Meet Survival Guide

Swim meets can be overwhelming to families who have not had any history of being on a swim team. At a general dual-meet, we will run through 80+ events, with approximately 500-800 swimmers swimming, anywhere from 3-5 heats per event. During Champs, there are usually over 1,400 swimmers over 3 days running through both qualification and final heats to determine league champions! It’s an amazing but overwhelming process at times!

Use this guide to help you know what to expect and make sure you attend the time trials meet each year to get acquainted to swim meet procedures and changes from year to year.

One Week Prior to the Swim Meet:

  1. Sign Up- Be sure prior to each meet you have signed up (on-line) by the deadline. In most cases this deadline is 1 week prior to the scheduled meet. If you have not signed up by this date, we will not be able to add your swimmer!

  2. During the sign-up process you will indicate your attendance and the races your swimmer will attend. Pay attention to race limits. For most dual meets a swimmer can sign-up for 1 freestyle race (short or long) and 2 specialty strokes (Individual Medley, Backtroke, Breastroke, or Butterfly, except for 6 and under) Time Trials you can sign up for everything. Champs and Meet of Champs are very specific so pay attention when registering for those meets. Please note: the coaches do change the races as they see fit after registration, so while you may sign-up for something, that does not mean that is their schedule come meet day!

The Night Before the Meet

  1. The initial meet program will be posted and/or emailed to you the night before the meet. Use this program to see what races your child will be in (Note: specific heats and lanes MAY change!)

  2. For away meets, the home team will provide us with a copy of a welcome letter that will contain information on their procedures, ready bench area, visiting team area, check-in times etc. Please read and pay attention to all directions given!

  3. Send your swimmer to bed early with plenty of rest, water and carbs the night before!

The Day of the Meet

  1. Show up to pool at the designated time- This is published before meet and beware- it is EARLY! For most dual-meets this time will be around the check in time.

  2. Check-in
    a. Make sure your swimmers check in at the meet on time. The meet check-in time will be communicated before the meet and VARIES. If you fail to check your child on time they will be scratched from the meet and unable to swim that day! A check-in table will be set up near or around the designated team tent area.
    b. Parent’s must check-in at the same time as the swimmers. If you fail to check in, you may not get credit for hours worked.

  3. Set up your tent or umbrella. There is plenty of room for easy-ups or umbrellas near the pool. Every pool we visit is different in terms of where we set up and the space available. Some pools are VERY tight on space. Typically, it is a good idea to coordinate with friends to alternate bringing the easy ups, since you all end up sharing the space anyway! Please note, there are no 10'x10' tents allowed in the pool fence area at the CSD. 10X10 easy ups can be placed in the courtyard between the CSD buildings.

  4. Remember it is a long day so pack:
    a. Plenty of towels, they get soaking wet and it’s chilly in the morning.
    b. Warm clothes for cold mornings (Warm ups, cover ups, or sweats, dry clothes)
    c. Sunblock, hats and cool clothes for the afternoon heat!
    d. Suit, goggles and a cap if desired (always carry spare pairs because they will break or get lost!) e. A sleeping bag for warmth and to rest on.
    f. Shade structures and chairs are recommended.
    g. Food and drinks‐‐make them healthy! Snacks/breakfast/lunch (food is always available for purchase too). Remember lots of water and fluids to stay hydrated!
    h. Games or activities for the kids to do while they wait for their races A deck of cards, book or board games to occupy swimmers between events.
    i. Take a look at what other’s bring, as we all have our own version of “survival items”

  5. About 30 minutes prior to the meet commencing a final “meet sheet” will be posted that lists all the races, heats and lanes for the entire meet. Use this guide to get an idea of where your children will swim.

  6. Listen to the meet announcers throughout the meet to know where we are in the swim meet.

  7. For Ages 10 and under
    a. The announcers will call kids to the “ready bench” area about 20 or so minutes prior to the race.
    b. Lead your child to the ready bench and check in.
    c. At check-in you child’s hand will be marked with the race, heat and lane so that the ready bench volunteers can properly place the child.
    d. Go to the viewing bleachers and wait for your child’s race!
    e. After his/her race, they will be free to return to your tent or find you in the crowd.

  8. For Ages 11 and up:
    a. There is NO ready bench.
    b. Please have your child work out a system to know what race#, heat# and lane# they are in.
    c. Pay attention to the announcer to know where in the meet we are, so your child is not late.
    d. 5-10 minutes before your child’s race they must present themselves to the lane and await their heat.

  9. It is highly recommended that you download “Meet Mobile” as this app will display the races and heats your children are in and will also post results within 10-15 minutes of a race completion.

  10. Please see the general schedule of races below. Each meet will proceed in generally the same way!

  11. DO NOT LEAVE unless you have confirmed your child is not scheduled for a relay! Freestyle relays for ages 7 and up are at the very END of the meet.

  12. Likewise, if your child is in a relay or an alternate for the relay, they need to be at the ready bench on time, or the rest of the kids may not get to swim because all swimmers did not show! In addition, there are emails sent and apps available for smart phones for you to check as the meet is starting. It is always posted.

  13. Parent duties are ESSENTIAL! Depending on your job duties will determine who and when you report for your shift. Please make sure you are there on time and for the duration. If you can’t make it, you are responsible for finding coverage. You MUST show up, we need parents to run the meet!


Dual Swim Meet Order of Events Every dual meet will follow the same schedule. Pay attention to the event number to make sure your child is at their race on time.