Swim Meets: The Basics

We know a swimmer's first meet is a new and overwhelming experience.  Some swimmers cannot wait to compete while others are hesitant and sometimes terrified.  Either way, the coaches are ready for everything and anything and are there to support you and your swimmer during their first meet!  Below you will find some helpful information as you and your family prepare for your first meet. We are confident that it will be a positive experience, and will get easier with each meet you participate in.  

Remember, if you have any questions please be sure to ask. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions:

What do I need to bring to the meet?

It is advised that you pack your meet necessities the night before to ensure you don't forget anything!

  • Competition suit - you can purchase a team suit from our Elsmore Team Site
  • Two-towels - because one wet towel is never enough!
  • Goggles - preferably bring two pairs in case the primary pair breaks
  • Piranhas Swim Cap - all swimmers must wear the team cap if they choose to wear caps.  (Coaches have caps available at the meet.  Caps will be billed to your account)
  • Swim Bag (duffle bag or back pack) - to keep their stuff dry on the pool deck
  • Hydrating beverages and healthy snacks - keep those energy levels high!!

When do we arrive at the meet?  Where do the swimmers meet?

A few days before the meet, the coaches will post, on the Event Page, all important information for the upcoming meet including, arrival/warm-up times, pool location, the meet timeline, and the meet program.  In general, we ask that swimmers arrive to the pool 15 minutes before warm-up time to ensure proper warm-up, secure our seats, and just get comfortable with the environment. 

Once swimmers arrive to the pool, a coach will already be on the pool deck.  Find your coach and get ready for warm-up!  We ask that our swimmers sit on deck with the team, although occasional visits with parents are completely acceptable!

Are parent's allowed on deck?

USA-Swimming rules prohibit parents to be on deck with their swimmers unless they are an official or volunteering for the meet.  We ask that parent's sit in the designated spectator area while their swimmers sit with their teammates on deck.  Swimmers are allowed to visit with their families during the meet! 

How do I know when my swimmer's race will be?

As stated above, an individual entry list by swimmer, the Meet Timeline, and the Meet Program will be posted on each meet's Event Page.  The individual entry list will show the exact events that each swimmer will compete in.  The Meet Timeline will show a mostly accurate time as to when each event will begin, as well as the start and finish of the meet.  The Meet Program will show the exact heat and lane that the swimmers will be in.  For almost every meet, the meet program will be provided to us before the meet.  Parents must bring their own meet programs to the pool as they usually are not available for purchase at the meet.  Meets are well organized!

Don't worry, the coaches will always make sure that each swimmer is ready for their race! 

What is a disqualification (DQ)?

Each of the competitive strokes has certain rules to follow in order to execute the stroke properly and fairly as determined by USA-Swimming.  Trained officials observe the swimmers during each race to ensure compliance. If an official is witness to an infraction of the rules, a disqualification (DQ) will result, meaning that the swimmer will not receive an official time.  A disqualification may result from actions such as not getting to the starting blocks on time, false starting, performing strokes in an illegal manner, or unsportsman­like conduct. 

DQs are also a result of technical rules violations. They include but are not limited to:

Freestyle: Walking on the bottom, pulling on the lane rope, not touching the wall on a turn, or not completing the distance.

Backstroke: Pulling or kicking into the wall once a swimmer has turned passed the vertical onto the breast. Turning onto the breast before touching the wall with the hand at the finish of the race

Breaststroke: An illegal kick such as flutter (freestyle), dolphin (butterfly), or scissors (side stroke); not on the breast; alternating movements of the arms; taking two arm strokes or two leg kicks while the head is under water; touching with only one hand at the turns or finish. 

Butterfly: Alternating movements of the arms or legs; pushing the arms forward under instead of over the water surface (underwater recovery); a breaststroke style of kick; touching with only one hand at the turns or finish.

It takes a long time and a few experiences to learn all the rules about each stroke and then physically perform them during competition.  Disqualifications are not uncommon with new swimmers.  The coaches will use disqualifications to further teach the strokes.


Type of Meets & Eligibility Information

Once a swimmer reaches a sufficient level of proficiency our coaches encourage them to participate in meets.  Meets give swimmers a chance to compete, to measure progress, and to have fun with teammates. Meet participation is an essential part of being a member of the team.

USA and MN Swimming does a great job at offering competition to every skill level.  See below for the different types of swim meets offered.  Eligibility for each meet will also be explained under each meets registration page on the EVENTS PAGE.  Please note, understanding what meets your swimmer is eligible for also requires understanding of Time Standards (see below for an explanation of Time Standards).

“Novice Meets” – These meets are for our youngest or least experienced swimmers.  They are a low key meet and will help our Novice swimmers understand the environment at swim meets.  We encourage ALL Novice swimmers to participate in scheduled Novice meets.

"ABC Open Meet" - These meets are open to all swimmers who have competed in at least one other meet previously, youngest to oldest, beginners to the most skilled.  All Age Group 1, Age Group 2, Junior, and Senior swimmers are encouraged to participate in these meets.  They are great meets to learn how to race, try new races, and to gain meet experience.

"BC Open Meet" - This meet is open to all swimmers with times no faster then an MRC time.  These meets are focused to those swimmers in our Novice, Age Group 1, or Age group 2 training groups.

"A Meet" - This meet is for those swimmers who have achieved an A time.  You must at least meet this standard in any event that you swim.  These meets are more focused towards our Age Group 2, Junior, and Senior training groups.

"Minnesota Achievement Championships (MAC's)" - This is a championship meet for those swimmers who have not achieved an MRC time.  To be eligible a swimmer must have swum in at least one meet prior to the MAC meet, swimmers without a time may not swim in MAC's as their first meet.  If an MRC time is achieved your swimmer is then eligible for “MRC's!

"Minnesota Regional Championships (MRC's)" - This is a championship meet for those swimmers who have achieved at least a B but not faster than an A time.  The coaches will prepare your swimmer to swim their fasted times of the season for these meets.  Remember if a “CH” time is achieved or the swimmer wins an individual event, they are eligible for the State Meet!  

"State Meet" - This is a championship meet for all of those swimmers who have achieved a state (Champ) qualifying time.  This is one of the largest meets in Minnesota every year and like any other Championship meet, the coaches will prepare the swimmers to swim their best of the season.

"Zone Meet" - This is a summer championship meet for 14 and unders that requires a swimmer to have achieved a Zone time standard.  It is swum long course and usually out-of-state.  This meet takes teams composed of swimmers from the State of Minnesota and has them compete against other swimmers from different states in our CENTRAL ZONE.  It is a privilege to compete for Team Minnesota.

"Travel Meets" - This is a meet that we travel to as a team to compete, usually out of state.  Travel meets typically have qualifying times.  These meets are a highlight for swimmers and are very fun!  A travel meet fee will be added to the meet registration to help cover coaches' travel expenses.  With a larger group of athletes traveling, the fees are lower, for example $30 per athlete, but fees will be determined per travel meet.  The maximum travel meet fee will be capped at $200 per athlete.  This would be for meets with a very small number of qualifying athletes and long-distance travel.


Time Standards

Minnesota Swimming hosted swim meets typically have certain time standards governing who can participate. For example, many meets will require that a swimmer has Gold, Silver, or Bronze times to participate. Others will require that a swimmer have "CHAMP" or faster times.

Most of the meets the Piranhas Swim Club attends will be subject to Minnesota Swimming's time standards. Fall/Winter is designated as a Short Course season. Spring/Summer is designated as a Long Course (50m pool) season. Find current time standards HERE.

Swim meets that fall outside of Minnesota Swimming's system of time standards will have alternate time standards published on that meet's event page.

National Meets

The Piranhas Swim Club strives to help athletes achieve time standards to allow competition against the best athletes in the country.  Each of these meets has their own set of qualifying standards from Speedo sectionals to USA Swimming Junior Nationals and the pinnacle of USA Swimming, Olympic Team Trials.  A list of all potential meets and their qualifying standards are listed below.  Other time standards for various meets not listed below can be found on the USA Swimming website (Time Standards).


Meet Results

United States Swimming Meet Results Search

USA Swimming collects every time swum in a sanctioned USA Swimming meet so that you don’t have to. There are a number of ways to search for your time. It can be done by age group, gender, season, date and more. Click HERE.

An event only appears in the USA Swimming event for USA Swimming sanctioned meets. In general Piranhas Swim Club does not obtain a sanction for the Piranhas Swim Club mock meets in which only club members participate. Therefore results for the mock meets do not appear in the USA Swimming results. In addition, a result appears for a race only if the swimmer swam the race without a disqualifying infraction.

Minnesota Swimming

Minnesota Swimming typically publishes meet results on their website in a variety of formats. Results by season can be found under the "Meets and Events" tab.

TeamUnify Results Search

Meet results are also stored in each swimmer's account. To access these results, sign-in to your account, go to "My Account" on the left-hand task bar, and click on "My Meet Results".