Swim Meet Tips


New to Swim Team?  Please read further….

You really have to experience a swim meet to understand it but here are a few tips!

First of all, it’s chilly when practice starts. The pool will be heated but the children may be cold when they get out of the water. Extra towels and warm clothes often come in handy. The practices run close/through the dinner hour so healthy snacks are good to have.

Please note that non-swim team siblings are not allowed to swim during practice. The baby pool may or may not be open during practice.

Swim meets always start at 5:30. We ask families to get their swimmers to the meets by 4-4:30 so the children can be informed of their events and have a chance to warm up in the pool. Remember the number of people that we have to get around a pool? The parking will always be worse than you think!

Meets generally conclude by 8:30-9:00. Sometimes we will have pizza and free swim after a home meet at Roxboro.

Swim Meets consist of 86 Events. (To see a specific list of events, go to www.atlantaswimming.com) For Dual Meets, girls’ events are prior to boys’ events. For Divisional Meets, girls and boys swim simultaneously in two pools.

Swimming is an individual and team sport. This means that swimmers get times/ribbons by place for their races. The first heat of every event is used to calculate points to determine which team is winning. That’s all done by a computer but if you want a lot of detail about it you can go to the Atlanta Swim Association website for scoring specifics.

The swimmers and bullpen parents keep up with the swimmer’s races by using an indelible ink market to write the heat numbers and other meet-relevant information on the swimmer’s arm. (See below for abbreviations used.) The swimmer’s name and team is usually written on their back. Be careful . . . “Sharpie” markers plus sunscreen can rub off on car seats.J

E          Description of the event        H         L                                                         

E is for Event

H is for Heat (Number of race in the event.)

L is for Lane

Swimmers should be encouraged to understand how they are marked up and what the marks mean. They should also cooperate with their bullpen parents/deck manager. It is so sad when swimmers have practiced all week and then miss their race!

For home meets, Roxboro generally swims lanes 2, 4, 6. At away meets, we generally swim lanes 1, 3, 5. In a 5-lane pool, lane 5 is used for exhibition. For exhibition heats (Heat numbers higher than 1) swimmers may swim in the other team’s lane and you don’t always have a swimmer for every lane of every heat. 

We keep up with what the heck is going on by following a program of events or “heat sheet” as it is often called.  Many of these are printed and available. As we advance technologically, many parents are able to follow the “heat sheet” from their mobile devices.

Please note that we start and finish a meet with relays. Medley relays are swum at the start of a dual meet.  The strokes for a medley relay are in the following order.

Order of 100 Meter Relays by stroke:

  • Back
  • Breast
  • Butterfly
  • Freestyle

There is also an individual medley event. Order of Individual Medley Events by stroke:

  • Butterfly
  • Back
  • Breast
  • Freestyle

What should your child bring to a swim meet? There is a lot of wait time during a meet so cards, books, board games, and electronic games are generally a hit. A concession stand will be available but it never hurts to have a few snacks if your child is picky or the line is long. Money (and small bills!) will be needed if you plan to eat from the concession stand. Dry towels and a change of clothes are often appreciated.  Almost everything gets wet at a swim meet. If it rains, everything gets wet! It’s handy to have some things (including clothes and cell phones) in zip lock bags. A water bottle is a good thing to have. All pools are required by law to have a water fountain. Because the children are wet, they won’t realize how fast they can dehydrate in the sun. Speaking of, sunscreen is often needed during the afternoon and bug spray as dusk approaches.

If you have questions as to whether or not your child should compete in a swim meet, please see the Head Coach or Swim Team Manager.