Helpful Hints for 8 & Under Swimmers and Parents

Some parents and swimmers are veterans at swim team activities, while others may have questions about just how these meets work. The following are a few suggestions that we hope will make the meets run smoothly for all of us:


  1. Take a moment to read through the “About Swim Meets” tab, if you haven’t already.
  2. Bring plenty of warm clothing and towels. One towel is usually not enough, even if the weather is warm. Swimmers get chilled between races.
  3. Avoid sweets the day of the meet. Bring healthy snacks. Concessions will also be available.
  4. Arrive at site one hour prior to meet time. Warm ups start 1 hour before the meet starts for the home team. The away team starts warm up 30 minutes before the meet starts. Locate the 8 and Unders’ green tarp (at Wedgwood, it will be in the southeast corner by the bleachers). Your swimmer should camp out on or near the green tarp. Locate the event board (it shows what race number is currently happening) so you can keep track of which race your child is participating in. Each swimmer is responsible for being on the green tarp 5 events before their race. Coaches and Helpers are not responsible for locating swimmers who are not on time (although the Helpers will do their best to locate everyone). Missing an event can be traumatic, but it will happen if swimmers are not punctual. Parental assistance and support in this area is appreciated.
  5. Locate the meet line up.  Coaches, Helpers or Parents should write each swimmer’s event schedule on the swimmer’s hand listing event number, lane number and stroke. (See page 3 for help deciphering the meet line up.) Regular ballpoint pens work fine. Heat sheets will be available for sale (usually for 50 cents) and are great to use to keep track of your child’s races especially if you have more than one swimmer. Highlighter pens are helpful.
  6. 8 & Unders are involved in the following events: 5&6, 15&16, 25&26, 35&36, 45&46 and 55&56. The girls swim in event numbers end in 5 and boys’ swim in event numbers end in 6. Each child has one event card per race (one card per relay team). For the 8 & Unders, event cards will be handled by one of the Coaches. 8&Unders do not carry their own cards. Swimmers will have 8 & Under Helpers and/or Buddies to escort them to each event.
  7. Events 5 & 6 are the medley relays where all strokes are swum in the race. Each swimmer swims one length of the pool in their specified stroke. The medley relay is run in this order: Back, Breast, Fly and Free. The Back and Fly swimmers begin at the blocks (the west end of the pool at Wedgwood), whereas the Breast and Free swimmers begin at the wall (the east end of the pool at Wedgwood). Breast and Free swimmers start in the water (no diving). Swimmers in the water must hold the wall with one hand, facing the swimmer coming in. Helpers may have to help a swimmer change hands if the incoming swimmer changes course. Swimmers must wait until the incoming swimmer touches the wall before taking off. Failure to do so will disqualify the entire relay team. Individual events will have swimmers at the blocks (the west end of the pool).
  8. Events 15 & 16 are the 100 Free Relay. Individual events include 25 & 26 – 25 yard Free, 35 & 36 - 25 yard Backstroke, 45 & 46 – 25 yard Breaststroke, 55 & 56 – 25 yard Butterfly. Helpers will remind each swimmer which stroke they are swimming just prior to their race. Helpers will also be available to help the swimmer know which end of the pool to start their race (especially during relays) and when to start swimming. There are times when goggles fall off. Prepare your swimmer for the possibility and encourage them to just keep swimming.
  9. In the event of a false start, the start buzzer will buzz multiple times to get the attention of the swimmers. Prepare your child by talking with them about what the multiple buzzing means. If swimmers do not stop, a rope will be dropped across the width of the pool. Some swimmers in the past have swum under the rope and swam the entire length of the pool before they realize that they have to swim the event again. Tell your child that if he or she runs into a rope across their lane to stop swimming. All swimmers will have to go back to the start and restart the race.
  10. Ribbons for each event will be available according to age groups. There is some lag time after races so that the computer may record the results, so don’t encourage swimmers to run to get their ribbons immediately following their race. Ribbons may also be collected in the office the day following the meet. Coaches will bring back remaining ribbons from away meets.
  11. We will continue the Individual Improvement (Star) Chart for the 8 & Unders. Stars will be added each time the swimmer improves their previous time in each event. This chart is an effort to make swimmers proud of their personal improvement and an attempt to steer their sights away from ribbon color.


It is our objective to provide a well-organized meet for the children, so that they feel confident, have fun and learn to enjoy working together as a team. There are plenty of experienced swimmers and parents who can answer any questions you have at any meet. Please feel free to ask one of them if you have any questions or concerns.