Dual Meet Frequently asked Questions and Answers:

Do you have questions about our first meet? Here are some frequently asked questions that we usually answer - see if it helps you out! If not, feel free to email Coach Chris at [email protected].  He will do his best to answer your questions!



How Does a Swim Meet work?
An "event" at a swim meet consists of a gender, stroke and a distance. For instance, the girls 25-yard freestyle, the boys 25-yard freestyle, the boys 50-yard freestyle, and the girls 50-yard butterfly are four separate events. A 25-yard race is one length of the pool, and a 50-yard race is 2 lengths.

Since there are usually more swimmers entered in each event than there are lanes, there may be several races, or "heats", in each event.

Freestyle Relay: Four swimmers each swim freestyle. However, the distance swum differs by age group.

Medley Relay: Four swimmers participate, each of whom swims a different stroke. The first swimmer swims Backstroke (BA), the second Breaststroke (BR), the third Butterfly (FL), and the fourth Freestyle (FR). An easy way to remember this is: BA, BR, FL, FR are in alphabetical order.

100 IM (individual medley) is an event in which ONE swimmer swims all four strokes in one race: 25 yards of butterfly, 25 yards of backstroke, 25 yards of breaststroke and 25 yards of freestyle, in this order (note that the IM order is different from the medley relay order).

All competition is age-group competition which means that children swim against others of the same age and gender. There are two point-earning or "live" swimmers for each individual event per age group and gender; and there are two point-earning freestyle relays and two point-earning medley relays per age group and gender (except 6 & unders who do not swim the medley relay). Non point-earning individual swimmers and relays are entered into the meet as exhibition as indicated by an "X" in the meet program.

Swimming is both an individual and a team sport. Each swimmer should thrive to better his/her personal times from previous meets. They should also cheer and encourage their teammates because the team score is determined by total number of points, NOT by how many firsts a team wins. Please stress this to your children.

All finishes are judged finishes, which means that, the order of finish is determined by judges, NOT by the times on the watch. Times captured for each event are used only to help the swimmer and coach chart the progress of the swimmer.


What time should I be at the swim meets with my swimmer?

  • Please arrive between 4:30 and 4:45 pm to get settled and participate in a meet warm-up.
  • Meet warm-up for home meets is from 5:00 – 5:30 pm.
  • Meet warm-up for away meets is from 5:30 - 5:55 pm.
  • Before arriving at the pool, it is recommended that parents 1) write their child’s name and age group on his/her upper back and 2) write the events/heats/lanes on his/her arm.
  • For those swimmers who show up unmarked, a “Sharpie Writer” volunteer will be available to do the remaining “marking”. Marking will either take place before or after warm-up depending if the meet is home or away.  If it is a home meet, marking will be done during the 5:30 – 5:55pm time frame.  If it is an away meet, we will get our marking done between 5:00 and 5:30pm.
  • Meets will start as close to 6 pm as possible (depending on the volunteers, the meet referee, and the weather).

What should I bring to the meet, other than my swimmer?

  • Swim suit
  • Goggles (good idea to bring a back-up pair as well)
  • Swim cap
  • 2 Towels (one for use during the meet and one for after the meet)
  • Water bottle- it’s hot out there.  It’s important to stay hydrated!
  • Snacks* – although most pools will have concession stands, it is a good idea to bring healthier options (apples, oranges, granola bars, PB&J, etc.) for your kids as well
  • Pen/paper- you may want to write down your swimmer’s times
  • Sharpie for marking
  • Dry clothes to change into after the meet
  • On cool nights, a sweatshirt to help them keep warm
  • Sunscreen
  • Chairs for Mom and/or Dad
  • Camera/Video Recorder
  • Lots of positive energy

Note: Please remember that for HOME meets, snacks must be eaten in the area where the tables are located. Food is not allowed on the SAAC pool deck.

What should my swimmer eat, if anything, before the meet?
1-2 hours before the meet, try to feed your swimmer something with protein and carbohydrates- a popular choice is pasta with chicken or a sandwich. Also make sure that they are drinking water/Gatorade during the morning and hours before the meet!

When will I find out what events my child is swimming?
The weekend before each dual meet, Coach Chris creates the line-up which has to be turned in on Monday mid-day to the other team.  He tries to make sure everyone gets to swim individual events and relays.  He can usually make changes to the line-up after Monday, but doing so typically has a ripple effect on teammates. For example, he has had to cancel relays in the past due to kids pulling out of the meet at the last minute. Therefore, if you know that your child will not be at a meet that he or she is signed up for, then please re-submit a meet availability form by the Friday before a dual meet or the Monday before County. After this deadline, if you need to make a change due to an emergency, please email Coach Chris at [email protected]. After Monday’s exchange with the opposing team, he will send out the line-up. Please look it over so you will know what events your child is swimming. 

How do I make sense of the line-up information you have emailed to me?

The line-up will come as a word document or web file.  You will find your child’s information sorted by name.  Please refer to the example below.

Swimmer, Jane - Female - Age: 7 - Ind/Rel: 2 / 2
#3 Girls 8&U 100 Medley Relay (2) 1/2                          #25 Girls 8&U 25 Free 3/7
#37 Girls 8&U 25 Back 2/5                                               #67 Girls 8&U 100 Free Relay (1) 1/7

  • The first line contains the swimmer’s name and age as well as how many individual and relay events that child is entered to swim in the upcoming meet.
  • The numbers that look like fractions (e.g. “1/7”) after the event names indicate the Heat / Lane that your child will be swimming.  In the example, the swimmer will be in Heat 1 and Lane 7 for event 67.
  • The time to the right of the event is a swimmer’s recorded personal best time for this event.  NT stands for No Time, meaning that the swimmer does not have an official time for the stroke/dist.
  • For relays, the number in parenthesis “(#)” indicates the leg on the relay your child is swimming.
  • In a Medley relay, the order of the strokes are (1) Back, (2) Breast, (3) Fly, (4) Free. So, in this above example, “#3 Girls 8&U 100 Medley Relay (2) 1/2", the (2) indicates that this swimmer will swim BREASTSTROKE in the SECOND leg of the relay.
  • In a Free relay, all legs of the relay are freestyle, so in the above example, #67 Girls 8&U 100 Free Relay (1) 1/7, the (1) indicates that this swimmer will freestyle in the FIRST leg of the relay.

Prior to arriving at the meet, please:

Mark your child’s name and age group on their back using a dark-colored Sharpie pen.  (Sharpie DOES come off if rubbed with rubbing alcohol or acetone! Your swimmer won’t be tattooed, don’t worry!)

Also, please write your child’s events/heats/lanes on his/her arm, as follows.

The grid on their arm will look like this: 

  • The first column is “E” for EVENT.
  • The second column is “H” for HEAT (if there are 24 kids swimming the 50 Free in an 8-lane pool, then there will be 3 heats).
  • The third column is “L” for LANE.

What is the difference between the IM and the Medley Relay?

  • IM stands for Individual Medley.  It is always swum in the following order: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle.
  • The Medley relay consists of the same strokes, but the order is different. The Medley relay order is backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, freestyle. Note that BA, BR, FL, FR is in alphabetical order.

How long will the meet last?
Three hours is the approximate length of a meet. Warm-ups start at 5 pm for the home team and 5:30 pm for the visiting team.  Barring any delays, the meet is supposed to start at 6 and run until about 9 pm.  Note: The 6 and unders swim early in the meet and are usually finished by 7:30, so parents, choose your volunteer assignments accordingly.

How will my swimmer know when to report for his/her race?

  • Each age-group will have a ‘bullpen,’ and the bullpen parent will help line up the swimmers before each race. The kids need to stay in their age group bullpens for the duration of the meet!  It is imperative that swimmers stay in the bullpen area so that the bullpen parents can easily and efficiently find your child.  It is unfortunate when a swimmer misses his event because he was not in the right place to be lined up. Age Group Bullpen Parents are not babysitters. Parents need to stay close to their child's bullpen to supervise younger children at the swim meets. The bull-pen parent position is a challenging job; let’s make every effort to make it as easy as we can for our parent volunteers.
  • At home swim meets, the Cudas team will sit on the side of the pool closest to the diving board.  If your child is not going to sit in the bullpen area, then you are responsible for having your child to the bullpen parent in plenty of time for each of his/her events.
  • For safety reasons it is important to keep the kids out of the diving well and shallow end of the pool during the meet.  

When will my child get official results/times from the meet?
Official results are sent out the day after the meet. Ribbons are distributed during practice.