​​​​​​​SWIM MEETS - 101
A Beginners Guide

We know visiting your first meet can be an extremely daunting experience. Below are a few checklists and helpful information that will better prepare you for the next swim meet.

Check List for swimmers:

  • Parents
  • Team T-shirt
  • Swim suit
  • Spare swim suit
  • Swim cap
  • Spare swim cap
  • Goggles
  • Deck shoes
  • Something to do (book, games...) NO ELECTRONICS ALLOWED
  • Spare goggles (1 or 2)
  • Towels (2)
  • Personal emergency kit (prescriptions, allergy meds)
  • Water bottle
  • Snacks (no nuts)
  • Clothes for meet (sweats, warm-ups)
  • Clothes for before/after meet
  • Shampoo/soap for shower
  • Good attitude
  • Smile

Check List for parents:

  • Swimmer(s)
  • Highlighter
  • Ball point pen
  • Something to do (newspaper, book, ect)
  • Money for concessions, heat sheets, ect
  • Personal emergency kit (prescriptions, allergy meds)
  • Map and meet info
  • Hotel info for out of town meets
  • Good attitude
  • Smile

Nutritional and Rest Prep for a Swim Meet:

Most kids don't like to eat early in the wee hours of the morning, and who can blame them. So the evening before meal need not be anything special, just some favorite dish, high in starches and protein.

Breakfast, on the morning of the meet, should be on the light side, but do not send your swimmer away from the table hungry. This meal should be high in starches and extremely low in processed sugars. Please, no sugary breakfast foods. Try granola bars, eggs and toast, fruit and yogurt.

Just allow him/her enough food to satisfy his/her hunger. No full stomachs, please! They will need lots of nutritional snacks and small meals to keep them going all day.

Also do the coach a favor and do not let your child load up on sugary foods before coming to a meet or practice!

Your swimmer will need lots of rest also. The night before a meet should be handled as if it were a regular school night. Put your child to bed at about the same time you would on a school night. They will be up early, sometimes earlier than a school day. Rest can also make a real difference in your swimmer's performance.


This is a key component to the entire season for ample energy. Make Water a new favorite drink for the family. Kids who poop out easily are often dehydrated. For more info – talk to your coach. :)

Swim Meet Scratches:

A scratch meeting is held at the start of each day. Last minute deletions of swimmers are made. All entries are checked, verified and amended in the presence of a representative from each Club under the Referees supervision. NO, last minute additions to an event can be made; only scratches!! It is important that once you sign up to a swim meet and especially if you are on a relay team – that you attend. If you fail to show, the relay team will be scratched and it won’t just be you who loses out. There is no credit given back to clubs that have swimmers who scratch.

Lane Assignments:

These are usually seeded according to previous recorded times, however if your swimmer has No time for an event they will be seeded randomly with other swimmers who have No time or the slowest times. Our Swim Meets have been doing what is called Senior Seeding: swimmers swim against others of similar time, regardless of age. As a swimmer improves in time they may swim in later heats. If there is more than    one heat in a race, the fastest heat will be last. Swimmers with no time will be in the first heat.


Swimming is a technical sport that requires constant refinement to improve. There are usually 12 -­ 18 stroke and turn on deck at any given meet, including a Referee. It is their responsibility to call any infraction that they observe in their zone. Stroke and Turn officials are responsible to report these infractions to the Meet Referee and then the Meet Referee has to decision to disqualify that swimmer or not. Every other sport has referees that call infractions/fouls or other calls specific to those sports. This should not be considered a personal attack on your child, but a learning opportunity to recognize a chance to improve. DQs are give across the board to swimmers as young as 7 all the way up to the Masters Age Group. Remind your swimmer that DQs are not punishment, but that practice will make perfect!! DQs are also not a good reason to stop swimming a certain event, in fact your swimmer can learn determination, coachability and perseverance by making it their goal to correct their mistakes and conquer them! Getting DQ’d will have the consequence of not getting a final time.

Team Area for Swim Meet:

Every Team is provided with an area for the swimmers to spend their day. We will do our best to let you know what these arrangements are so that you and your swimmer will be comfortable . Usually your swimmer will be "camped out" with their teammates in between races. They use blankets and "camp out", with their snacks, water, and games. Be sure to bring anything they need to be comfortable. They will be in and out of the pool all day, so you will need lots of towels to keep them warm and dry as the pool water temperature is usually cooler than normal. A sweater/sweat pants are handy to put on in-between races and also to help keep muscles warm. Swim meets run all day. They are on deck for 7am usually, sometimes earlier, and can run until 4 or 5 pm sometimes. Never leave a swim meet without speaking to your coach first. You may be on a relay team and you would be disappointing three other swimmers if you go home early. You might want to stay for this even if your swimmer is not on a relay team , as it is usually the most fun team event part of the day!