Swim Meets:

When meet information is published by the host club, a printable, detailed meet information flyer will accompany each signup link on the Meet sign up page and will include specific instructions for entries, eligibility, and the deadline.

Coaches are responsible for entering swimmers in meets and selecting individual events and relays. The coaching staff will take into consideration those events the swimmer wishes to enter. The coaching staff retains the final authority to decide both individual events and relay events. Any swimmer who signs up for a meet will be considered eligible for relay selection. Coaches’ use specialized software to keep track of swimmers’ times.

After coaches make the final decision about events and complete the entry process, entries (including relays) will be posted at the pool and also attached to the meet email sent out. When available the meet timeline will also be posted and emailed.  Relays are subject to change, including during the meet itself. Individual events are less likely to be changed during a meet.

What time should my swimmer arrive?

Plan to arrive approximately 10-15 minutes prior to the start of warm ups.  They will need to stay with the team, if they want to go talk to a parent that is fine but don’t make is too long.  It is easier for the coaching staff to keep track of the swimmers if they stay together so nobody misses an event.


An EVENT is the swimmers “race”:   


There are 4 competitive strokes:  Freestyle, Backstroke, Breaststroke and Butterfly.  There is also the IM - Individual Medley that consist of all four strokes in this order: Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke and Freestyle.

There are also relays that the swimmers can participate in along with 3 other teammates.  Each swimmer swims the same distance.  When the first swimmer finishes, the next swimmer goes until all 4 have completed their lap(s).  There are two different kinds of relays:

Freestyle – each swimmer swims freestyle

Medley – each swimmer swims a different stroke in the order of Backstroke, Breaststroke, Butterfly and Freestyle.


Events per Day:

Change's per meet.  Coaches determine which events a swimmer will compete in.


Age Groups:


There are general age group categories for most meets.  Boys and girls also swim separately.  Some meets combine ages/genders or mix it up based on the type of meet.   In general, this is the breakdown:


8 & Under

9 & 10

11 & 12

13 & 14

15 & 16


Pool Length:


Chaska Middle School East (CMSE)  and Pioneer Ridge Middle School (PRMS) are 25 yard short course pools.  In a 25 yard pool a “50” is two lengths of the pool.

  The Olympics use a 50 meter long course pool.  During the summer season, there are meets in both types of pools but the finals and state meet are all in meter pools.

  Events/Heats/Lanes/Seed Times:

The number of heats is determined by the number of swimmers and the number of lanes in a pool.  If you are at a six-lane pool and there are 30 kids in an event there will be 5 heats.  The heats are generally seeded slowest to fastest.  Your seedtime is the best time you have swum that event.  If you have never swam it, the coach will either make up a time or if allowed will list you at NT (No time).  In a six-lane pool the fastest swimmer in a heat is in lane 3, lane 4, lane 2, lane 5, lane 1 and lane 6.  In an eight-lane pool the fastest is in lane 4 and alternates from there.


Writing on their arm/leg helps everyone stay focused of when they swim.    A permanent marker works well.   It also enables the kids learn to be watching for their own events.



The coaches decide who will be on the relays.  The number of relays depends on the number of swimmers entered and the type of meet.  Sometimes there are not enough kids for a relay or sometimes there are enough for one but not two.   There are times when there may seem like enough kids in a age group but there is no relay.  If the meet is a B/C meet and swimmer at the meet as an “A” time in the 50 free, or any other stroke they are ineligible to swim that stroke on a relay at a B/C meet.   The coaches try to get as many kids on relays as they can.  Relays are a great team-building event.

Meet Sessions:

Weekend meets generally have two sessions a morning and an afternoon session.  These meets are classified as finals only meets.  Generally the younger kids are in the am and the older are in the pm.  It is always good to check the meet information to verify the session information.

Some of the meets, especially ABC finals, State and a few other meets have what is called prelims and finals.  The younger kids swim in the afternoon and only have finals (they only swim their event once for awards).  The older kids will swim prelims in the am and the top 16 will swim again that night to determine the top 16 places.

The meet information is listed on the MN Swimming website once provided by the host team.

Standards and Disqualifications (DQ's):

USA swimming has rules for each start, stroke and turn.  MN swimming is governed by USA swimming and there are officials at each meet that you will see on the pool deck wearing white.  If a swimmer is DQ’d you will see them raise their arm.  The coaches receive a DQ slip that explains what the swimmer did incorrectly.  As a developmental swimmer you can expect these, they are part of the learning process.  The coach may or may not discuss these directly with each swimmer.  At each meet the results are posted on a wall outside the pool area.  If your swimmer gets a DQ their name will be listed on the bottom of the result sheet with the letters DQ next to it.  This means that the time they swam will not count.  DQ’s are ok.  It is a great learning experience and just remind them that they did a great job!


What to bring to a swim meet (remember to label all items): 

  •          WEST team suit (highly recommended)
  •          Two WEST swim caps (required)
  •          Two pair of goggles (highly recommended)
  •          Two towels (highly recommended)
  •          Warm clothes – it can be chilly (recommended)
  •          Water bottle and healthy snacks (highly recommended)
  •          Quiet games or books (recommended)
  •          Old blanket or sleeping bag for “camping” (recommended)
  •          WEST bag or other apparel (optional)


Arrive at the pool 10 minutes before the scheduled warm-up time. Report to your coach with your suit, cap, and goggles, ready to go.  A member of the WEST coaching staff always conducts warm-ups. This is both an athletic need and a safety issue.  Teams are assigned a specific lane for arm ups.  Each group has a specific warm-up designed by the coach. Be familiar with this warm-up before you begin.


Each WEST swimmer is responsible for knowing which events he/she is swimming and for being present in the team area before each race.  Before reporting to the blocks, swimmers must confer with a member of the coaching staff to review race strategy, technique, and goals.  At the conclusion of each race, swimmers must report to their coaches to discuss the race.  At most meets, electronic timing is used. The official time is generally the one recorded in the computer by the swimmer touching the touch pad and appearing on the scoreboard. If a swimmer misses the touch pad or there is a mechanical failure, various back-up times will be used.  Between races, swimmers are asked to rest and stay warm. Energy should be conserved and used in competition, for swimming, or supporting teammates! It is very important that swimmers check in with coaches and request permission before leaving a meet. This is a safety and event accountability policy. Some higher-level meets require checking in, deck seeding, swimming in a Finals sessions, etc. These types of meets have penalties associated with failing to appear for a swim.


Hunger and dehydration can lead to poor performance. Drink and eat throughout the meet. Often there is a concession area at the meet that offers bagels, hot dogs, chips, drinks (including sodas and Gatorade).  It’s a good idea to pack some nutritional snacks like granola bars, fruit snacks, yogurt, fruit, cereal, bagels, and non-carbonated drinks. Don't forget your water bottle. 


USA Swimming Policies and Rules:

Several USA Swimming policies and rules govern most swim meets.  You can find this information on the USA swimming website.  www.usaswimming.org



Check-In Events:

Usually the 400 IM, 400/500 Free, 800/1000 Free, and 1500/1650 Free require swimmers to check in. Coaches check in (or scratch) swimmers from these events. The final decision to check in or scratch rests with the coaches. The coaches must adhere to a deadline, typically early during warm-up or a meet session. Once checked in, if a swimmer misses the event, the meet host imposes a penalty (usually disqualifying the swimmer from his/her next event).



Relays are a team effort. Every WEST swimmer should expect to swim a relay. It is extremely important for swimmers to be on time to the meet, as relays are usually swum at the beginning of a meet session. As with individual events and checking in, the coaching staff has the final authority on relay team selection.

Prelim and Final Events:

Before you leave the pool after prelims, double-check the results to see if you made finals. If you are an alternate, someone ahead of you may scratch. If you are swimming in finals, make sure you know when warm-up begins before you leave. Failure to show up for a final event, results in an athlete being barred from a portion, or the remainder, of the meet (by USA Swimming rule).

Deck Entries:

Some meets allow swimmers to enter more events than they are pre entered for as long as they don’t go over the maximum events for a day.  Deck Entries are allowed based on availability and have an additional fee paid at the time of signing up.  This comes in handy if you are going to a meet with qualifying times and you don’t have very many yet.

Time Trials:

Some meets offer time trials, typically at the end of a meet session. Time trials are swum for an official time only; there are no places or awards given.


Official results will be posted within 30 minutes following the conclusion of an event.  The result sheets are usually taped on a wall somewhere near the pool and/or awards table.


Meets may or may not have awards.   Meet information states the type, if any, will be given.

Within 30 minutes following the conclusion of an event, the meet host team will have awards for distribution. Typically, a designated table/area will be set up where swimmers/families can pick up awards. Swimmers/families should pick up their awards during each session of each meet. If awards are not picked up by the swimmer/family, the coaching staff and meet host team are not responsible for unclaimed awards.  Awards are sometimes given to the coaches via mail or at a future meet.