Meet Survival Guide
Swim Meets are an integral part of being on a swim team. They are loud, crowded, hot and wet but best of all they are a lot of fun.
Meets are also a way for swimmers, parents, and coaches to evaluate how the athlete is progressing and it allows the coaches to look at how individual athletes swim in a race so we can make corrections during practices.
We expect our swimmers to compete in all our meets, both at home and away. We are part of a team and every swimmer makes a difference in how we do at meets.
If you can’t make away meets, you can’t be on our team.
We need confirmation that you will be attending each meet. All swimmers are expected to declare their status for each and every meet (either going or not going.)
Once a meet opens online (October), you will have until 9pm, the Sunday before a meet to make your declaration as well as make changes for each meet. After 9pm declarations and any changes will need to be done with the coach, for the online sign up will be closed.
What happens at a meet?
The meets are structured but for the uninitiated, it looks like chaos.
Plan your trip to the pool. If you have not been there before don’t forget to consider traffic in your travel time.
You arrive, with your suit on under your street clothes (some locker rooms are very small) and you check in.
When you arrive, check in (this will be with a parent volunteer or if you can’t find one, check in with your coach) Once you check in you will sit with your team and get ready to go in the water (we want you to sit with the team, sorry parents, not with you.) In our team area, we will post the lineup and you should note your event numbers. Many swimmers will write their event numbers on their hand to help them remember which event they are in. You can visit parents and family but we want you to sit with the team. Get to know your teammates, make a new friend! Be ready to go when your name or event is called.
About 15-20 minutes after you check in you will warm up. The warm-up gives you a chance to do a few things. Get a feel for the pool (get comfortable with the difference from our pool at away meets) loosen up get mentally prepared for your swims
Swim Meet Starts
About 30 minutes after the start of warm-ups, we will start the meet.
The meet starts with a Graduated Medley Relay followed by individual events of Butterfly, Freestyle, Individual Medley, Breaststroke and Backstroke and the last event is the Free Relay.
At some point there will be announcements on which events need to be in the bullpen (the bullpen is a holding area where the swimmers line-up so they go to the correct lane to swim their race) When your event is called, you must go to the bullpen. Please pay attention to the events in the water and which one is being called to the bullpen. We don’t want you to miss your race. Parents, you can remind your swimmer to go to the bullpen when their event is called, especially for the 10 and unders.
We want and encourage swimmers to stay and cheer on their teammates for all races but especially the freestyle relays. These can be some of the most exciting races of the meet. When possible, we will put as many swimmers into the Freestyle Relay as we can.
What to bring to the meet
We want swimmers to wear their team apparel. You should wear your team swimsuit, t-shirt, and swim cap. If you have team sweatshirts or jackets, you should wear those as well.
You should bring to the meet
- Towel, goggle, swimsuit, swim cap, team apparel
- Back up goggle, cap, suit, and towel. (Things rip or break) At most meets, the team will try to bring extra caps.
- Light jacket or sweatshirt.
There is a lot of downtime (though it goes quickly) so bring something to stay occupied. A small game or book is great. Make sure you still listen for your event to be called. If you bring something valuable, we recommend you give it to a parent when you are not swimming or using it. Things have a way of disappearing at meets.
A healthy snack and some water – you want to keep up your energy and stay hydrated. Many teams do sell food during the meet.
It can be warm or hot and humid on a pool deck so we recommend you wear layers and dress comfortably. Better yet, volunteer to work the meet.