Swim meets are a great family experience where the whole family can spend time together! Listed below are some guidelines geared to help you through your first couple of swim meets. It may seem a little overwhelming at first, but we feel it is important for this handbook to be as specific and as detailed as possible. If you have any questions, please ask a coach or another experienced parent who would be glad to help you.
Types of Meets during the Regular Season
Intra-Squad Meets: These are low-key meets held at our own pools for YSC swimmers only. The purpose of these meets is to provide meet experience and establish times. All team members will participate at the coaches’ discretion.
Dual Meets: This meet is a competition between two teams. The meet may be held at our home pool or at another team’s pool. All team members should participate if eligible. Swimmers are assigned to events to maximize the chances of individual and team success. Any swimmer who is entered in a scoring event is expected to be present and to swim all assigned events. Line-ups are done about a week in advance. If for any reason a swimmer is not able to participate, it is the parent’s responsibility to notify the coaching staff prior to the meet. There are usually no entry fees for dual meets; the host club usually assumes all costs.
Invitational Meets: These meets are one, two, or three-day meets. Invitational meets are usually for all age groups: 8 & Under, 10 & Under, 11/12, 13/14, and 15 & Over. Within each age group, there are three different ability levels; A, B, and C. Time standards, established each year by USA Swimming, are set for each ability level. Developmental or invitational meets generally do not have qualifying time standard requirements, so all YSC swimmers are usually eligible for these meets. Coaches decide which events each swimmer will swim.
Divisional Meet: This three-day meet is for swimmers who have achieved minimum time standards, usually BB cuts, but not state times. The meet is held at the end of the short course and long course season. It is run in a championship format with preliminaries in the morning and finals in the afternoon/evening. Qualified swimmers will be notified and will be expected to participate.
Age Group State Meet: This is the exciting climax to each season for all swimmers age 14 and below who have achieved qualifying times. This meet is a three-day meet run in championship format with preliminaries in the morning and finals in the afternoon/evening. Qualified swimmers will be notified and are expected to participate.
Senior State Meet: This meet is open to any age swimmer who meets the qualifying times. Usually these are older swimmers as this meet represents the conclusion to their season. Zone Age Group Meet: This championship is held at the end of summer (long course) season. Swimmers from several states who have achieved AAA times compete in this meet. Yorktown Swim Club 2017 Team Handbook Page 25
USA National Junior Olympics (Junior Nationals): There are two Junior Nationals at the end of each season; one for swimmers east of the Mississippi River, and one for swimmers west of the Mississippi River. Swimmers meeting qualifying time standards for this meet travel to compete against the best young (under 18) swimmers in the nation.
USA Nationals (Senior Nationals): Other than the Olympic Trials and the World Championship Trials, each of which is held once every four years, this is the highest level of competition in the United States for Senior swimmers.
Signing up for a Meet
The Coaching staff has developed a Meet Schedule for the season. If a swimmer wishes to attend a meet that is not scheduled as a team meet, he/she must first get approval from his/her coach. Although it is expected that each swimmer will participate in all of the developmentally appropriate meets, we realize that there may be conflicts which prevent your child from participating. Therefore, we encourage parents to sign up their swimmer for all of the meets in which they are able to participate. To sign up for a meet, you must visit the club website at and click on meet info tab and follow the sign-up procedures. The deadline will typically be several weeks before the meet. You may make changes to the signup sheet until the deadline.
Because swim meets are typically two to three days in length, you will need to indicate on the website which day(s) you are able to participate. The meet will be removed from the site after the deadline has passed. From the website, the coaches will generate a list of swimmers, and the events in which they are entered, which will be sent to the host swim club. We try not to swim on two consecutive weekends, if at all possible, in order to give swimmers adequate rest between meets. Try to review the meet entries for each meet as soon as they are posted to check for correctness. Any errors that are caught early may be able to be corrected. A few of the meets are limited to Senior swimmers or swimmers who have achieved a certain time standard. The Meet Schedule notes a few of these restrictions. However, if you have any questions about the appropriateness of a meet, please contact your swimmer’s coach. Meet Day
Procedures Before the Meet Starts
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 posted on the website.
2. Find the check-in place and either you or your swimmer will need to check the swimmer in on the list of swimmers who are signed up for the meet. a. This is usually posted on a wall or on a registration table. b. Check for special posted instructions in the area. Usually you will need to circle the swimmer's name or highlight the swimmer's name. This is done so that the people running the meet know who is actually at the meet. c. If scratching a swimmer or events, do not just mark through it. Write “scratch” next to it and initial it. Make sure you scratch the right name or event. d. Most meets have positive check-in which means the swimmer must check-in before the deadline. If this is not done, the swimmer may not be allowed to swim that day. e. If you miss the check-in time, there may be an option to deck register (when you arrive) if there are spaces available, but this is difficult and not all meets allow this. Talk to your coach as soon as possible. Yorktown Swim Club 2017 Team Handbook Page 26
3. Find a place to put your swimmer's blanket/towel, swim bags and/or sleeping bag. The team usually sits in one place together, so look for some familiar faces.
4. 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. Swimmer's bodies are just like cars on a cold day-they need to get the engine going and warmed-up before they can go “all out.”
5. After warm-ups, your swimmer will go back to the area where his/her towels are and sit there until his/her first event is called. This is a good time to make sure he/she goes to the restroom if necessary, gets a drink, or just gets settled in.
6. The meet will usually start about 10-15 minutes after warm-ups are over.
7. According to USS 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 conducting of a meet should be referred to the coaching staff. They, in turn, will pursue the matter through the proper channels.
8. Heat Sheets. a. A heat sheet is usually available for sale in the lobby or concession area of the pool. b. It lists all swimmers in each event in order of "seed time" – slower times are placed in the earliest heats. c. When the team entries were sent in, each swimmer and his/her previous best time in that event is listed. d. A swimmer without a time in an event 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. The heat with the fastest seed times will usually swim last.
1. It is important for any swimmer to know which event numbers he/she is swimming. He/she may swim right away after warm-ups or he/she may have to wait awhile. The lane and heat assignments are posted shortly before the meet starts. The swimmer should check his/her assignments for each event he/she is scheduled to swim.
2. When a swimmer's event number is called (usually over the P.A. loudspeaker), he/she will be asked to report for the event. Swimmers who are 8 & under should report to the "Clerk of Course". Older swimmers should report to the end of the pool by the starting platforms. Swimmers should report with their cap and goggles.
3. The "Clerk of Course" area is set up for all swimmers who are 8 & under. a. The people running the "Clerk of Course" may give a card to each of the swimmers who are swimming that event. This card will tell each swimmer his/her heat and lane number. b. The clerk will usually line up all the swimmers and take them to the pool in correct order. c. Depending on the meet, either the clerk will give the card to the timers at the end of each lane or the clerk will instruct the swimmers to hand their cards to the timers when it is their turn to swim. These cards are important because they tell the people running the meet who actually swam each event. d. You can expect at least 2-10 heats for each event depending on the number of swimmers at the meet.
4. Swimmers should have their caps and goggles on before their heat is ready. The swimmer swims his/her race when it is time.
5. after each swim: a. He/she should go immediately to his/her coach. The coach will discuss the swim with each swimmer. b. Generally, the coach follows these guidelines when discussing swims: 1) Positive comments or praise 2) Suggestions for improvement Yorktown Swim Club 2017 Team Handbook Page 27
6. Things you, as a parent, can do after each swim: a. Tell him/her how great he/she did! The coaching staff will be sure to discuss stroke technique with him/her if needed. You just need to tell him/her how proud you are and what a great job he/she did. b. Take him/her back to the towel area and relax. c. This is another good time to check out the restrooms, get a drink or something light to eat. d. The swimmer now waits until his/her next event is called and starts the procedure again at the "Clerk of Course" for 8 & under swimmers.
7. When a swimmer has completed all of his/her events, he/she and his/her parents get to go home. Make sure, however, you or your swimmer check with the coach before leaving to make sure your swimmer is not included in a relay event (always the last events of a meet). It is not fair to other swimmers who may have stayed to swim in a relay with your swimmer as part of the relay team, and he/she is not there.
What to Take to the Meet
1. Most importantly: Swim Suit--cap and goggles (if your swimmer uses them).
2. Baby or talcum powder--To "dust" the inside of swim cap. This helps preserve the cap and makes it easier to put on.
3. Large towels and/or chamois- realize your swimmer will be there awhile, so pack at least two.
4. Something to sit on. Example: sleeping bag, old blanket, or anything that will be comfortable to sit on. The swimmers will be spending a lot of time on it.
5. Sweat suits: bring at least one. Oftentimes, swimmers may want to bring two because they can get wet and soggy.
6. Sandals, flip flops or water shoes.
7. Duffel bag large enough to carry gear.
8. T-shirts: Two or three. Again, everything gets wet.
9. Games: travel games, coloring books, reading books, anything to pass the time. Something to amuse the swimmer quietly between events: books, cards, video games. (Note: bring something to do for everyone attending the meet. Swim meets start early and can last all day.)
10. Food: Each swimmer is usually allowed to bring a small cooler if desired. It is better to bring nutritious snacks. Nutritious snacks such as: fresh or dried fruit, sport drinks, fruit juice, water, yogurt, muffins, bread, crackers, granola bars, ready to eat dry cereals, low fat lunch meat/cheese, Jell-O cubes, fresh vegetables, sandwiches. A concession stand is usually available at the meet, but the lines may be long and most sell junk food which is difficult to resist. Concession stand, higher-fat, fast-food and junk food should be eaten in moderation during the meet.
11. A change of clothes for the trip home.
Please do not hesitate to ask another parent for help or information if you are uncertain about a particular procedure or facet of the swim meet. Meets are a lot of fun for the swimmers! They get to visit with friends, play games, and get to know swimmers from other teams. They also get to "race" and see how much they have improved after all the hard work put in at practice. The pool area is usually very warm. Therefore, parents need to make sure they dress appropriately. Nothing is worse than being hot at a swim meet; it makes the time pass very slowly!
At most of the meets not held at a natatorium, the parents are allowed to sit with the swimmers in the blanket or camp area. Some meets have special “camping” areas for the swimmers that are not part of the pool and may be cool in temperature (especially for the wet swimmers). If you do not think that a gym floor is comfortable, feel free to bring folding chairs to sit on. Non-swimmers are not allowed on the pool deck. Yorktown Swim Club 2017 Team Handbook Page 28
A Parent’s Guide to Swim Meets:
Keep an eye on the pool bulletin board, team website and emails for information about upcoming meets. A meet information packet is sent to our team and includes such things as location of the meet, entry deadlines, and type of facility, hotel/motel information, maps, and qualification times for entry. A week or so prior to the meet weekend, your swimmer’s event numbers and times will be posted on the YSC website and/or at the pool. Take some time to study this and write down the information, keeping it for later reference when you arrive at the meet. Check to make sure your swimmer is listed for the days desired. On the day of the meet, bring something for each attendee to do between events. In addition, bring a pen or marker to write events on your swimmer’s hand. Upon arrival at the pool, make sure your swimmer checks in with the coach, gets signed in and gets belongings settled in the camp area before warm-ups. When your swimmer leaves for warm ups, it is a good time to purchase a heat sheet with the list of all swimmers, events, and event times. Bring a highlighter to mark your swimmer’s events.
Disqualification (DQ) Disqualification can be tough to experience, but it doesn’t have to be. It happens to swimmers at every level of ability. The officials on deck are in charge of enforcing all start, stroke, and turn rules. When your child has demonstrated an infraction of one of those rules, an official will raise his/her hand, and when the child exits the water, the official will explain the infraction to the swimmer, and encourage him/her to try again next time. Some children take this in stride, others get very upset. Smiles, praise, and a hug from Mom or Dad can do a lot to help ensure that a DQ ends up being the learning experience it is meant to be.
Transportation Parents and/or guardians are responsible for transportation of swimmers to and from all Club practices, Club meets, and other Club events. It is hereby the stated policy of the Yorktown Swim Club, that transportation of swimmers and/or coaches to practices, meets, or any other event considered to be a Club function by any non-public conveyance (as defined to include privately owned vehicles) is recognized by the Yorktown Swim Club as a purely private agreement between the parties involved and that neither the Yorktown Swim Club, nor the Yorktown Swim Club Board of Directors, separately or as a group, except for the parties directly involved can be or will be considered as a party to such arrangement and that any liability in any form arising from such arrangement is purely and completely the responsibility of the parties involved.
Disclaimer: Although accuracy is intended, there may be differences between this and the YSC Bylaws or registration materials for the current or upcoming season. The YSC Bylaws shall always have precedence if there are differences. The registration materials should be considered more accurate for the current season.