Common Swim Team Questions and Answers

1) Order Of Events
2) Who Swims What Race?
3) Suggested Meet Packing List
4) Information About Our Meets
5) Surviving The Swim Season In Style

1) Order of Events

Swim meets are organized around five individual and two relay events.  The normal order of events for dual meets is listed below.  However, it should be noted that the order of events is set at the discretion of the home pool and therefore may vary for both dual meets and invitationals.

Swimmers compete at meets in the following age groups:

6 and under, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14 and 15-18.

Medley Relay (MR) ‑ Four individual swimmers combine as a team, with each swimmer swimming one of the following strokes:  Back, Breast, Fly and Free (in that order).  6 & under and 7-8 age groups swim 100-yard MR (25 yards per swimmer).  All other age groups swim 200-yard MR (50 yards per swimmer).

Individual Medley (IM) ‑ Individual swimmers swim 25 yards each of Fly, Back, Breast, and Free (in that order) in one event.  All IM races are 100 yards.  6 & unders do not swim this event.

Individual Strokes - 6 & under and 7-8 age groups swim 25-yard races.  9-10, 11-12 and 13-14 age groups swim 50-yard races and 15-18’s swim 100-yard races. 

(1) Freestyle (F)

(2) Breaststroke (BR)

(3) Backstroke (BK)

(4) Butterfly (FLY) 

Free Relay (FR) ‑ Four individual swimmers combine as a team, with each swimmer swimming Freestyle.  6 & under and 7-8 age groups swim 100-yard FR (25 yards per swimmer. All other age groups swim 200-yard FR (50 yards per swimmer).

Meets generally begin with the 6 & under age group Medley Relay, with the girls swimming first, followed by the boys of the same age group.  The meet then proceeds through each older age group for an entire event (i.e., 7-8 girls follows the 6 and under age group and so on).  Therefore, following the 15‑18 year‑old boys Individual Medley, the 6 & under girls Freestyle begins. The meet proceeds through the remainder of events in similar fashion. All Swimmers need to pay attention to the order of events at a given meet and be ready to report to swim prior to their particular event


2) Who Swims What Race?

Individual Events:
Every swim meet has its own guidelines about how many individual races a swimmer can swim:

At our Time Trials and our Devil Mountain Pentathlon, every swimmer is entered in every individual event.  This means, for example, that even if a swimmer is never scheduled for a butterfly race the rest of the year, that swimmer will still have 2 chances to record times in butterfly during the season.

At most dual meets (DHST vs. one other team), swimmers can expect the coaches to enter them in 2 or 3 individual events, depending on the format of the meet.  It is expected that the coaches will enter the top swimmers in as many events as allowed by the format of the meet to give the team the most likely chance of winning points at the meet.

At invitational meets – like the Battle of the Ages, the Crossings Challenge, Woodlands, and the Concord Cup City Meet – the coaches will enter swimmers in the maximum (2, 3, or 4, depending on the meet) number of swims allowed.

The coaches determine which races an individual will swim at each meet, and there is no “rule” that governs which events the coaches assign to swimmers.  It is not uncommon for coaches to assign swimmers to their best strokes meet after meet.  As a result, there may be swimmers who go the whole summer without swimming their “off strokes” except at Time Trials and Pentathlon.

The coaches choose which swimmers will be on the relays.  In almost all cases, the coaches will choose the fastest combination of swimmers for each relay at the time the relay entries are due (which is often the day of the meet). 

At every meet there is a limit to the number of relay teams the coaches can enter.  As a result, it is normal for the top swimmers in a meet to have as many as 5 races – 3 individual races plus 2 relays – while other swimmers may only have 2 races that day.


3) Suggested Meet Packing List New parents sometimes come to meets with only their swimmer and a towel.  Here is an expanded packing list more typical of what “veteran families” bring along.  Dress in layers to stay comfortable, whatever the weather.

Morning and Evening Meets
The weather can be cold in early morning or in the evening so dress appropriately.

  • Sleeping Bag - Depending on weather, swimmers nestle inside or sit on top of them between races
  • Portable chairs/Beach umbrella/Small tent - helpful for swimmers and parents alike
  • Towels - two per swimmer is nice
  • Warm parka
  • DHST swim cap
  • Goggles
  • Visor or sun hat for everyone
  • Thongs or Sandals‑Note for parents working as timers and recorders, you should be prepared to get your feet wet
  • Suntan lotion/sun block - absolutely required for morning and day-long meets
  • Sunglasses
  • Parent Handbook, Directions to Away Meets, Performance Sheets
  • Money for concession stand - Food is sold at nominal cost at ALL meets. Breakfast: coffee, tea, hot chocolate, donuts, bagels.  Lunch & Dinner:  baked potatoes, hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, salads, noodle soup

All Day Meets --> Additional Items

  • Awning/Umbrella/Dome Tent‑for shade, changing rooms, etc.

  • Tarp‑just in case the ground is wet.

  • Cooler with extra soft drinks or food‑remember, no glass containers.

  • Highlighter pens/pencils‑for marking names and times in meet program.

  • Quiet games for swimmers‑ such as puzzle books, Gameboy, cards, etc., Reading Material - newspapers, books, magazines


4) Information About Our Meets

The information contained in this section gives you an overview of what to expect at each type of meet this season.

General Information

  1. Events that each swimmer will compete in will be posted on the website 1-2 days prior to the meet.  Relays may be posted or may be determined at the meet.

  2. Warm ups are mandatory, and take place in the hour preceding the meet start time.  Exact time will be posted on the website 1-2 days prior to the meet.

  3. There is typically a team area at all invitational swim meets.  Look for the Dana Hills team banner and your fellow Otters.

  4. Be sure to check in with the coaching staff if you need to leave a swim meet unexpectedly.  This is critical to the coach when determining relay swimmers.

  5. Star achievement awards can be earned at each meet throughout the year, including Time Trials.

Dana Hills Time Trials (Full Team)

Each swimmer will swim every event that they know how to swim to establish initial race times for the start of the season.  Times are also used to calculate the most improved swimmer at season’s end.

Swim all 5 individual events (4 for 6-unders).
No Relays

Duration: 5 hours (approx meet time 9:00 -2:00)

Awards: No awards are given at Time Trials.

Dual Meets (A or B)
Dual meets (meets against one team) can be split (A or B) and held on different days.  This allows all swimmers to get the maximum amount of race time and allows meets to be completed in a reasonable timeframe.  Swimmers are selected to attend A team meets.  This is based on times posted during the season.  If you are not selected to attend the A meet, you will probably be entered into the B meet against that same team.

Swim 2-3 individual events.
Medley and Free Relays (participants selected by the coaching staff)

Duration: 3 hours (approx meet time 6:00 -9:00)

Awards: Ribbons are awarded at most dual meets.

Dual Meets (A and B)
Dual meets (meets against one team) are held with the full team (not split) when the opposing team is smaller in size.  These meets are typically scheduled for Saturday mornings, but can also work on weeknights.  All swimmers attend and are seeded into heats according to their times.

Swim 2-3 individual events.
Medley and Free Relays (participants selected by the coaching staff)

Duration: 3-4 hours
(approx meet time on weekends is 9:00 – 1:00, on weeknights is 5:30 – 9:00)

Awards: Ribbons are awarded at most dual meets.

Battle of the Ages (Full Team)
This is a two day invitational meet in which swimmers compete ONLY against swimmers of their own age (for example, 7 year olds swim against only the other 7 year olds).  This is the only meet of its kind all year. You may attend this event Saturday, Sunday or both.  Typically 15-20 local teams participate in this invitational meet. Unlike other meets, swimming begins with the 18 year old group and goes in reverse order with each event ending with the 5 year old age group.

Format: Swim Up to 4 individual events (usually selected by swimmer)

Saturday Events: Free, Breast, Fly

Sunday Events: IM, Back, Double Distance Free

No Relays

* Note: Double distance Freestyle is when the swimmer goes twice the distance of their normal freestyle race.

Duration: 7 hours (approx meet time 9:00 – 4:00 each day)

** Duration of your stay will depend on which events your swimmer has entered   .

Awards: Individual medals awarded to first, second and third place in all events.  Ribbons awarded to 4th through 8th place.  Heat winner ribbons awarded.  Rosettes are award for new records set during the meet. This meet also awards high point swimmer awards.  Awards go to the boy and the girl in each age group that have the highest total points in the individual events.  A ceremony is held at the end of the meet on Sunday.

Devil Mountain Pentathlon (Full Team)
This meet is held over two days.  This is our team’s biggest fundraiser, and all parents are required to work at this meet.  Each swimmer will swim all 5 events.  On Saturday, 6 and unders (girls and boys), 7-8s (girls and boys), and 9-10 girls swim their five events.  On Sunday, 9-10 boys, 11-12 (girls and boys), 13-14 (girls and boys), and 15-18 (women and men) swim their five events.

Format: Swim all 5 individual events (Fly, Back, Breast, Free, IM/50Free). No Relays

Duration: 7 hours (approx meet time 9:00 – 4:00 each weekend day)

Awards: Both A and B level swimmers have a chance to earn awards during the Pentathlon meet. After completion of each event, the swimmers times will be divided into two groups. Swimmers with times within the top half for the event are A swimmers; swimmers with times within the second half for the event are B swimmers.  Individual ribbons in each event (1st-8th) will be awarded in each group. In addition, at the end of each day, there is a ceremony to hand out overall awards based on the swimmer’s total time for all five events combined (Pentathlon time).  Overall winners in each age group in the A and B divisions will receive medals for first through third places and rosette ribbons for fourth through eight place.

Woodlands Invitational (Selected A Swimmers Only) 
This is a two day invitational meet.  Swimmers are invited by the coaching staff to participate based on times posted during the swim season.  This meet offers some of the best competition all season for our swimmers.  At this meet, preliminary heats are held in the morning.  For qualifying swimmers, finals are held in the afternoon, following a one-hour lunch break.  Finalists consist of the 12 fastest swimmers from the prelims.  The 6 fastest compete in the final heat and swimmers 7-12 compete in the consolation finals.  Each day ends with that day’s relay races.

Format: Swim 2 individual events (plus possible relays)

Saturday Events: Free, Breast, 13-up IM, Medley Relay

Sunday Events: Fly, Back, 12-under IM, Free Relay   

Duration: 7 hours (approx meet time 9:00 – 4:00 each day)

** Duration of your stay will depend on which events your swimmer has entered.

Awards: Medals are awarded to individual finalist placing 1st -6th. Rosettes are given to consolation finalists.  In the relay events, Medals 1st -3rd and rosettes for 4th – 6th. This meet also awards high point swimmer awards.  Awards go to the boy and the girl in each age group that have the highest total points in the individual events.  A ceremony is held at the end of the meet on Sunday.

Crossings Challenge invitational (Full Team except Woodlands Swimmers)
This is a one day invitational meet designed to provide B swimmers a fun and competitive meet.  It is held on the same weekend as the Woodlands Invitational.  If you are selected to compete at the Woodlands, you will not be eligible to swim at this meet.

Format: Swim 3 individual events (plus possible mixed-gender relays)      

Duration: 6 hours (approx meet time 8:30 – 4:00)

** Duration of your stay will depend on which events your swimmer has entered.

Awards: Each participating swimmer will receive an “Outstanding Swimmer” Medal.  All swimmers will receive medals (1st – 3rd) or rosettes (4th-8th) for placement in individual events and relays.  Trophies will be awarded to High Point male and female swimmer in each age group.  High point will be calculated based on the two highest individual event scores.  In case of ties, swimmers’ total relay score will be used.  There is an awards ceremony immediately following the meet.

Concord City Cup Swim Championships, a.k.a. "City Meet" (Full Team)
This meet is held over three days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).  This meet is for all swim teams in Concord and Clayton. For all individual events except the IM, there are preliminary heats and then finals. There are A and B divisions for each individual event at the meet.  Swimmers are placed based on their best times in the event at the time entries are due.  The heats are divided in half with the fastest half being assigned to the A division.  In addition, the three fastest heats are “circle-seeded”. This means that the 18 fastest swimmers in each event are evenly distributed between the last three heats.  There are finals in both the A and B divisions. 

Format: Swim 3 individual events. Free and Medley Relay (posted at the meet)

Duration: Friday   3 hours (approx 5:00 – 8:00pm IM only)

Weekend 7 hours (approx 9:00 – 4:00)

** Duration of your stay will depend on which events your swimmer has entered   .     

Awards: After this three day event, there is a lot to celebrate.  A parent relay is held following the meet.  Again, if you are interested you can sign up with the team organizer.  At the conclusion of the meet, the Mayor’s Award trophies will be given to the boy and girl in each A division age group who scores the most points in the three individual events they compete in.  Terrapins Award trophies will be given to the B division high point swimmers in each age group.  Finally, the team awards for points and sportsmanship are awarded.   After the awards ceremony at the pool, we have our own team celebration, usually at a local pizza restaurant.  All of the DHST event medals, rosettes, and ribbons are distributed to the swimmers at the party.

Individual Awards for A and B Division:

First – Third: Medals (A) - Rosettes (B)
Fourth – Tenth: Rosettes (A and B)
Meet records: Rosettes (A)
Heat winners: Ribbon (A and B)

Traditions: Each team at the meet has a theme.  We dress up accordingly and show our team spirit. On Saturday morning there is a caravan that heads to Cowell pool form DHST at about 6:30 am. Cars have been decorated and the coffee is on.  This gets everyone up and going.  We have a food table set up at our team area and breakfast items and healthy snacks are welcome. Again, following the meet, everyone heads to pizza for a great night of food, fun and, of course, awards.

Contra Costa County Championships (County Qualifiers and Relay Invitees)
This is the closing meet of the recreational swim season, and is held over two days.  Swimmers who make a County qualifying time during the season in individual events are eligible to compete in 2 of those events.  Relay teams can include swimmers who have not otherwise qualified for the County meet.  Over 60 teams from Contra Costa County participate in this ultimate meet.  For all events except the IM, (and including the relays!) there are preliminary heats and finals.  Championship final heats include the top 8 times from the preliminary heats; consolation final heats include the next 8 top qualifiers from the prelims.  There are no consolation finals for relay events.

Format: Swim up to 2 individual events and up to 2 relays.

Saturday Events: 11-up IM, Free, Breast, Medley Relay

Sunday Events: 10-under IM, Back, Fly, Free Relay

Duration: 7 hours (approx meet time 9:00 – 4:00 each day)

** Duration of your stay will depend on which events your swimmer has entered. 

Awards: All swimmers who qualify for an individual event receive a participation award.  Individual medals are awarded for 1st through 8th place in the championship finals.  Rosette ribbons are awarded for 9th through 16th place in individual events.  Record holder awards go to individuals and relay teams that set a new standing meet record.  High point awards go to the boy and girl in each age group earning the most points from individual events.  Outstanding relay awards are given to one boys’ and one girls’ relay teams.  Team trophies are awarded to the top 3 teams in each division.  An awards ceremony is held at the end of the meet on Sunday.


5) Surviving the Swim Season in Style

Here are a few key reminders to help you make your summer as a member of the Dana Hills Swim Team a success:

Vacation & Sign-out Book
It is extremely important that you sign out of meets you won’t be attending. If your child’s name is not on the sign-out list, they will be entered in the meet. The sign-out book is kept underneath the family file outside of the coaches’ office.  You need to sign out of dual meets at least one week prior to the meet.  You need to sign out of Invitational meets at least three weeks in advance of the meet.

Family File
Each family is given its own file folder where all important information is inserted. Check your file daily if possible. Notices, ribbons, awards, bills, etc. are always put in the family file for your convenience. If your children are responsible for bringing this information to you, check with them often.

The Website –
Our website is updated regularly with meet information, photos, important announcements, result of all races during the season, and more.  Check it often for information and entertainment.

Buddy Family System
We will try to match up a veteran family with a new family (age group appropriate) so that new families will feel more comfortable asking questions and getting acclimated to DHST.

Bulletin Board
Important meet information, driving directions, work assignments and other important information is always posted on the bulletin board, which is located across from the coaches’ office.

Heat Sheets
Heat sheets will be posted by the awards case two days before a meet.  This will tell you if your children are swimming and, if so, what strokes.  Please check this board before every meet, last minute changes do occur.

Private Lessons
While it is not required, your children may choose to take private lessons with one of our coaches after practice.  Fees and sign-up information are located underneath the family file. If you have any questions, check with the individual coaches.