of their entry or events, contact Coach Mike, ([email protected]). A few days before the meet, check the meet information posted on our website. Be aware that sometimes the meet informationchanges a few days prior to the meet.  O

***We would like the swimmers to know PRIOR to the meet what events they are racing. A prepared swimmer is a relaxed swimmer!


Help your child pack their swim bag the night before the meet. Make sure they have their suit, 2 pairs  of goggles, team cap, team t-shirt, at least two towels, warm clothes if conditions require it, snack & water bottle. Be sure your child’s name is on everything!


The Day of the Meet:

Arrive at the pool at least 15 minutes before the scheduled warm-up time. You will receive an email the Tuesday before the meet. Remember to send your swimmer with a list of their events. This will encourage swimmers to be responsible on deck.

Most of the meet we run are "scratch back", and swimmers that are not present for warm-up will be scratched.  After coaches turn in their "scratch sheets", the meet is re seeded so that we don't have open lanes

Locate the WSY team area on deck, have your child check in with his or her coach. Swimmers, coaches, officials and WSY Volunteers are the only people permitted on deck. You will not be able to lead your child to the team area on deck or be on deck at any point during the meet unless you are an active meet volunteer (timer runner, awards etc) or a certified Meet Official. This is a USA Swimming Rule and will be strictly enforced.

Once the swimmer has found a spot to sit with the team, they should report back to the coach for their warm-up instructions. It is very important for all swimmers to warm up with the team. Swimmer’s bodies are like cars on a cold day – they need to warm up their engine before racing.

What do you do? Most of our WSY meets, we are hosting so please be sure to wear your WSY gear and when you arrive be sure to check-in for your volunteer position.   We want parents to cheer for everyone on the team. Let’s do everything we can to support the goal of being a TEAM. We want to run a successful swim meet.

After the warm-up, the coaches will help the younger swimmers with their heat and lane so that they remember where to go. The swimmers should make sure that they go to the bathroom before the meet and/or their  events begin. Sometimes new swimmers forget this detail! If time allows and only after checking with the coach, swimmers can check in with their parents to let them know what heat and lane they will be in.

Because parents are not allowed on deck, make sure you tell your child to check in with you throughout the meet.  However, swimmers should always let their coach know if they are leaving the team area. We don’t want anyone to miss their event!

The Meet Begins:

1. It is important for any swimmer to know what event numbers he or she is swimming. Coaches or other swimmers will write the event #, heat, and lane on their hands. The swimmers may swim right away after the warm-up or they may have to wait a while.

2. The coaches will have "Heat Sheets" (the event lane assignments) and there will be heat sheets posted around the pool deck so that swimmers can see their lane assignments

3. The swimmer swims his / her race.

4. After each race: He/she is to ask the timers (people behind the starting blocks at each lane) his/her time.

5. Swimmers should always say “thank you” to the timers.

6. He/she should go immediately to their coach. The coach will ask his/her time and discuss the race with each swimmer.

Generally, the coach follows these guidelines when discussing a race:

-Positive comments or praise

-Suggestions for improvement

-Positive comments

After Each Race Parents Should:

Tell your child how great they did! The coaching staff will be sure to discuss stroke technique, starts & turns with them. Please refrain from analyzing their races. You need to tell them how proud you are of them and what a great job they did. Plenty of High Fives and Hugs!

When the swimmers have completed all of their events and relays and have checked with the coach, then they may go home. At championship meets and dual/tri meets, relays are often included. All relay decisions will be made by the coaches at the meet. If you leave and your child was supposed to swim in a relay, that leaves three other swimmers without their fourth relay swimmer.   Always check with the coach before leaving

The Race Didn’t Go Well…

If your child has a poor swim and comes out feeling bad, talk about the good things.

Try to focus on the positive aspects of the race i.e. first time doing an event like the 50 butterfly etc. Help your child from dwelling on a “bad” race. Learn from it and move on…no one is perfect!

What to take to the meet:

  1. Team suit, team cap (for those who wear them), team t-shirt and goggles
  2. Towels – pack at least two
  3. Flip Flops or some type of deck sandal
  4. Something to sit on if there is not enough seating – old blanket, small beach chair
  5. Warm-ups or sweat shirts to stay warm
  6. Sharpie to write events on arm/hand
  7. Games – cards, books, coloring, small hand held computer games, etc.
  8. Food – Bring a small cooler with a water bottle, juice box or Gatorade/Powerade, fresh fruit, cereal bars, energy bars, dry cereal, etc. NO GLASS! Usually, food is not allowed on the pool deck. We suggest that you keep the food with you and have swimmers come up for a snack. Swimmers should be sure to eat a healthy meal before the meet. Concessions are available at most meets but please encourage healthy choices.
  9. Plastic shopping bags for wet items
  10. A printed or written copy of your child’s events

Once you have attended one or two meets, this will all become very routine. Please do not hesitate to ask other parents, coaches or staff members if you have questions. These meets are a lot of fun for the swimmers. They get to hang out with their friends, play games, swim a few races and meet swimmers from other teams.

Things to Leave at Home:

  1. Pressure- Do not put pressure on your swimmer to achieve any certain level!

  2. Coaching-Refrain from giving tips and extra advice. They have heard it many times from coaches, and your advice, though loving, heightens their emotions in a way that can lead to greater nervousness.

  3. Comparisons-Do not compare your swimmer or their progress to other swimmers! Ever!

  4. Stopwatches-Just enjoy the races. Some races may be awesome, some may be a struggle. All are learning experiences, and your swimmer’s value is not determined by the outcomes.

  5. Negativity-Stay positive about your swimmer, other swimmers, the coaches, other parents, etc.!

  6. Electronics-The kids do not interact as well with electronic games. It is almost impossible to get the brain to refocus on a race when consumed with a video game. All swimmers should come ready to be inclusive and develop their friendships with their teammates.

  7. Equipment bag-They do not need their equipment-only suit, cap and goggles.

Special Parent’s Note

The pool area (for indoor meets) is usually very warm. Therefore, you need to make sure that you dress appropriately. Remember that only swimmers, meet workers, USA certified coaches and officials are allowed on deck.  Last but not least, remember your cheering voice for your child and all of our WSY swimmers!