It’s My First Meet, Now What?

What to do? What to wear? Where to bring?


I am at the meet now what do I do?
Check in!!
The swimmer needs to check in, not the parent. Before you go to our team area look for a table or ask another family that has already checked-in. You will probably see a crowd of people at a table-you need to go there and –Check-in!
Why do I have to check-in?
When you entered the meet several weeks ago, you said you were coming, but on every meet day, you must let the officials know that you are planning to swim.
How do I check in?
The tables are divided by girls and boys and by age group. When you get to the front of the line tell the volunteer your name, they will highlight your name and give you your event numbers.  It’s a good idea for you to have your meet sheet with you so that you can make sure these are the events you signed up for. It is also a good idea for your swimmer to write their event numbers on their hand with a permanent marker.
Do not scratch (cancel an event) unless you and your coach have talked about it first. Your coach must approve of all changes in events.
Talk to your coach, once you check in. Once you have talked to your coach it’s time to get in the water for warm-up. The first thing your coach will ask you “Did you check in?” Be prepared to say yes, or there’s no warm up until you do! 
Set up your stuff. The team will have an EZ-up set up for the parents and swimmers. This is where the team “hangs out” and supports one another.
Sign up for timing assignments. If you have a child swimming you must sign up to time. All meets require parent participation. Each lane has three timers. There are usually 6-8 lanes per meet. As a team, we will have to fill 1-4 timing chairs, depending on the number of swimmers that we have swimming at the meet. It is actually the best seat at the meet! You are in a shaded area and have the best view of the races taking place. You can choose which hour you’d like to time. Don’t worry timing is quite simple. Your job is to basically start and stop a stopwatch. There is always a head timer there if you mess up. If by chance, your assignment conflicts with your child’s events just communicate this to ANY parent with MVAQ and they will help you by either timing for you during your child’s event or by making sure your child is where he/she is supposed to be. This is a very common occurrence and should be expected.
How do I know when and where my child swims?
As the meet goes on the events are seeded with everyone who checked in and the swimmers will be assigned to a heat and a lane. These assignments are usually posted approximately a half hour before the event. They are usually posted on a large wall near the pool area. When you check-in you can ask where the board will be.  It is a good idea for your swimmer to write their heat and lane assignments on their hand with a permanent marker. For example if they are in Heat 6, Lane 2 they can write 6-2 on their hand.        
Once your swimmer knows their heat and lane assignment, they need to go talk to their coach. They should tell their coach this information so that they may make a note of it. After “checking in” with their coach, they should be ready to swim by waiting behind the lane that they were assigned. It’s usually a good idea for your swimmer to be around the blocks at least one event prior to their event. Try not to linger around the block area, any sooner than this, swimmers need to have access to the blocks with a lot of parents hanging around it makes the area crowded and this may cause the officials to ask parents to leave the area.  The meet is run on a very tight schedule. It is very important that the swimmer know when and where to be, and be ready to swim. Officials will not wait for your swimmer to get to the block. If a swimmer misses his or her event they will not be allowed to swim the next event that they are entered in. This is done to keep the meet running smoothly. As your swimmer exits the water they may ask one of the timers in their lane for their time. Please don’t have them ask officials, they do not have this information.     
After a swimmer has completed their race they need to again check back in with their coach. At this time coaches will talk to them about their swim. They may also send them to the warm up area to warm up/down or work on technique.
Final results will be posted throughout the day in the same area as the lane assignments. As a parent you should keep track of your swimmers times for the next meet. 
Remember the first meet is always a learning experience for swimmers and parents. Have fun!!               
First Meet Quick Reference
Getting ready for your first meet
  • Discuss which events you should enter in with your coach.
  • Enter the meet.
  • Discuss arrival times with your coach.
Night before a Meet
  • Pack a swim bag with goggles, team cap, (every swimmer should wear a team cap) towels, and dry cloths.
  • Pack an ice chest (optional); there is usually a snack bar available at meets.
  • Bring chairs, blankets, and sunscreen.
  • Good nights rest   
Meet Arrival
·         Check In.
·         Write your event numbers on your hand
·         Check in with your coach.
·         Warm-up
  • Locate team area and set up your stuff
  • Sign up for timing assignment
  • Know your swimmers event numbers
  • Support and encourage your swimmer!
During the Meet
  • Stay warm/cool and dry (Meets in the fall and winter can be very cold, make sure to bring blankets and jackets. Meets in the summer can be quite hot, drink a lot of water)
  • Listen for your event numbers (remember officials will not hold the meet for you!)
  • Check board for your lane assignment
  • Report to your coach two events prior to your event and after your swim
  • Report to your lane prior to your swim
  • Swim fast!
  • Do not stand or walk in front of timers
  • Do not talk to officials during an event
  • Help your swimmer get ready for their event
  • Report to your timing assignment on time
  • Cheer for all of our MVAQ swimmers
  • Ask for help from another MVAQ parent if you need it
  • Enjoy the meet and your swimmer!
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