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Swim Meet 101

Piranhas Meet Instructions:

ARRIVAL TIME: Please arrive at the pool by 5:15pm. The meet starts at 6:00pm. Warm-ups start at 5:20-5:30 for home team and then the visiting team warms-up from 5:30-5:40 and 5:40-5:50. The swimmers are all a little nervous so arriving on time helps calm everyone.

WHAT TO BRING: At the meets, the team generally sits together in an area on the grass. Look for the Pinecrest banner to see where the team is sitting. Families bring towels, 1 towel per race is always good, and folding chairs to sit on. It’s good to bring books and games (card games for example) for the kids to play while they wait between races. Also bring money to buy concession goodies! There are usually chairs around the pool for people that want ringside seats. Swimmers need to bring goggles and MANY swimmers use swim caps at the meets. It can get COLD as the evening progresses! Most swimmers like to have sweatshirts, pants, and towels for after the meet or for when they're done swimming. Young kids in particular get cold as the evening progresses! At the meets, parents should keep an eye on their younger aged swimmers and family members because there are big crowds. Some meets have vendors available who sell swimming items.

FOOD AND REFRESHMENTS: The host team for the meet offers concessions – usually hotdogs, hamburgers, “walking tacos”, drinks, fruit, veggies with dip, and candy. Prices are generally very reasonable. Cashiers appreciate $1's and $5's -- you can only make change for so many $20s!!

WHAT YOUR SWIMMER SHOULD KNOW: First and foremost have fun! Do their best and enjoy the meet. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE leave the coaching to our amazing coaches and just encourage your swimmers. If you are volunteering and leaving your swimmer, especially our younger swimmers, please make sure they know where all their "stuff" is: snacks, goggles, money and entertainment. Please remind your swimmers to stay with the age group parents and not wander off as this can create chaos when time comes to swim.

EVENTS: Usually at practice on the day of the meet your swimmer will be told what races ("events") he or she will be in. Depending on the number of swimmers we have in an age group, will determine amount of events per swimmer. The maximum is 5 events per swimmer. Many swimmers use sharpie marker on their hand or forearm to remember which races and lanes they will be in (and heat number if needed). New this season parents will be able to see their swimmers events through our website or Swimtopia mobile app. 

The events are numbered 1-74. Event has 2 heats. The odd numbered races are girls and the even numbered races are boys.

The races are organized by swim stroke. Within each category of swim stroke, the races start with the youngest age group and alternate girls and boys up through the ages to the oldest.

EVENT AGE GROUPS - The age groups for racing are: “6 and under”, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, and 15-18.

EVENT DESCRIPTIONS Most races are one swimmer performing a single stroke the whole distance, but the exceptions are:

  • Medley Relay: 4 team members each swim a leg of the relay - each swimmer does a different stroke – Back, Breast, Fly, Free, in that order.
  • Individual Medley (IM): One swimmer performs 4 strokes – Fly, Back, Breast, Free – in that order.
  • Freestyle Relay: 4 team members each swim a leg of the relay - each swims the freestyle stroke.
  • Events 1-10 Medley Relay
  • Events 11-12 42 Feet 6-year olds and under - freestyle 1/2 pool length to “catcher” in the pool with them (2 Heats Plus Exhibition Heats)
  • Events 13-20 IndividualMedley
  • Events 21-30 Breast 
  • Events 31-40 Fly 
  • Events 41-52 Free
  • Events 53-64 Back
  • Events 65-74 Freestyle Relay

WHERE TO STAND FOR RELAYS - The length of the relay race determines if all the relay members lineup together at the “blocks” (the boards they dive off of) or if some of the relay members have to be at the other end of the pool.

The 11 and up kids are in relays that require the swimmers to swim to one end and swim back, so everyone lines up at the blocks. The 10 and under relay teams split up with racers 1 and 3 at the starting blocks and racers 2 and 4 on the opposite end of the pool. That’s because the younger swimmers only swim across the pool (25 m) before the next swimmer jumps in to continue.

LANES - There are usually three teams at a regular season meet. There are six lanes in the pool, and each team gets two lanes that they use for the entire meet. For home meets, we'll have lanes 2 and 5. For some away meets we'll have lanes 1 and 4, and for other away meets we'll have lanes 3 and 6.

EVENT BOARD - During the meet, the home team will run an event board - showing the current event and the events that are "on deck" (lined up behind the blocks waiting their turn).

Usually the “on deck” is about 3 races ahead. IMPORTANT - The first medley relay teams (Events 1-3) need to be behind the diving blocks before the Star Spangled Banner is played at the start of the meet.

Arm Marking

Use the Heat Sheet to find and highlight your child's events. Mark the arm as illustrated below in the picture in the order of Event/Heat/Lane.

Write on clean dry skin with no sunscreen. Please do not apply sunscreen until after swimmers have warmed up.

If you are not able to help your child apply sunscreen, the tent parents will help the child apply the sunscreen. But please remember to supply the sunscreen. It is not the Tent Parent's responsibility to supply your child with sunscreen.

Heat Sheets will be found in the Meet Book provided via email on Friday afternoon.

Example of Arm Marking

Write Clearly and Legibly on your child's LEFT arm as illustrated in the picture.

Stroke: If you'd like to note the stroke do so after the lane designation.
- FR = Freestyle
- BA = Back Stroke
- BR = Breast Stroke
- FLY = Butterfly
- IM = Individual Medley
- FRR = Free Relay (All swimmers swim freestyle)
- MR = Medley Relay (Each swimmer swims a different stroke: 1st = back, 2nd=breast, 3rd=fly, 4th=free)

Relay Marking: This will designate the relay leg the child is swimming.
- 1/1 = Lane 1, first relay leg
- 4/2 = Lane 4, 2nd relay leg **If the Medley Relay this will be Breast Stroke

AFTER-MEET PARTY - The team usually has a "party" after the meet. For home meets, everyone helps clean up our pool area (chairs put back, etc.) and then there is a snack – For away meets, a restaurant is chosen for everyone to meet.

T-SHIRTS: Wear your team shirt to meets.

DISQUALIFIED: Swimmers will be DQ'd (disqualified) for improper strokes. If your child is DQ'd please assure your swimmer that it is okay and how proud you are of them for trying. The coaches do get a list of what the swimmer was DQ'd for and they will go over with the swimmers in practice!

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Our coaches and our parent leads will also be able to answer questions you might have at the meet. Most importantly HAVE FUN!

GO Piranhas!!!

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