Types of Swim Meets

Age Group Swim Meets

Southern California Swimming meets are part of the United States Swimming classified age group program.  There are six age groups in USS:  8 & under, 10 & under, 11 & 12, 13 & 14, 15 & 16 and 17 & 18 (sometimes 15 - 18).  Within each age group there are meet "ability levels" or classifications:  White, Red and Blue

The time standards for each classification are established by Southern California Swimming and are subject to change.  The time standards for each age are listed in the SCS Swim Guide and on the SCS website and are published annually.  In order to swim in a specific classification, a swimmer must have achieved the appropriate qualifying time.

SCS meets usually combine classifications to allow swimmers to compete in a complete event schedule.  In a B/C (Red/White) meet, for example, a swimmer could swim the C (White) breaststroke event and the B (Red) freestyle event in the same meet.  A (Blue) meets are usually open to swimmers with A, AA, AAA and better times.

Year-round swimming is divided into two sessions:  short course and long course.  Short course season is the time period between September and March when the swimmers train and compete in the 25 yard width of the pool.  Long course season takes April through August when the pool is set up for training and competition lengthwise in 50 meter lanes.  Each season has corresponding time standards.

Championship meets are held near the end of the short course and long course seasons.  A swimmer’s times determine which Championship he/she will attend; WCS, B/C Championships or Junior Olympics. As swimmers progress in the sport of swimming, they may qualify for Junior Olympic Championships (generally AAA time standards for short course season and AA time standards for Long course season) and Western Zone Championships (All-Star selections).

Senior-Level Swim Meets

Swimmers, regardless of age, who achieve SCS Senior Development, SCS Senior Q, Senior Sectional or Senior National time standards participate in a host of senior-level competitions including National Championship meets with the top swimmers in the country.  Senior-level time standards are listed in the SCS Swim Guide and on the SCS website and are published annually.


High School Swimming

Many high school aged swimmers choose to compete on their high school swim teams.  The rules regarding high school swimming are established by the California Interscholastic Federation, Southern Section (CIFSS).  During the high school season (generally mid-February through mid-May) high school swimmers must "unattach" from their club teams.  Accordingly, once a swimmer has competed in his/her first high school meet for the season, the swimmer must enter all USS meets (club meets) as UNAT until after the CIF Championship Meet.  If a swimmer finds that he/she has inadvertently been entered in a meet as attached, the swimmer must locate the meet secretary and sign the CIF-UNAT log.  Exceptions exist for high school aged swimmers competing in the Junior Olympic Championships, the Senior Sectional Championships, the Senior National Championships and/or the World Championship Trials.  In these cases, swimmers may compete attached to their club teams.  No paperwork is required to invoke the exceptions.


Swim Meet Fundamentals

Philosophy of Competition

SET emphasizes on individual growth and development.  The swimmer’s individual improvement is the primary focus.  Sportsman-like behavior is of equal importance.  Respect for officials, congratulate other competitors, encourage teammates, determined effort and mature attitudes are taught and expected.  Swimmers are taught to set realistic but challenging goals for swim meets and to relate these goals to training efforts.

General Guidelines for Meets

A meet schedule is established by the coaches with the expectation that swimmers will attend every meet available at their classification level.  Team championship meets, like the OCSC Championships/Jr. Olympics, are important to SET, and SET swimmers who qualify are expected to attend and contribute to the total team effort.  At every meet it is important to the team effort for swimmers to check with their coach before leaving a meet to see if they have been placed on a relay for which they need to stay and swim.

SCS Meet Entry Procedures

1.     Meet information sheets may be downloaded and printed directly from the Meet Schedule on this website by clicking on the name of the meet.  Read all information carefully.

2.     Determine the due date from the Meet Schedule or website Calendar. The due date on the information sheet is the SCS due date - not the SVA due date.  Some meets have an entry cap and close out before the due date.  Do not wait until the last minute. If you have any questions about whether to enter a meet or which events to enter, always confer with your coach.

3.     Download and print an entry form from the Meet Schedule.  (Extra forms are available in the Swim Office.)

Enter the swimmer’s name exactly as shown on his/her USA Swimming registration card (no nicknames).

Enter the swimmer’s USS number accurately on the appropriate line.  The USS number is a 14 character, alpha numeric number composed of swimmer specific information as shown in the example below:

Example USS number


Six digit birthdate, including zeroes


First three letter of first name (Susan)


Middle initial or * if no middle name


First four letter of last name (Swimmer)



For each event, enter the swimmer’s best, official time in the proper space.  The time entered should be accurate to the hundredth of a second.  Minimum is the "slowest time" permissible to enter event.  Maximum is the "fastest time" allowable to enter the event.  If an event has not been swum in competition, ’NT’ (No Time) may be entered only for ABC or BC meets.  For AB meets, a swimmer must have achieved a B minimum time standard in an event to enter.  An 8 and under swimmer with B times in 3 or more events may enter any 8  and under event at an AB meet.  A 9 and older swimmer with B times in 3 different stokes may enter any 9 and older event offered in his/her age class.  Similar rules apply for A meets.  (Refer to SCS guide or ask your coach for exceptions.)

For a sample completed SCS "white card" click here.  (No longer used after Sept. 2006)

4.     Check that the maximum number of swims allowable per day or per meet is not exceeded. 

5.     The completed entry form and a check or money order for the entry fees payable to SCS should be placed in an envelope with the name of the meet on the outside and turned in to the swim office before the meet entry deadline.  Cash will not be accepted.  Write the swimmer’s name and SCS number on the check.  Note:  As of Nov. 2005, entries must be submitted with a separate check for each child.

6.     A listing of all entries received by the SVA office will be posted near the swim office.  To ensure your entry was received, check the listing two days after submitting your entry.

About one month before a meet is to take place, entry forms will be available in the office and on the Meet Schedule.  Fill out the entry form and turn it into the office.  Entry forms must be completed turned in to the office by the due date.  Late entries and phone/fax entries will not be accepted and the swimmer will be unable to participate in the meet.  When signing up for a meet, you may choose up to three individual events to swim plus have the option of swimming in a relay. It is highly recommended that you consult your coach as to what events you should swim.

Swim Meet Procedures

1.   Check in and write your event numbers on your hand.  (Note - swimmers must be present to check in.  Parents may not check in a swimmer.)

2.     Report to coach for stretching and warm up.  

3.    Check the posted line-up for your heat and lane.

4.     Report to your lane at least 3 events prior to your race.  For 25 yard events, report to the staging area.

5.     Ask for your time immediately after your race.  Keep a record of your times from each meet.

6.     See your coach after each race.  The coach will evaluate your race and offer suggestions. 

What to Bring to a Meet

Team swim suit

Water bottle

Team caps (2)

Waterproof sunscreen, sunglasses

Goggles (and a spare pair)

Log book for recording times

Towels (one per event )

Ice chest with nutritious snacks

Team t-shirt, sweats or parka

Beach chair

Boots or shoes

Games or books

Old blanket or sleeping bag



Swim Meet Do’s and Don’ts

Doconserve your energy.  Stay off your legs (save them for the pool); wear shoes for warmth and protection; wear shirt and hat to reduce exposure; stay out of the sun.

Dobe on time (or early) for everything including: stretching, meet warm-up, and team meetings.

Don’tbecome dehydrated.  Drink plenty of water or other liquids (but not soda).

Don’tget sunburned.  Apply waterproof sun block repeatedly throughout the day.

Doeat healthy food and snacks.  Fruit, bagels and sports drinks make good between-race snacks.  In general, avoid items with a lot of fat, fiber and refined sugar.

Dobring activities like games and puzzles.  The meet may last several hours.

Don’tleave swimmers unattended at swim meets. Parents are responsible for their children at all times.

Do have fun!!

Keeping Time Records

Every SET swimmer should maintain a log (manual or electronic) of his/her times for every event.  Such a log allows a swimmer to set personal goals and monitor his/her progress.  Official meet times are obtained from meet ribbons (WCS meets) or the posted official meet results (USA Swimming sanctioned meets).  Generally, the results from sanctioned meets in which SVA participates are linked to the meet schedule on this website.  An accurate record of times is necessary for signing up for meets.  Please note that, other than the times achieved at the OCSC championship meet, OCSC times may not be used to enter USA Swimming sanctioned meets.  Swimmers can purchase log books at most swim meets or from Swim Depot or they may use an electronic spreadsheet to track their times.

The USA swimming website provides a Times Database that may be used to update your log.  A link to the database, called  My Swim Times, may be found in "Lane Lines" box on the MVN home page.  For each USA registered swimmer, the database provides a complete list of swim times achieved at USA Swimming sanctioned meets since July 1, 2003.  (The database does not include OCSC, high school and other non-sanctioned meets nor does it include 25 yard events or splits.)  Please be aware that the time standards listed in the database are National time standards - not SCS time standards.

Timing at Swim Meets

SET athletes are required to supply timers at every swim meet they attend.  Parents should be prepared to work at least one 2 hour timing shift at 2-day meets and two shifts at 3-day meets at which your swimmer is competing all days. Please, do not enter your child in a meet if you are unable to time and cannot arrange for a replacement.