Time trials are held prior to our first dual meet. The purpose of the time trials is to establish a "time" for each swimmer in each event that he or she is capable of swimming. These "times" are then used as the basis for setting up the heats (or races) during the first meet.

A practice meet may also be scheduled to serve as an introduction to some of the meet procedures. Both time trials and practice meets are helpful to parent volunteers as well as to the swimmers to prepare for the regular season.

During regular swim meets, however, children are placed in heats according to their best times so that they will be competing against swimmers with a comparable level of skill and ability. Swimmers' times are continually updated throughout the season. (Under Records / Results TAB is a link for HEAT SHEETS, click on those to get an idea on how the Meets are setup).


All regular meets are called DUAL MEETS, with one team swimming against another. The format of the dual meet is consistent. There are sixty events in the following sequence:


  • 1-5 Medley Relay
  • 6-15 Freestyle
  • 16-25 Backstroke
  • 26-35 Breaststroke
  • 36-45 Butterfly or "Fly"
  • 46-55 Individual Medley
  • 56-60 Freestyle Relays

The Marin Swim League allows a child to swim in a maximum of 3 events (not including relays).

There are age divisions in each relay or stroke series in this order:

  • 8 & Under
  • 9-10
  • 11-12
  • 13-14
  • 15-18

Swimmers move up into the next age division on their birthdays with the exception of the special All-Star and Championship meets. The age cutoff for these meets is one week before. For example, if you age up on the Sunday, one week before Championships you may swim in your old age group.

All girl's events precede boy's events. Relays are mixed with two girls and two boys required on each relay team.

Medley Relay: This is the first event series. Four swimmers from each age group form a team. Each of the four swimmers swims a different stroke in the following order:


The 8 & Under age group swims one lap of each stroke while all others swim two laps.

Individual Medley ("IM"): This is a medley swum by one swimmer who swims one lap of each of the following strokes in this order:


Freestyle Relay: Four swimmers from each age group form a team. Each swimmer swims 50 yards, for a combined total of 200 yards, with the exception of the 8 & Unders, who each swim one lap, for a total of 100 yards.

For the individual stroke events 8 & Unders swim one lap. All others swim two laps with the exception of 15-18 freestyle where four laps are swum. The home team swims in even lanes and the visiting team swims in odd lanes. At pools with five lanes, one is "complimentary" (not counting). Individual swimmers can compete in a maximum of three events and two relays.

Note: Some young swimmers may not be ready or willing to swim in a competitive swim meet. If your swimmer feels that he or she is not ready let the coaching staff know. Likewise, the coaching staff will not enter a swimmer into a competitive meet if they are not ready.


As of 2000, a swimmer may score from any heat. Only the top three times score, but these times can come from any heat.

Relays count for 7 points for first place only. Individual events are scored as follows:

  • 1st: 5 points
  • 2nd: 3  points
  • 3rd: 1 Point

By Marin Swim League rules a team cannot score all three places. Sweeps are not allowed.


Each team at the meet furnishes a Stroke and Turn Judge who may disqualify a swimmer in an event if United States Swimming rules for strokes and turns are not followed. The most common reasons for "DQ's" are:

  • a flutter kick in the butterfly
  • making a false start for the second time in a heat.
  • not making a two-hand touch on the turn in the breast stroke and butterfly or at the end of the breast stroke lap in the IM
  • flubbed backstroke flip
  • an early take-off by a relay swimmer


Ribbons are awarded to all swimmers in all heats. Ribbons are awarded by heat i.e. there will be a 1st place, a 2nd place and so on for each heat. Most teams provide special ribbons for pool records and the Orcas also award ribbons for team records. Orcas' ribbons are distributed at the Monday practice following the meet. Each swimmer has an envelope marked with their name, which is used throughout the season to file their ribbons. The envelopes are kept alphabetically in a box in the coaches room. Please have your child pick up their ribbons (but not the envelope) on a weekly basis.

Because of the size and length of this event it is very important that parents insure their swimmers get a good nights’ sleep before the meet. During the meet it is very important that everyone pay attention and get the swimmers to their events.

Parking is very limited because of the large number of people involved. Only one car per family is allowed and families are encouraged to carpool if possible.