Competing in Swim Meets 101


Every month, DRD competes in two to three USA Swimming swim meets. These meets can range from one day to three days long. When you sign up for the swim meets, you have the option to sign up for how ever many days you wish to compete. A majority of the meets DRD participates in are in the Metro Detroit area and can range in drive time of 20 minutes to 60 minutes., dependent upon traffic and distance. An exception to this would be State championship meets, Sectional meets, and other national qualifying meets. The higher the caliber meet, the more likely of further travel.

All events for every meet are approved by coaches before submitting. For meets where coaches select events, swimmers will be placed into races that will both challenge them and allow them to be successful and learn. For meets where swimmers/parents can select events, coaches can change an athlete from one race to another if they feel their ability or conditioning is not ready for a specific event.


Below are some frequently asked questions that we hope will help you better understand the functioning of swim meets and our coach’s expectations for our swimmers at all of the meets we attend.



Q: Help! I do not know what to enter my swimmer in to event wise for this meet.

A: No problem! Leave a note in the comment box what days you would like to swim and that you would like a coach to select events for your swimmer.


Q: What time should we arrive to the meet?

A: Depending on when your swimmer is competing, plan on arriving 15 minutes prior to the start time of warm up. The 15 minute buffer allows ample time for unexpected travel conditions, or should you forget your swim suit and need to turn back around to go grab it at home.


Q: When is my swimmer racing?

A: Swim meets are typically broken up into sessions and within each session there are groups of 8 & under, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, and Open. It is extremely important that you pay attention to when you swimmer will be participating at a meet as every session assignment can be different with every competition. This information can always be found with the meet event page on our team website (Events/Meets > scroll to the meet > Summarized info is listed).


Q: What is a heat and lane assignment?

A: Swimmers are organized into heats and lanes depending on their entry times. The faster their time, the more likely they will be in later heats of an event. If you swimmer has a NT (no time) for an event, they will be racing in the earlier heats of an event.


Q: What can I send my swimmer with to meets?

A: Coaches recommend swimmers have the following:

  • Healthy snacks (no candy, please)
  • Water and/or gatorade
  • Sweatshirt/sweat pants to keep warm
  • Extra towel
  • Folding chair (if applicable for the meet)
  • Extra pair of goggles
  • Extra swim suit


Q: How will my swimmer know when it is time for them to race?

A: For our new swimmers, as well as our 12 & under racers, we encourage writing their event numbers on their hands BEFORE they arrive to the meet. Coaches will then write their heat and lanes for each event once heat sheets are given out. Coaches will remind swimmers it is time to head to the blocks, but it is ultimately the responisbility of the athlete to be aware of what is going on at the meet so they do not miss their race.


Q: What should my swimmer do after they complete each race?

A: It is expected that every swimmer come up and talk to their coach after their race. This is an important window of learning and reflection between coach and swimmer. Failure to do so is a missed opportunity for athlete growth.


Q: Should my swimmer warm-down after a race?

A: Warm-downs are at the discretion of the coach at the meet. Typically, our younger swimmers are asked to stay out of the warm-down pool. Our older swimmers are always expected to warm-down to help recover between races.


Q: Can my swimmer sit with me in the stands?

A: We expect our athletes to sit on the pool deck with their teammates during the entire duration of their races. If a swimmer wanders off to visit family in the stands, there is risk of missing an event or an important announcement from the coach.


Q: My swimmer is done. Can they leave the meet immediately after?

A: Once they get the OK from the coach, they are free to go. Every swimmer is responisble for cleaning up their area and discarding any trash along the way. Please make sure you label personal belongings so if anything is left behind, we can return items to their rightful owners.


Q: Where can I find results?

A: An app for smart phones called 'Meet Mobile' can be purchased and downloaded for unofficial LIVE results. Results will typically be uploaded within a week of the meet on our team site. You can also access your swimmers times in the SWIMS database on USA Swimming's website.


Q: What are deck entries and will they be having them at the meet we are attending this weekend?

A: Deck entries are accepted at the discretion of the meet director. Dependent upon how full the meet is and timeline restrictions, deck entries will be accepted or they won't be. Deck entries are an opportunity to enter additional events (as long as you are not exceeding the maximum amount for the session) and can be completed for a dollar charge listed in the meet packet.