Swim Meet Survival Guide
Compiled by Rose Ann Lynch (former Tsunami Parent)
Welcome to Tsunami Swimming. Your child is about to embark on an exciting year, and you will be right there with them. Your first meet will be confusing, but remember, you are not alone! We've all been there and we are all happy to help. You will experience a 1/2 day of wall-to-wall children...enjoy it. It is great family time and there are a lot of fun people attached to the Virginia Swimming programs.
Directions are usually included in meet announcements. If they are not, ask Coach Pete or one of the other parents. Another good source is the hosting team's web site. Some hosting teams will also suggest local hotels. Decide if you need a room for the evening and make your reservations accordingly. Remember, you may be in for some early mornings or late nights.
What should swimmers wear?
At the beginning of the season, swimmers may not all have team suits yet. The key to identifying your child to the coach will be the team cap. Male or female, young or old, encourage your child to wear their cap.
What should parents wear?
Dress comfortably with rubber soled shoes. Think layers. It tends to be rather warm in the pool area and you will be there for a while. It may be cool in other areas.
Heat sheets tell you what is going on during the meet. They give the breakdown of the events and list the swimmers for each event. The heat sheets usually give your swimmer's heat and lane for each event. Heat sheets will be sold by the hosting team. Prices vary from $4- $10 depending on the size of the meet.
New swimmers may be listed on the heat sheet with "no time" for an event. This means having no official time. After swimming an event, your swimmer will have an official time in that event for their next meet.
There are usually two warm up times, one for the older children and one for the younger children. The younger children usually swim in the morning, but the coach should be able to tell you the exact warm up time. Warm ups are important to acclimatize your child to the pool and to prepare their bodies to swim competition. They also give your swimmer a chance to practice starts and turns in an unfamiliar pool. Don't skip them.
Before and After Each Event
Your child needs last minute coaching just prior to swimming an event. They also need to face constructive criticism immediately following each event. Send the children to their coach prior to and after each event. He will give them a quick rundown of their events, explaining what they have done or are about to do. This is key to your child's improvement.
Parents on Deck - Where do I go?
Most pools have a "spectator" area in the pool, and a second area for swimmers and parents to hang out while they're waiting for their events (usually a gym). Some pools do not have gym, and swimmers and families are in the pool area the whole time. If you are not familiar with the pool, ask Coach Pete about the setup. Most families bring blankets and chairs for the waiting area, and just go to the pool spectator area when their child swims. The host team usually posts and/or announces event numbers, so be sure you find out what the system is for that meet. You'll need to remind your swimmer when their event is coming up. Feel free to cheer from the stands - your child will forever be grateful for your support. Be aware that the coach is in charge on deck. Most pools do not even allow parents in the immediate pool area.
At meets, each team will be required to provide a specific number of timers to help with the meet. Before each session starts, Tsunami parents need to make up a schedule for 1-2 hours timing shifts for that session. There is always a timer's meeting before the start of each session. (Listen for the announcement.) All timers (first one scheduled and relief timers also) should attend. The head timer will go over everything you need to know. Timing is easy and will help out the team and your child. You also get a great view of the events, and you won't get bored!! If everyone does their share, each timer will only work for approximately one hour per day. Please help out and do your part!
There is always a need for parent volunteers to who are willing to learn how to work as meet officials: Head Timers, Stroke & Turn Officials and Starters. Speak to Coach Pete about these opportunities.
What to bring
There are definitely some necessities that go with the sport of swimming. You will need:
You may also consider packing:
|Older blanket||Folding Chairs (these are a must for the "waiting" area)|
|Warm-up suits||Spare suits, caps, and goggles|
|Cash for concessions||Medication (asthma pumps)|
|Homework||Books, games, etc|
Most host teams have a concession table. Food choices vary greatly from meet to meet. You may want to pack basics in a cooler, especially water and Gatorade.