Swim meets are a great experience! Listed below are some very in-depth guidelines geared to help you through your first couple of swim meets. It may seem a little overwhelming, but we have tried to be as specific and as detailed as possible.
YMCA competition is divided into age groups. A swimmer's group or class is determined by his or her age on December 1st of each year.
Swimmers who are 6 - 8 years old on December 1st are in Class E.
Swimmers who are 9 - 10 years old on December 1st are in Class D.
Swimmers who are 11 -12 years old on December 1st are in Class C.
Swimmers who are 13 -14 years old on December 1st are in Class B.
Swimmers who are 15 -18 years old on December 1st are in Class A.
Our team competes in the Eastern Massachusetts YMCA Swim League. We swim 5 - 6 dual meets in our season as well as other invitational swim meets. Dual meets will start in the middle of November and they will end in the middle of January. Meets are either home or away. By league rules a swimmer cannot swim in more than two individual events and one relay or one individual event and two relays. The coaching staff creates the lineup based on ability and on attendance records.
What to take to a meet:
Once you have attended one or two meets, it will all become routine. Please do not hesitate to ask any questions either from the coaches or the other parents. Meets are a lot of fun for the swimmers. They get to visit with friends, play games, and meet kids from other teams. They also get to race and see how much they have improved from all their hard work at practice.
- Most important: Swim suit, PLYP cap, and goggles. It always good to bring a spare pair of goggles.
- Towels: Swim meets are long and your swimmer will be there for a while...pack two or three towels.
- Something to sit on such as a sleeping bag, old blanket, or anything comfortable. They will be on it a lot of the time.
- Sweat suits: Bring one. You may want to bring two in case the first suit gets wet and soggy.
- T-shirts: Two or three for the same reason as above.
- Games: Travel games, coloring books, books, gameboys, walkmans, homework, anything to help pass the time.
- Food: Bring an insulated lunch box. The meet sites usually have a snack bar but it is mostly junk food. Pack your insulated lunch box with drinks (juice boxes, water, Gatorade) and snacks (granola bars, go-gurts, cereal, jello, crackers, sandwiches, bagels).
Special note to parents: The pool area is usually very hot. Therefore, dress appropriately. It makes for a long day if you hot and uncomfortable at a meet. The time will pass slowly!
Before the meet starts:
- Arrive at the pool at least 15 minutes before the scheduled warm-up begins. This time is listed in the meet schedule section.
- Upon arrival, find a place to put your swimmer's towels, swim bag, and/or sleeping bag. Look for the team banner. The team usually will sit together. Look for familiar faces or the team banner.
- Find the check-in place and check the swimmer in either with the coach, parent, or older swimmer in charge. Some meets require you to check in at specific table.
- Once checked in, write the event number on your swimmer's hand in ink. This will help your swimmer to remember the events he/she needs to swim and what numbers to be listening for.
- Swimmers now get their caps and goggles and prepare for warm-up. It is very important for swimmers to warm-up with their team. Swimmers' bodies are just like cars on a cold day, they need to get the engine warmed up before they can go all out.
- After warm-ups, your swimmer will go back to the team's area to wait for his/her events. This is a good time to make sure your swimmer goes to the bathroom, gets a drink or snack, and just settle in. (Make sure the coach or the parent supervisor knows where to find the swimmer at all times.)
- Meets generally start 10-15 minutes after the warm-ups are complete.
The above information is based on a great website USA Swimming - 101. We modified some of the information as it applies to our team. Please visit this website for further information on the sport of competitive swimming.
- It is important for every swimmer to know what event number he/she is swimming. (That's why putting the events on his/her hand is an awesome idea.) The swimmer may swim right after warm-ups or he/she may have to wait awhile.
- The coaches and/or parent supervisor will gather the swimmers for their events. In most cases, girls are odd events numbers and boys are even event numbers.
- The swimmer swims his/her race.
- After each swim, the swimmer should ask the timers for his/her time and then he/she should tell the coach the time.