Swim Meet Info

All you ever wanted to know about swim meets: Signing up, what to eat before and during the meet, what to do to get ready for the meet, what to bring, and what to do at the meet.


How to sign up for meets
Guidelines for filling out entry forms for USA swimming meets
Meet preparation in advance
What to expect at the meet—what you need to know
(see a cool YouTube video of Your First Swim Meet which covers some of "what you need to know")
Relays: How they work
Other meet info
This information in a PDF file

How to sign-up for meets

Fill out an entry card and turn in with check made out to Wind N Sea swim Team by Paton’s due date (not the due date in the meet info)—typically two Monday’s prior to the meet. Swimmers may need to check with their coaches as to what events are appropriate. Especially the younger swimmers. All swimmers are encouraged to compete in appropriate meets.

Guidelines for filling out entry cards for USA swimming meets

The entry process is easy once you get the hang of it. By the time your child is in the blue group they should be able to do their entries themselves.

Things you need for proper completion of entry card/time card

  1. Pen
  2. Entry card (aka Time Card)
    1. Entry cards are available at the All-Sports office, and there is a stack in the plastic bin at the pool.
    2. or download a sheet of three entry cards here (in PDF form)
  3. Meet sheet (emailed or available at www.si-swimming.org under "meets")
    1. Events the coaches want your child to swim
  4. Child’s USA Number
  5. Team name and abbreviation (again, Wind N Sea Swim Team; WSST)
  6. Your child’s best times

The last thing you need to do is give the card and a check for the proper amount to Paton prior to the entry deadline.

What you will need to fill out the entry card/time card

  1. Your child’s USA number (meaning CURRENT USA registration).
    1. Your child’s birthdate followed by a combination of the first three letters of the first name, the middle initial and the first four letters of the last name.
    2. The number should look like this: mm/dd/yyfffmlll. For example, Coach Paton’s USA number would look like this: 061769PATMMCC. This number will be checked against a national database compiled from completed registrations, so you must have paid your USA swimming dues to be eligible to swim, otherwise, they will turn you away at the meet.
  2. The name of the swim team: Wind N Sea Swim Team. Team Code is WSST.
  3. Meet sheet will have all the information you need to enter and attend the meet.
    1. Address and directions to the pool
    2. Name for checks (fill out to Wind N Sea swim team unless otherwise specified).<
    3. Event numbers
    4. Qualifying times (if necessary)
    5. Other rules specific to the meet (i.e what type of awards given)
  4. Entry times (almost always your child’s best time)
  5. Entry cards aka Time Cards

 

Entry cards (click here to download entry cards in PDF format)
The entry cards sometimes have a color-coded strip across the top, blue for boys and pink for girls. If not, simply circle the appropriate M or F designation. On each card are 5 main columns divided into rows. Each column is for a different stroke and one for IMs (Individual Medleys). There are also smaller columns adjacent to each of the main columns; these are for the event numbers. Each row coincides with a specific competition distance beginning with the 25.

To fill in the entry card properly you will need the meet sheet. In the event number column you will fill in the appropriate event number corresponding with the desired distance and stroke. To the right of the event number column is a space to enter the time for that particular event. That time should be the fastest time that your child has swum up to that point.

To complete the card, fill in the rest of the information that it asks for. This information is self-explanatory and consists of the competitor's name, USA number, birthdate, team, meet host, etc.

entrycard

Notes on reading the meet entries

  1. Event titles: the stroke corresponds to the appropriate event; the distance is different according to age-group. The meet entries are set up this way because the coaches cannot be expected to know when your swimmer “ages up” and will be competing in a different age group (as it is effective immediately after the birthday).
  2. Swimmers are expected to enter and compete in the marked entries. The spaces left blank are also available; you can always swim more events.
  3. Question marks refer to events the coaches believe the swimmer is strong enough for and may benefit from but are essentially optional.
  4. Relays are made up and the entry cards turned in the day of the meet. The coaches are responsible for these cards and will let the swimmers know accordingly. Because meet attendance tends to change at the last minute, the relays are not made until later. It is the coaches’ decision who is on the relays.

 

Child’s best times
It is important that you keep an independent log of your child's best times as well as the times they swim in each meet. When they get to high school ages it is increasingly important to have a log of how they have been swimming throughout the season. It is exciting to go back through the season and watch how you have improved, as well as helpful for future training to pick up patterns of performance. Swimmers can track their times on the USA Swimming website. Just register with your USA Swimming number and take a look at My USA Swimming.

Meet sheets
If the sheet is lost, you can print out a copy of the sheet by going to the San Diego-Imperial Swimming web page, under the "Meet" section see the "Meet Format" PDF link for the meet you need. The coaches will assist the kids with which events to enter, though knowing how, when and where meets are entered is a fundamental part of becoming a competitive and mature swimmer.

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Meet preparation in advance

The week before:

  1. Eat healthily
  2. Drink lots of water
  3. Go to bed early/get a good nights’ sleep
  4. Get plenty of rest during the day (more important for "big" meets)
  5. Think about what you want to accomplish in the meet. For example: (1) swim fast; (2) complete the race, no DQ; (3) do your best in your first meet ever; (4) win your heat; and/or (5) qualify for a certain cut time (like “B”)

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What to expect at the meet—what you need to know

1) Arrive to meet on time
Arrive at the pool usually 15 minutes before scheduled warm-up starts unless a coach states otherwise. Warmup times are posted on the meet sheet. Meet sheets can be found and printed online at: http://si-swimming.org, see the “Meet” section and find the “Meet Format” PDF link for the meet you need. The meet sheet has info for pool location, directions, etc. PLEASE do not lose it, as many simple questions can be answered by the information there.

2) Check in at the “clerk of course table”
The clerk of course table is located somewhere on the pool deck, usually near the entrance and always with a line of swimmers. CHECKING IN IS VERY IMPORTANT: your child will not be able to swim in the meet if they are not checked in on time.

3) Find the coach to warm up
Look for the team area on the pool deck. This may take a few minutes, as we are a smaller team (or you might have arrived before other families). Team areas are not marked, they are very informal. The Ospreys warm up as a team and the coaches have a specific warm up schedule and routine that they follow. Warm-up is a very important part of race preparation, both physically and mentally. Therefore it is vital that your swimmer is present and ready to get in the water. Be there on time!

4) Knowing your heat and lane: how it works
FYI Meet programs are available for purchase at all the meets; however, these ARE NOT heat and lane assignments. Programs are only a list of the events with the swimmers entered according to their seeded time. Heat and lane assignments are posted on the pool deck prior to each event, usually by at least 20 minutes. All meets are organized first by event, then by heat and lane. It is the swimmer's responsibility (parents’ responsibility with the younger ones) to find the heat/lane assignments and tell the coaches.

5) Check in with the coach before and after your race
Tell your coach your heat and lane assignment (see above). Swimmers should to talk to their coach both before their swim (to talk about race strategy, last minute concerns, and general advice) and after their swim (to go over the race).

6) Warm down after each event
All swimmers are expected to warm down by swimming several laps. The distance will vary depending on the race just completed. Ask your coach.

7) Check the relay assignments after they have been posted in the team area (more relay info below)

8) What to do during the meet
Pay attention to what race (age group, distance, event number) is in the water. It is your responsibility (parents help with the younger swimmers) to be ready and behind the block before your race. Please do not ask the coaches what event is in the water! This is our time to coach. Make sure you keep yourself out of the sun and well hydrated (do not fool around in the warm-up pool) If you're eating, make sure it is healthy foods and well in advance of your race. No greasy foods!

9) What to bring
Food: there is usually a snack bar at the pool but we suggest you bring your own food as well. Healthy snacks are best, for example: fruit, nuts, sandwiches, energy bars are ok. And don't forget lots of water.
Clothes: bring warm clothes, a change of clothes, protection from the sun (hat, sunscreen, clothes).
Swim gear: team cap, extra caps (yours might break!), goggles (an extra pair if you misplace yours), extra towels; WEAR your swimsuit!
The meet sheet: this can serve for your program of events, unless you would like to purchase one at the meet.
Deck accoutrements: chairs to sit in, a notebook and pen to write down swimmer’s times from official results posting.

10) Timing: our team responsibility
WSST parents will usually need to staff at least one lane with timers for the duration of the meet (watches are provided by the host team). Everyone should time. If your child will be done early, please time early so that your family is free to leave when your child is finished competing. Parents with late swimming children always end up picking up the slack. Time early!!! It's a great way to see the meet and to introduce yourself to parents from other teams. We usually aim for ½-1 hour shifts.

11) Lap counting
During the longer distance events, the swimmer needs someone to hold the counter in the water for them. Ask the coach if you can help with this responsibility.

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A cool YouTube video explaination of some of the above:
Swim Life's First Swim Meet video



Relays: How they work

What are relays?
There are 2 kinds of relays: a Medley Relay and a Free Relay. The medley relay is composed of 4 swimmers, each swimming one of the four strokes in the order of backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, freestyle. The free relay is four swimmers all swimming freestyle. The age group in which the relays are entered determines the relay distance.

When are relays organized? When are they entered?
Relays are organized the morning of the meet, depending on who has shown up on time, and most importantly, on who has registered. (If you did not register on time, you cannot swim at all). They are entered that morning ("deck-entered") and generally speaking cannot be entered in advance. Relays are also paid for that morning, so the coaches ask for a collection. Generally relays are $5 each, depending on the host team rules.

How do I know if I am in a relay?
Anyone who is entered in the meet (and checks-in on time) is eligible for the relays! Therefore do not leave the meet early if you are in the relay. For everyone else, the coaches do appreciate you letting us know before you head out; sometimes we will have need to use alternatives. In terms of relay assignments, it will be posted somewhere in the team area, generally after warm-up. Please don't ask the coaches, as they will be busy with other aspects of coaching the meet.

What do I do if I need to leave early?
If your family has some other obligation to attend to, you should tell the coaches well in advance— i.e. when you are signing up for the meet. That day, make sure you tell the coaches you are leaving before you head out.

What decides if I am in a relay or not?
The coaches decide who swims in the relay. Generally speaking, the fastest four people in attendance at the meet make up the relay (and/or fastest stroke combination for the medley), but we also take into consideration: work ethic in practice, practice attendance, how well an individual is doing on the given day (i.e. normally they might be faster than X but they‘ve been sick the past week and haven’t been doing as well as usual), and letting those who haven’t done it before have a chance at the relay experience.

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Other meet information

How do I know if my swimmer is A, B or C??
There are certain time standards that distinguish between "A", "B" and "C" categories. These standards are posted on the San Diego Imperial website at http://www.si-swimming.org.

All swimmers who have not competed before will participate in a C meet with "NT" (no time) on their entries. Thereafter those times can be used to figure out in which meets your swimmer will participate.

Please understand that your swimmer is not an A, B or C swimmer. The letters refer to particular standards and it is very common (and encouraged) to swim the “stronger” strokes in the A/B meets and the “weaker” strokes at C meets.

Team responsibility: timers
For almost all meets that we enter as a team, we are required to have two timers working. These timers are parent volunteers. The time can be divided however the parents decide. We ask that everyone contribute so its not the same families that end up timing every meet.

Who swims in meets?
All meets are highly encouraged for those eligible and ready for competition. Meets with extra emphasis are meets WSST hosts, as well as Junior Olympics, JO Max, and the Summer Wrap-Up meet.

What if my family can’t make a meet once we’ve entered?
For greatest efficiency and convenience, all the meet entries are done at one time and distributed. If your family is not going to the meet, don’t worry. We hope you can come to the next one. But do let the coaches know, as we will be making up relays.

Swimmer eligibility
For a swimmer to be eligible, he/she MUST have the completed the following things:

  1. Filled out a USA Athlete Registration form (available in the plastic bin)
  2. Paid the $66 (2017) registration fee, sent in with the Athlete Registration form

Click here to download the meet info packet (in PDF file format)
All the meet-related information from this page is available in this PDF file.

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