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Swim Meets 101

HELPFUL HINTS:

  • Bring your own chairs.  The pool’s furniture is largely used for meet purposes.  As required by the CSRC pool rules, chairs MAY NOT be set up before the pool closes for the swim meet.  Also, there simply isn’t room for large chairs and coolers, or for chairs that won’t actually be used during the meet.  Please carefully consider what you REALLY need.
  • We expect anywhere from 300-500 people at the pool for a meet.  As you can imagine, parking is always a problem.  Early birds get the best parking spaces.  We must, by law, leave one side of the road open so traffic may go in and out.
  • Bring several towels.  It’s nice to have a warm dry one after each event!  By the end of the meet it tends to get a little cool, so bring a sweatshirt or heavy t-shirt for your swimmer to wear between events and after the meet is over.
  • Our team area for home meets will be opposite the covered deck, to the left as you enter the pool area.   At other pools, just look for familiar faces to see which side of the pool you should be on.
  • Swim meets can run as late as 11pm, although a smooth running meet will usually finish by 10pm.  Bring something entertaining (a book, playing cards, portable games, MP3/iPod, etc.) to prevent boredom during down times.
  • There are two halves to every meet.   All events for 6 and Under are held in the first half.  Parents should check to make sure that their swimmer is NOT in a relay later in the meet, and that they have finished their volunteer shift before leaving.  After that, swimmers are free to leave.  However, it’s great for team spirit to support your teammates as much as possible (and, if we win a home meet and you stick around, you’ll get to push your coaches into the pool!)
  • Our Concession Stand will be in full swing serving hot dogs, nachos, pizza, chips, drinks, and lots of other great stuff! You won’t have to worry about eating before you come.   Coolers are welcome if you would like to bring snacks or drinks, but remember with 300-500 people attending space for such items is at a minimum.
  • Please make sure your children remain in the Cyclones team area during the entire meet.  The staging workers will make every effort to call swimmers for their event, but if they do not hear their name, they may miss their event, and their opportunity to swim in the meet.

AT THE SWIM MEETS:

Check-in: All swimmers and workers must check in at the designated check-in table. At home meets it will be just outside the pool gate. At away meets we will find a spot near our team area. We would like swimmers to check in 10 to 15 minutes prior to warm-up time. In all cases, if a swimmer has not checked in by meet start time, the swimmer will be scratched from the relay teams.

Heat Sheets: “Heat Sheets” or “Meet Programs” are available for purchase at each meet, usually for $1.00.  They contain a list of all the events and swimmers in order of event.  There are 84 events at each meet, with a varying number of heats in each event.  Having a program to follow is valuable in helping you know when and where your swimmer is swimming.  It also helps you to know who else is swimming from our team in each event so you can get to know and cheer for all of our swimmers.

For home meets, heat sheets are often available Thursday morning at practice, so be sure to bring a $1.00 if you find it helpful to have one early.

Warm-up : Home team warm-ups will be from 5:10-5:30 and visiting team warm-ups from 5:30-5:50, so please plan to have the swimmers at check-in by 5:00 for home meets and by 5:15 for away meets.  You need to arrive in plenty of time for your swimmer to get in the pool and get ready for the meet.

After the Meet

It is a matter of team pride to treat our pool and the pools we visit with respect.  Each swimmer should clean up well as they leave a swim meet.  Failure to do so could make our team unwelcome at Cricket Swim & Racquet’s pool or host pools.   Results will be posted at the event pool as they are made available.  Full results will be posted at our home pool on the day after the meet, as well as on our website.

Weather

In case of inclement weather, we will be at the pool with the other team's manager trying to decide what to do.   Please don’t expect a phone call prior to the meet canceling the meet.  We always make every attempt to get the meet in.   If it is just raining (no thunder or lightning), the meet will start as scheduled.  On occasion, a meet may begin, experience a weather delay, and then start up again.  We try to monitor the weather during the meet and do our best to make sure it can be safely run. If it does start thundering and lightning during the meet, we will ask you to return to your cars if you are parked nearby or seek shelter under the covered deck and wait for an announcement.   We will monitor the storm and if it looks like it will pass shortly, we will resume the meet.   If a meet must be postponed due to the weather, the make-up date will most likely be the following Saturday morning, but it varies from pool to pool, so you will be informed as soon as the information is available.

STAGING AT SWIM MEETS:

Getting your child up to the starting blocks is more involved than you may think! Preparing swimmers to race in the proper order is called “staging.”

How Staging Works

The area off to the left side of the pool near the deck is “Staging Area 1” and the chairs on the deck behind the starting blocks are “Staging Area 2.”  Swimmers move from Staging Area 1, to Staging Area 2, to the starting blocks.  Volunteer staging workers line swimmers up in Staging Area 1, and then move them through staging in their proper heats and lanes.

We stage swimmers 8 to 10 heats ahead of the heat that is next to swim.   Remember, one event can have several heats—so, at times we may be staging only a couple of EVENTS ahead.   Please make sure your children remain in the team area during the entire meet.  The bull pen workers will make every effort to call them for their event, but if you do not hear their name, they may miss their event and their opportunity to swim at the meet.

Watching the Sign

At our home pool, a flip sign near staging area 1 shows which event swimmers are being collected for.  Bring your swimmer to staging when you see their event number on the sign - usually about 8 heats in advance of their swim.  It is the swimmer’s (or the parent’s) responsibility to report to Staging Area 1 when the sign shows his or her event!   Staging workers are responsible for ALL swimmers, and are not able to hunt down missing swimmers.

Once in staging, swimmers are placed in order and taken to benches to sit on to keep them in the proper lane for their swim.  It is absolutely mandatory that parents and swimmers pay attention to which event and heat is being called to the bullpen and/or staging areas.  Swimmers must be quiet and attentive while in staging.  If you have any questions about the procedures, please don’t hesitate to ask a more experienced parent.

Be aware that staging may work differently when we are visiting other pools.  The event being staged may be announced via the public address system and/or display boards at the staging area.  However, we take our flip sign with us, and usually swimmers simply need to present themselves near the sign when their event number comes up.

SWIMMER IDENTIFICATION:

It’s important to mark your swimmer with personal and meet information.  This helps eliminate confusion and lets your swimmer be more independent during meets.  Be sure to:

Bring a highlighter and a permanent marker to each meet.

Buy a heat sheet, which lists all events and swimmers.

Following events on the heat sheet helps you keep track of the meet’s progress and cheer

for your team’s swimmers.

Write your swimmer’s name and age on his or her right shoulder.  This helps eliminate confusion in staging.   Also, when a swimmer gets out of the pool, timers are supposed to verify that they indeed have the correct name on their paper, and this helps to eliminate mistakes.

Go through the heat sheet and highlight all of your swimmer’s events.  Check the relay list and highlight the correct relay team on your heat sheet.

Then, mark your swimmer’s arm with a chart like this:

E S H L
13 F 1 2
25 BA 2 3
35 BU 1 2
55 BR 4 2

E = event #, S = stroke, H = heat, L = lane

For families new to swimming, if this seems like a bit much or confusing, don’t worry. It’s not as complicated as it looks!

RELAY TEAMS

Swimming relays can be the high point of a meet for many swimmers!   It's a chance to really feel part of a team and work together.   Because they're so much fun, everyone wants to be on the relay teams.  And, fortunately, the team can usually enter several relay teams in a meet.  Still, not everyone can swim on a relay in every meet—and it's easy to feel left out.   It can help to understand how the relay teams are formed for swim meets.

Relay teams are generated by the computer, based on times that swimmers have made in meets and trials.   The computer considers all possible combinations of swimmers who are available for a meet, and generates the TEAM that should be fastest for "A" team, the next fastest foursome for "B" team, and so on. The computer considers ONLY how to win the most points for the team.  It doesn't consider which swimmers like to swim together, who works hardest, or who attends the most practices.

This essentially objective process of forming teams means that relays frequently change, depending on performance throughout the season and who's available to swim any given week.  In addition, if swimmers become available for a meet that has been delayed or rained out, the relays will likely change as well.

Remember, all the relays are the team's relays, and they all matter.  Because of the way points are awarded in meets, every relay team can win points, or block the other team from winning points!

Finding Your Relay Team

Check the posted master list of relays.  A master list of relays will be posted near our team’s staging area.  This list will be the most accurate list, as we can update it if swimmers are unavailable and relays have to be changed or scratched.  THERE ARE OFTEN CHANGES TO RELAYS, and parents should check this list for changes as the relay event nears.

Assisting a Relay Team

On the posted master relay list, we will note a parent for each relay team of swimmers under 10 years old.   If you’re willing to help your child’s relay team, just write your name on the list, and see a staging worker for all the information you need.  When the relay event number is on the staging sign, the parent will assemble all four swimmers and report to staging.  The parent will help the relay team throughout the event—making sure swimmers are on the right side of the pool, and that they understand the order and which stroke they are swimming.

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