For the parents of first-year swimmers, swim meets can be a bit daunting. But take heart, even the most seasoned veterans were first-year parents at one time and look how relaxed they are. To help you obtain that same state of mental bliss, the following describes what you will encounter so that you can be prepared for the real thing when it happens.
One thing to remember is that everyone started out new to swim team - we all had to learn the ropes....so ask questions....LOTS OF QUESTIONS!
This page is dedicated to answering the most common questions about swim team. If you have a question that is not covered here, please send it to our Swim Team Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why Should My Children Be On Swim Team?
Swim team is a fun and competitive summer program in association with the Seattle Summer Swim League. Summer swim league is always a wonderful time for children to get outside and participate in a recreational sport, to learn and practice sportsmanship and to make new friends and spend time with old ones.
What time do meets start?
All dual meets start at 6:00 P.M. It is very important for new swimmers to allow plenty of time before the meets. For home meets, swimmers need to arrive at 4:45 P.M. and will warm up from 5:00 P.M. to 5:30 P.M. For away meets, swimmers should arrive at 5:15 P.M. and will warm up from 5:30 P.M. until 6:00 P.M. Be sure to confirm warm-up times with the coaches.
Are meets cancelled for weather?
Meets are held rain or shine, so bring your umbrella, etc. Meet officials will postpone or cancel the meet in the event of thunder or lightning for safety reasons, but please do not make your own assumptions. When in doubt, show up at the meet!
Where can I find directions to the other SSSL pools?
Directions to all away meets are included in the Directions section of the Aqua Log.
What Clothes and Other Stuff Should I Bring?
Swimmers should bring the following to meets:
Teams swim suit, cap and goggles.
A warm sweat suit or similar clothes to wear over your swim suit between events.
A warm hat and sweater or jacket.
A sleeping bag or blanket(s) to sit on and/or to keep warm between events.
A tarp, sheet of plastic or thick blanket to put under sleeping bag (not a must).
A few towels so that you can dry off after warmups and each event.
Some swimmers like to bring small tents on cold and rainy days. These swimmers must be extra alert in listening for their events.
What do I do when I get to the pool for a meet?
Upon arriving at the pool, each swimmer should double check the line-up sheets to confirm the events he/she will be swimming. It is helpful and customary to write the events and heats that your child will be swimming on their arm with a ballpoint pen or sharpie marker. About three to five events before your child’s event, your child should proceed to the appropriate lane. In the case of relays, more time should be allowed to gather all four swimmers. For younger swimmers, certain parents will be assigned the task of gathering relay swimmers together or the Buddies and Captains will be present to assist new and younger swimmers.
Where should I put my stuff when I get to the meet?
For a home meet, Marine Hills swimmers should sit together on the pickle-ball court. For away meets, sit together with your team in the area designated by the host team.
What are buddies?
To ease parent/swimmer stress, each of our new swimmers will be introduced to a buddy at time trials. The buddy will be an older, experienced swimmer. Their goal will be to help the new swimmer through the above process and to promote team spirit along with the Captains. If your swimmer is a returning swimmer but still in need of a buddy, please let the Swim Coordinator know and we will try to arrange it.
How do I know what my child is swimming in a meet?
Before each meet; the coaches will assign swimmers to events by gender and age group. These line up sheets will be taped up to a wall on the pump house shed by the pickle ball court at home meets and in a central location to the team at away meets. Prior to the meet, find the line up sheets and check the events in which your swimmer will be participating. They will be numbered one through 72. It is best to have a pen with you as you can write their event numbers on their hand (or yours) to help you remember.
How many events can a child swim in a meet?
In dual meets, swimmers are limited to a total of 4 events, including relays. An individual may swim a maximum of 3 individual events and 1 relay, or 2 individual events and 2 relays. The line-up of swimmers will be posted the day of the meets on the pump house shed by the pickle-ball court. When meets are at another club, the line-ups will be posted in a central location there, also. Team members sit together at the meets. At home meets, we congregate at the pickle-ball court.
How do relays work?
The most confusing event, especially for beginners, is the relays. Below is a description of each type of relay:
Medley Relay: 10 and Under
• Swim only 25 yards (one length) for each leg of race
• Order of strokes: Back, Breast, Butterfly, Free (Alphabetical Order)
• Backstroke and Butterfly will leave from the starting end of the pool
• Breaststroke and Freestyle will leave from the far end of the pool
Medley Relay: 11 and Over
• Swim 50 yards (2 lengths)
• Order of strokes: Back, Breast, Butterfly, Free (Alphabetical Order)
• All swimmers leave from the starting end of the pool
Free Relay: 8 and Under
• Swim 25 yards (one length)
• 1st and 3rd swimmers leave from the starting end of the pool
• 2nd and 4th swimmers leave from the far end of the pool
Free Relay: 10 & Over
• All swimmers swim 50 yards (2 lengths) and leave from starting end of the pool
100 yard relays for the younger swimmers can be particularly confusing. It is recommended that a couple of the parents get the team together prior to the event and determine who is swimming what leg of the event. One of the parents should then take the first and third swimmers to the blocks while the other parent takes the second and fourth swimmers to the same lane at the opposite end of the pool. That’s about it. If you are still confused, don’t hesitate to ask one of the parents who look entirely too relaxed. That state was hard earned.
What is an individual medley?
An Individual Medley is a 100 yard race swam a single swimmer which includes each of the four strokes. The swimmer will swim one length each of Butterfly, Back, Breast and Freestyle (in that order).
What is exhibition?
Usually, there is more than one heat per event. Exhibition or un-scored heats are run before the fastest, scored heat. If your child is swimming in an exhibition heat, there will be an X or EX next to their name on the event lineup.
What and when are warmups?
Before each swim meet, there are warm ups to get swimmers loosened up and ready to race. For home meets, they start at 5:00 PM and are over at 5:30 PM. For away meets, they start at 5:30 PM and are over at 6:00 PM.
During meet warm-ups, no diving or backstroke starts are allowed from the blocks or edge of the pool unless specified by the official announcer. All swimmers must enter the pool feet first. Late in the warmup the officials will designate a lane or two for “starts”. This will be the only time racing starts will be permitted.
It is a good idea for swimmers to familiarize themselves with the following items during warmup (particularly at away meets):
location of backstroke flags
walls (for turns)
lane lines (separating one lane from another
lane markers (on bottom of pool and at each wall)
location of "flip numbers" that indicate current event number
What should I do after warm-up?
Meet with your coaches for a team meeting.
How do I know what event they are on?
Each meet consists of 72 events. The order of these events is always the same and is as follows:
• 50 Free for seniors
• Medley Relay
• 100 Individual Medley (IM)
• 25 / 50 Free
• 100 Free for seniors
• Fly (Butterfly)
• Free Relay
Event numbers are displayed at the pool. The pool announcer also announces first call, second call and third call to make you aware of the upcoming events. Lastly, the starter will announce the event that is to be on the blocks after third call.
The youngest age groups swim first. There is no individual medley for the 8 and unders. Be sure and listen to the announcer to know which heats are coming up so that your child will know when to report to the starting blocks. Most clubs including ours have event flip cards displayed by the pool or clubhouse to help you keep track of meet progress. Swimmers need to be aware at all times which event is being swum. If the swimmer is not at the blocks on time, he/she will miss the event. The officials will not wait for missing swimmers.
Special note for 8 & Under Swimmers: Escort your child to the event card stand and staging area at least 5 events before your child’s. Feel free to stay with your child before his/her event. Check with the volunteer relay parent before leaving your child at the blocks. This will eliminate last minute scrambles searching for little ones.
Where do swimmers go when it's time for their race?
Swimmers should line up in the lane they are assigned to in the order of the event they are entered in (the lower numbered event closest to the block.). If your swimmer is young, you may want to escort them and wait with them until it is their time to swim. Hand the card to one of the timers who will make sure your swimmer is in the right event.
How long do meets last?
Meets last 2 ½ to 3 hours. Be prepared to sit back and enjoy the swimming.
Is there anywhere to get something to eat at swim meets?
Each pool has a concession stand where you can usually count on buying hamburgers, hot dogs, coffee, soft drinks, and candy. Some pools also have cup of soup, chili, and Frito-Banditos. Ask the coach about what s/he recommends swimmers eat before and during meets. Coaches, swimmers, and parents usually go out to eat at local fast food establishments after meets. Although it is not required, it is a lot of fun.
What if my child has to miss a meet?
If you know in advance that your child will be missing a meet, it is critical to sign out on the appropriate sheets on the Swim Team bulletin board in the office at least two days before the meet or on the web site. Signing out allows the coaches time to prepare the best possible line-up for the upcoming meet. Last minute changes and no-shows are unfair to the coaches and very disappointing to the swimmers since affected relays may be unable to swim. If unforeseen circumstances arrive, and your child is unable to swim the date of the meet, please call the office at 253-839-4690 so the coaches can reorganize the lineups.
Are awards given out at swim meets?
Each swimmer receives a ribbon for swimming an event. You may pick up ribbons the day or two following a meet from a file box in the pool office. If you child did not receive a ribbon for an event, please sign the Missing Ribbons sheet. Realize that things do get misplaced and volunteers do make mistakes! However, if your child has been disqualified (DQ’d) for not following swim rules during a race, no ribbon will be provided. The results sheets posted in the office on the Swim Team bulletin board will indicate all times and places and whether your swimmer was disqualified.