Pacific Swimming
Swim Meet FAQ’s
  1. What is a swim meet?
  2. What is the Menlo Aquatics meet policy?
  3. What is the difference from USA Meets and Summer League Meets?
  4. How do we register for USA Meets?
  5. How do I enter my swimmer(s) into a meet?
  6. How much does it cost?
  7. Why should we attend swim meets?
  8. How do we prepare for a swim meet?
  9. What do we need at swim meets?
  10. What should we expect when we get to the venue?
  11. What if my swimmer just does not like swim meets/competitions?
  12. How do find out what our swimmers are swimming, how do they get entered into the events?
1.What is a swim meet?  Where to start? Well, the Princeton encyclopedia describes swim meets as “A swimming competition between 2 or more teams”. True, however, not all swim meets are head to head competitions. Did you know that a large majority of the USA swim meets we attend are not even scored? The only meets we attend that are scored are championship meets and our summer league meets. We will get to that as we move along.
2. What is the Menlo Aquatics meet policy? I think each team develops their own philosophies and policies. Menlo Aquatics Policy is as follows:
   As swimmers grow, so does the introduction of swim meets. Each group level is asked to participate in swim meets ranging from 2 per quarter to 1 time per month. Menlo Aquatics is a competitive swim team and one of the ways athletes improve is to attend competitions. Additionally it allows the athlete to take what they learn and apply the skills in an actual competition also allowing coaches to view each swimmer in a different setting. Swim meets are an important factor into the sport of swimming. With Menlo Aquatics, we enjoy encouraging our swimmers to take on personal and team challenges by going to swim meets. Our coaching staff does highly recommend swim meets to all members of the team. This notion allows swimmers to take the next step to permit the coach and swimmer to continue in the education and instruction of swimming.
3. What is the difference from USA Meets and Summer League Meets? USA meets are recognized by the USA Swimming governing body. This allows swimmers to be a part of a larger group of swimmers and have the chance to possibly be nationally recognized. It also comes with many great tools attached to their main site, such as time research, swimmer comparison, and online patch awards. USA Swimming also allows the swimmers to take the next step in swimming after summer recreational teams.
      Summer League is a great introduction to the sport of swimming. Most of the time, this is where      many swimmers get their start. This is a very low commitment and only a summer season long which many families tend to follow. It is just as fun as USA, just pressed into a shorter time. The unfortunate thing is that the times and efforts made by summer leagues go unrecognized outside their own leagues and teams.  
4. How do we register for USA Meets? Registration is easy, simply click this link, print the form, complete it and return it with a check made out to “Pacific Swimming” in the amount of $73.00 to your coach. Done!! It’s that simple.  USA swimming is an annual registration that follows a calendar year. Towards the end of the year, a new registration form will be sent out for you to fill out and return.
5. How do I enter my swimmer(s) into a meet?
A.   Menlo Aquatics will post an annual event calendar on the website. From here, prior to each event, an event notification will be set up and automatically sent to ALL currently active members of the team.
B.   Once the email notification has been received in the members email, there will be an opportunity for them to follow the event link and log in to the team site.
I.    From here, members will be directed to the event page for further specific details about the event.
II.    If a member would like to register for the event, they will click “Commit”, the swimmer (participants) name will show on the next page, simply click the swimmers name and “declare” that yes [swimmer] will participate in the event”.
III.    If there are any restrictions, time/day/distance/car pool, or other information they may place that into the comments box available.
IV.   In order for the event to be processed, member must click the “Save Changes” button
V. Summer swim meets are included in membership; some other events and USA swim meets will incur a fee.
C.   All events will have a specific deadline, if you plan on not attending, please un-commit on the team site or email us 48 hours prior to the event registration deadline. Your account will be charged otherwise.
D.   Once the deadline for an event has closed, each athletes Mind Body account will be charged for the event. Swim events and days vary, prices are usually around $15.00-$20.00 per day
6. How much does it cost? Prices for USA meets vary from one meet to the next, but are in a range of $15.00-$25.00 per day per swimmer. The higher level of swim meet you attend, i.e. championships, invitational’s, etc. will be a bit more. Summer league meets are still free.
7. Why should we attend swim meets? Most swimmers attend swim meets to better their personal times or to try and achieve goal times, or even try to achieve qualifying times to a larger swim meet. From a coach’s standpoint, why should your swimmer attend swim meets? Well, like any sport, the meets, or competitions, are there for us to recognize the ability of each swimmer away from practice and also allows us to see each swimmer at their maximum potential, maximum speed and how well they have retained the information given at practices. Now, even Michael Phelps, the most decorated swimmer in the history of the sport, still finds mistakes and more ways to better himself by going to swim meets. Basically, swim meets are another part of the training tool used by the coaches that is just as much fun, if not more fun, than practices.
8. How do we prepare for a swim meet?
A.     Prepare, prepare, prepare!- Go to practice, ask questions, work on as much as        possible.   Turns,     streamlines, stroke technique, speed. Ask your coach for as much advice as possible.
  1. The night before, prepare your swim bag: Extra towels, warm clothes (yes, even in summer), SHOES OR SANDALS!! Extra suit, extra goggles, and extra caps.
  2. Eat a healthy dinner; pack in the protein and lots of good carbs (veggies are best, not too much bread). No, a pizza is not a good idea. Treat your body like a jet car, you won’t put regular gas in the tank for a race jet.
  3. Go to bed a little earlier and get some good rest, even if you cannot sleep because you’re super excited; try to close your eyes and rest.
  4. The day of, eat a breakfast, usually something light and simple. Fruit and cereal, energy bar and fruit. Lots of water to help get your day off to a good start.
  5. If the meet is far away, take a short nap in the car, if it is close (within 2 hours) stay awake. Rest when you get to the meet.
  6. Get to the meet, and find the coach.
  7. What do we need at Swim Meets?: Meet Check list:
    1. Racing swimsuit- Should be worn to the met if the meet is within an hour of home
    2. Practice suit/ back up suit- just in case
    3. Water
    4. Goggles- 2 pair (both race ready)
    5. Swim caps- 2 (if desired)
    6. Towels- 2 or more
    7. Sweat suit/Parka or something to keep warm (yes, even in the summer months)
    8. Water
    9. Glasses case- for those swimmers that wear glasses
    10. Snacks- High protein
    11. Flip-Flops/Slippers- keep the feet warm and easy on/off during warm up and events
    12. Chairs/blankets- Usually 1 per family member
    13. Water
    14. Books/cards/entertainment (parents too)
    15. Pens(sharpie) for marking hands and writing in the program
    16. Highlighter to highlight events in the program
    17. Money
  1. What should we expect when we get to the venue?
1.    Arrive at the pool at least 15 minutes before the scheduled warm-up time begins. This time will be listed in the meet information handed out to all swimmers and also in the team newsletter.
2.    Upon arrival, find a place to put your swimmer's blankets, swim bags and/or sleeping bags. The team usually sits in one place together, so look for some familiar faces.
3.    Find the check-in place. Usually, parents are not allowed on deck so this may be a responsibility of your swimmer or your swimmer’s coach. Make sure your swimmer checks in with his or her coach! Check for special posted instructions in the check-in area.
o    Usually one will need to circle the swimmer's name or "#" before each swimmer's name, in each event he or she is swimming, that day. If this is not done, the swimmer will not be allowed to swim that event. Check-in is required so that the people running the meet know who is actually at the meet. After check-in, the meet administrators "seed" the swimmers into heats. Heat and lane assignments will be posted, so be sure your swimmer knows where to look!
o     Sometimes the meet is "pre-seeded" and no check-in is required. You and your swimmer can find heat and lane assignments by purchasing a program.
4.    Once "checked in", write or have the swimmers write each event-number on his or her hand in ink. This helps him/her remember what events he/she is swimming and what event number to listen or watch for.
5.    Your swimmer now gets his/her cap and goggles and reports to the pool and/or coach for warm-up instructions. It is very important for all swimmers to warm-up with the team. A swimmer's body is just like a car on a cold day-he/she needs to get the engine going and warmed-up before he/she can go all out.
6.    After warm-up, your swimmer will go back to the area where his/her team is sitting and wait there until his first event is called. This is a good time to make sure he/she goes to the bathroom if necessary, gets a drink, or just gets settled in.
7.    The meet will usually start about 10-15 minutes after warm-ups are over.
8.    According to USA Swimming rules (because of insurance purposes), parents are not allowed on deck unless they are serving in an official capacity. Similarly, all questions concerning meet results, an officiating call, or the conduct of a meet, should be referred to a coach. He or she in turn, will pursue the matter through the proper channels.
9.    Psyche Sheet or Heat Sheets. A psyche sheet is usually available for sale in the lobby or concession area of the pool. It lists all swimmers in each event in order of "seed time". When the team entry is sent in, each swimmer and his/her previous best time (up to the date that the entry was submitted) in that event is listed. If the swimmer is swimming an event for the first time, he/she will be entered as a "no-time" or "NT". A "no-time" swimmer will most likely swim in one of the first heats of the event. A Heat sheet may be available close to the start of the meet that lists the actual heat and lane a swimmer will be competing in.
1.    It is important for any swimmer to know what event numbers he/she is swimming (again, why they should have the numbers on their hand). He/she may swim right away after warm-up or they may have to wait awhile.
2.    Most meets are computerized. There are generally two ways a swimmer gets to his/her lane:
o    A swimmer usually reports directly to his/her lane for competition a number of heats before he/she actually swims. Check with your swimmer's coach for specific instructions.
o    In some novice meets, a swimmer's event number will be called, usually over the loudspeaker, and he/she will be asked to report to the "clerk of course" or “bullpen”. Swimmers should report with his/her cap and goggle.
§  Generally, girls events are odd-numbered and boys events are even-numbered. Example: "Event #26, 10-Under Boys, 50 freestyle, report to Clerk of Course." The "Clerk of Course" or “bullpen” area is usually where all swimmers checked in before the warm-up.
§  The clerk will usually line up all the swimmers and take them down to the pool in correct order. You can expect at least 4-8 heats of each event.
3.    The swimmer swims his or her race.
4.    After each swim:
o    He/she is to ask the timers (people behind the blocks at each lane) his/her time.
o    Depending on the coaches instructions, the swimmer may be asked to do some recovery swimming if a "warm down" pool or lanes are available.
o    The swimmer should then go immediately to his or her coach. The coach will discuss the swim with each swimmer. Some coaches may wish to talk with the swimmer before her recovery swim.
5.    Generally, the coach follows these guidelines when discussing swims:
o    Positive comments or praise
o    Suggestions for improvement
o    Positive comments
6.    Things you, as a parent, can do after each swim:
o    Tell him how great he did! The coaching staff will be sure to discuss stroke technique with him. You need to tell him how proud you are and what a great job he did.
o    Take him back to the team area and relax.
o    This is another good time to check out the bathrooms, get a drink or something light to eat.
7.    The swimmer now waits until his next event is called and starts the procedure again. When a swimmer has completed all of her events she and her parents get to go home. Make sure, however, you, as a parent, check with the coach before leaving to make sure your swimmer is not included on a relay. It is not fair to other swimmers who may have stayed to swim on a relay where your swimmer is expected to be a member and she is not there.
8.    Results are usually posted somewhere in the facility. Awards are often gathered for a team and given to the coach at the end of the meet. The coach will give the awards to the swimmers at a later time.
11. What if my swimmer just does not like swim meets/ competition?  That’s perfectly fine; our hope is that one day your swimmer will at least try a swim meet. Some of the best ways to get their feet wet (pun intended) is to try out our team meets that we have at home. We keep these very low key and more of an introduction to certain aspects of how meets are run. Now, if we are in swimming for a while and our goal is to move through the program it will become a requirement to attend swim meets. Much like school, other sports, and life, meets are not just there to compete or to get a time or win, which are great, but these are great opportunities to help build character learn how to face challenges and understand that we will not win everything. Swim meets help build confidence and independence as well as organization and most importantly, friendships. 
12. How do find out what our swimmers are swimming, how do they get entered into the events? Once you commit to the event on the team site, entries are now in the coaches hands. The coaches will enter the swimmers into events that they believe your athlete is capable of swimming, along with and event or two that will take them out of their comfort zone. You are welcome to email the coaches and ask what events your athletes are swimming, otherwise, an email will be sent out the week of with the events list so you may see your swimmers events.