A “First Timers” Guide to Swim Meets

The following is a brief guide to help those who may be attending a year-round swim meet for the first time.  If you have any additional questions or concerns, please email info@tactitans.org.

Thank you for being a part of the TAC TITANS.


Heat Sheets - Heat sheets will be sold at the front desk in the lobby. The heat sheets will have what events your child is swimming and in what heat and lane they will be swimming as well. It is always a good idea to come armed with a highlighter and a Sharpie marker.

Writing On Arms - Once you have purchased a heat sheet, you can find your swimmers events, heats and lanes and write them on their arm with the Sharpie marker you brought.  This way the swimmers will know the specific event numbers they need to be paying attention to.  Many parents will write on the right arm on the first day and the left the second day so you don’t have to write over what you wrote the day before. Please do this before you send your swimmer down on deck.  Only swimmers, coaches, USA Swimming officials and volunteers are allowed on deck.

When Is It My Turn? - At most meets they do not have “kid pushers” or a “clerk of course” like summer league meets.  Therefore, the swimmers need to pay attention to what event is being called versus the next number on their arms.  The coaches are available to answer questions about this type of thing throughout the meet as well, however, getting the swimmers to take responsibility and pay attention to the meet is an important component of their development as a swimmer.

Where Does My Swimmer Sit? – Typically, parents have seating in the form of bleachers at most meets (upstairs in the stands at TAC); however the swimmers may need to bring chairs if they want to sit throughout the meet.  It is recommended by the coaching staff that swimmers stay off their feet and resting in between events and that they stay on deck rather than in the stands. 

Snacks – Most meet sessions last approximately 4 hours and your swimmer will need some food throughout the course of their session to fuel their efforts, packing healthy snacks for them to nibble on during the meet will help.  Many veteran swimmers find that packing some small sandwiches (peanut butter and jelly, etc.) along with fresh or dried fruit provide the energy they need and are convenient to pack, store, and carry. Also, swimmers need to be well hydrated. It is always a good idea to pack a water bottle that can be refilled at the meet. Additionally, some swimmers like to have a sports drink available during the course of a meet session. Gatorade, Powerade, and Propel are popular choices. 

Towels - Bring more than one towel. The swimmers dry off after warming up, after each event, over and over throughout the meet. Having a dry fresh towel to use either later in the meet or after they are done and showered is helpful.

Relays – Many of our meets have relays. Relay swimmers are decided by the coaching staff and usually selected based on information provided by the computer on who are the fastest swimmers in each age group.  Not everyone will get to swim on a relay at all meets.  It is VERY IMPORTANT that each swimmer check with the coaches BEFORE LEAVING each session to find out if they are needed for a relay. Often swimmers will leave without knowing they are on a relay. This causes all the relays to be completely altered to accommodate the missing swimmer.  Please remember: Check out with one of the coaches before you leave each session!

Disqualifications (DQ’s) – DQ does not stand for Dairy Queen, and, most importantly, it is not fatal. It stands for disqualification.  Beginning swimmers and world-class athletes receive disqualifications. There are a number of reasons a swimmer could be disqualified in each stroke. The officials will give a “DQ” sheet to the coaches so they know why the swimmer was disqualified and then the coach can discuss with the swimmer what they did wrong and how they can correct the error for their next swim in that event or stroke.