Swim Meet 101
Everything You Always Wanted to Know (and more!) About Swim Meets
Swim meets are a great family experience! They’re a place where the whole family can spend time together. Listed below are some very in-depth guidelines geared to help you though your first couple of swim meets. It may seem a little overwhelming, but we tried to be as specific and detailed as possible.
BEFORE THE MEET STARTS
- Swimmers are expected to be at the pool 1 hour before the start of a meet. Weeknight meets start at 6 PM, therefore swimmers are expected to be at the pool at 5:00 PM. Saturday meets start at 8 AM therefore swimmers are expected to be at the pool at 7:00 AM. For directions to various pools, please see the locations page.
- You or your child should check the heat sheet for the meet to see which events he/she is swimming. It is a good idea to write event, heat and lane numbers on his/her arm or leg. Permanent markers work great for this. Example: Write "Free 13-1-2" which means Freestyle Event 13, Heat 1, Lane 2. Listen for warm-ups and the coaches will direct you. You and your child can set up a home base in the team area. After warm-ups, please encourage your swimmer to remain in the team area when he/she is not swimming so he/she does not miss his/her event announcements.
- Heat Sheets - Heat Sheets are a list of all meet events in the order they occur. See the DURING THE SWIM MEET section for event listings. This order is the same at every meet. Please take the time to go over the Heat Sheet and review the races with your child. Helping your swimmers learn how to find their races and lane means they will understand the terminology we are using when lining them up. For the 6 & Under group in particular, explaining how they may be in Lane 1 but Heat 2, for example, will make more sense when we place them in line. Occasionally lane or heat assignments will change based on attendance. Coaches or the Clerk of Course will help your child if there is a change.
- Seed Times - Seed time is your child's most recent time in a particular event. Seed times are used to make heat and lane assignments in regular season meets. The fastest seed times are placed in the first heat, center lanes. Times used for seeding a meet may be lagging at least one meet. Sometimes this lag may be 2 meets if the team hosting the away meet is slow in returning the results to us. Be patient. Your child’s best time will eventually get caught up in the system and with the seeding.
- Team Area - You and your child can set up a home base in the team area. After warm-ups, please encourage your swimmer to remain in the team area when he/she is not swimming so he/she does not miss his/her event announcements. If your swimmer is not in the team’s area when his/her race is lining up, he or she may miss his or her assigned heat. Swimmers will not be inserted into later heats if they miss their assigned race.
- What you should bring to the meets: We encourage your swimmers to have extra goggles and caps, in case they break or get lost. Meets can be quite long, with a lot of down time. Please have your child bring something to do (books, games, cards etc.). Avoid bringing anything of value, because the swimmers’ belongings can get mixed up and lost. Also, bring a blanket and least one towel for your swimmer as well as food, drinks or money for concessions. Evening meets and early summer meets can get quite chilly, so bring your swimmer extra towels and something warm to wear. For sunny days, remember to pack sunscreen!
DURING THE SWIM MEET
Regular season meets are dual meets where we compete against one other team. Meets will have 70 events with multiple heats and typically run 3 to 4 hours.
- Order of Events in a Typical Meet:
- Event 1 – "Shrimpers" 6&U Freestyle girls
- Event 2 – "Shrimpers" 6&U Freestyle boys
- *Remaining events are ordered by gender in each age group (7&8, 9&10, 11&12, 13&14, 15-18)*
- *Girls events are always odd, Boys events are always even*
- Events 3-12 – Medley Relay Events – 7/8s and up
- Events 13-22 – Individual Freestyle Events – 7/8s and up
- Events 23-32 – Individual Backstroke Events – 7/8s and up
- Events 33-40 – Individual Medley Events - 9/10s and up
- Events 41-50 – Individual Breaststroke Events – 7/8s and up
- Events 51-60 – Individual Butterfly Events – 7/8s and up
- Events 61-70 – Freestyle Relay Events – 7/8s and up
Swimmers 10 & under will swim only one length of the pool per event. Swimmers 11 & up will swim two lengths of the pool per event. Individual Medley events are an exception, where the swimmer swims one length of the pool per stroke.
- Number of events my child will swim during a meet - In our league, swimmers can be entered into a maximum of 3 individual events and 2 relay events, for a total of 5 events. Placement in individual events and on relay teams is up to the coach’s discretion. Shrimpers, age 6 & under, typically swim 1 event (Freestyle).
- Before my event - Prior to the start of the meet, take the time to review heat sheets and remind your child what they are swimming. Many families will write events on their child's arm as a reminder (See ARRIVING AT THE SWIM MEET). Please listen to the announcer so you know where we are at in the meet. In order to help our younger swimmers get to their events on time, our junior coaches will start to look for them a few events before they are swimming. The junior coaches can be easily identified by their team “coach” shirts. When it is close to line up time, please make sure your swimmer remains near the team area. With the hectic pace of the meets, our coaches and volunteers will not be able to track down all children that have not shown up for the lineup. As the season progresses we find the swimmers learn the lineup routine quickly and we encourage the older children to verify their lane & heat numbers with our junior coaches and then to proceed on their own over to the blocks for the race. The younger groups will still organize with a coach and then walk as a group over to the clerk of course. You know your child best, offer help as necessary.
- Clerk of Course - Each team provides a Clerk of Course responsible for checking-in and lining up swimmers prior to their events. The Clerk of Course is usually located near the starting blocks.
- Ribbons -
- Place Ribbons: Meet Ribbons are given based on times. 1st–4th place for individual events and up to 2nd place for relay events. If a swimmer wins a heat, that does not necessarily mean they had the best time for that event. Encourage your children to tell the timer in their lane their name as they exit the pool so we can be sure the swimmers get proper credit for their times. If you get a ribbon you shouldn't have, or feel you are missing a ribbon, please let us know.
- Heat Ribbons: For all 10 & under events heat winners will receive a ribbon.
- Participation Ribbons: Every swimmer age 6 and under should get at least one ribbon for each meet that they participate in. If your 8 and under swimmer does not get a ribbon at all for a meet they swam in, please let us know.
- Scoring - Team points are awarded for the first four finishers in each individual event (not each heat) for each age group. The team with the highest point total wins the meet. Shrimper (6 & under) events are exhibition only and do not count toward the team total. The points awarded during a dual meet are:
1st Place = 5 points
2nd Place = 3 points
3rd Place = 2 points
4th Place = 1 point
1st place = 10 points
2nd place = 6 points
(* Points awarded to A relay teams only)
- Disqualification or DQ - Swimmers may be disqualified from any event for a variety of reasons related to false starts, stroke technique or even conduct. It is our goal to teach your child to swim each stroke correctly and, of course, we often learn best from mistakes. If your child swims an event and commits a stroke infraction that is observed by an official, he/she will be disqualified or “DQ’d.” If your child is disqualified, our coach will be notified and she will help him/her correct the problem at the next practice. When a swimmer is disqualified, he/she will not be eligible for place ribbons and the time will not count toward meet points. Swimmers in the six and under age group are not observed by officials and are not disqualified. If you have a question regarding a DQ, please ask a coach after the meet.
- Yards vs. Meters - Candlewyck Swim Club is a 25-meter pool. Most clubs in our division have meter pools, but some do have yard pools. We will let you know which length we are swimming prior to meets.
The All-Star meet is our final meet of the swim season. This is the meet where all seven teams in our league compete against each other and where our swimmers should strive for their best times of the season. The All-Star team is chosen by the coaches and is based on times from the season. A swimmer must compete in a minimum of two regular season meets to be eligible for the All-Star team. All-Star swimmers are announced at the end of our regular season.
Please Note: NOT ALL SWIMMERS WHO ARE ON THE ALL-STAR TEAM WILL SWIM AT THE ALL-STAR MEET!!! League rules require each team to have alternates for each event so our All-Star team consists of participants and alternates. Also, there are no Shrimper events at the All-Star Meet; however, a Shrimper may age up to swim in an 8 & Under event if qualified.