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Swim Meet 101


Swim meets are fun, but running a successful meet takes planning and volunteer effort from a lot of people. Here are some basics that might be helpful for newer parents:

Some set-up happens the night before the meet, immediately after the pasta party. Please plan to stay for 15 minutes after dinner to move chairs and set up tables for the next morning.

Morning set-up begins at about 7:00 AM. Only a few people are needed that early, but for the sake of fairness and teamwork, the people who arrived earliest shouldn’t also be the only people who are still moving chairs back onto the deck at noon. After the meet ends, we need to break down the tables and tents, clean up, and move all of the chairs back onto the deck. EVERYONE should plan to stay and help with this. It’s a 15-minute job as long as we have enough hands.

Be on time for warm-ups! Warm-ups are very important, and if your swimmers don’t arrive on time for the team warm-up, then they won’t get any warm-up at all. Swimmers should plan to be at the pool and ready to swim by 7:20 AM (home meets; warm-up time for away meets will be announced.)

Swimmers must remain in the team area. Except for bathroom breaks and quick trips to the bake sale, we need swimmers to remain together for the entire meet. Neither the coaches nor the clerk of course have time to hunt for missing swimmers when it’s time to check them in for their events, and no one wants to see a swimmer miss a chance to race because they weren’t where they needed to be when they were called. Parents who are not busy should help to supervise swimmers.

We need 9 timers from each team, so PLEASE answer the call for timers. We also need 6 to 8 volunteers to help with the bake sale. It’s hard to see and hear the meet from the bake sale area, so in fairness to all of our bake sale volunteers, we run this in shifts so that no one has to be stuck behind a counter for the entire meet. If you find that you’re not busy, then please stop by the bake sale and offer to relieve another volunteer for 30 minutes or so.

Speaking of bake sale, please also remind your swimmers that they shouldn’t eat donuts or other junk food until they are finished with their races. Buy a donut and save it for later, but during the meet, please try to stick with healthier options. 

What do I bring to a swim meet? Your swimmers need a suit, towel, goggles, and possibly a cap (swimmers with longer hair do much better when they’re wearing caps). Other things to bring/consider:

  • Water and healthy snacks! Swim meets are long, and kids get hungry and thirsty. Almost every meet will have a food concession, but these are fundraisers, and the offerings usually include soda, donuts, cookies, hot dogs, etc.—not the healthiest options.
  • Shade! We try to bring canopies and umbrellas to away meets, some of which are at pools that provide little or no shade, but if you have a canopy or umbrella, then consider bringing it, too.
  • Chairs.
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, hats.
  • Games, books, puzzles, art supplies, etc. Swimmers only swim three individual events, and one relay. That leaves a lot of down time, and swimmers are not allowed in the pool except during their own events. They’ll be happier if they have something fun to do in between events.
  • Warm clothes, depending on the weather. Swim meets start early, and even on warm days, swimmers can get chilly after warm-ups and between events. Consider bringing sweatshirts or hoodies and sweatpants or flannel PJ pants (which are very popular as warm-up wear).

Have questions about A meets vs B meets? Click here.

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