First Swim Meet Guide


Here are a few tips about swim meets from some experienced swim parents. 

What to Bring:

  • Team suit, caps and goggles
  • Water and healthy snacks (Candy and sodas are not good snacks especially on meet day.)
  • Sunscreen if it is an outdoor meet or if you are not sure whether it is out or in
  • A highlighter, and a pen
  • Several towels
  • Sweats, t-shirts or a deck coat for a cold, wet swimmer
  • Whatever toiletries and clothing your child may need for changing after the meet
  • Whatever medication (such as inhalers) your child may need during the meet
  • Cards, Gameboys, crayons, whatever your child may want to do to pass the time between events.   

What to wear:

  • You should dress in layers.  Many swim facilities are very hot even in winter, but occasionally they are cold.  
  • If the meet is outside, you will probably be glad for a hat.

What to do:

  • Arrive 15 minutes prior to your team warm up
  • Check in.  Many meets requirea positive check in for each of your child’s events.  There will be a check in sheet for boys and one for girls somewhere on the wall.  Put a check mark beside your child’s name for each event he or she is entered in.  Do not “scratch” (i.e. put an X indicating your child does not want to swim the event) without the coach’s permission.
  • Find the team and try to sit together.  It’s always a good idea to have lawn chairs in the car in case you need them.  There isn’t always enough bleacher space, or you may prefer to sit in the shade.  If you have a “pop-up” tent, you may want to bring it for outdoor meets.  Shade can be hard to come by.
  • Send your child to find the coach and to warm up.  It is important for the coach to know what swimmers are present.
  • Buy a “Heat Sheet.”  They are usually about $5.00.  
  • Find out where heat and lane assignments are going to be posted.  Before your child’s events they will have to go and find out their heat and lane assignment.
  • Encourage your swimmer, but don’t coach him or her. A supportive parent is far more valuable than a coach.
  • Volunteer to time.  All meets need timers, and it can be a good way to pass the time at a meet if your child doesn’t need you.
  • Keep your child hydrated with plenty of water.
  • Ask questions.  Other swim parents, even those from other teams, are happy to answer and help.  Get one to teach you the ropes, and by your second or third meet you’ll be the old pro helping out the newcomers.

One final note:  A child who eats right, drinks plenty of water, and gets the right amount of rest all the time is going to swim better in practice and at meets not to mention a healthier person.