Swim Meet 101
Before each meet, we will email a "Meet Sheet" with complete meet details to the team. We will also post the Meet Sheet on the Tiger Sharks web site..
What To Bring
- Tiger Sharks team swimsuit (come dressed in suit and ready to warm up)
- Googles (+ extra pair if you have them)
- Tiger Sharks swim cap (+ an extra one in case your first one rips)
- Tiger Sharks team t-shirt
- Towels (On warm days, 1-2 towels per swimmer is sufficient. When it is cold or overcast, you may want to bring extra towels.) Mark your towels with your name.
- Sweatshirt, sweatpants
- Food and drinks
- Money for concessions (small bills are always appreciated at the snack bars)
- Sharpie pen (to write swimmer’s event/heat/lane assignments on arm)
- Blankets or chairs for sitting on grass
- Shade tents/EZ-Ups/umbrellas, hats, sunglasses
- Things to do between events (books, playing cards, music, games)
- Bring your snack bar contribution (if applicable).
- A good attitude!
- Your swimmer should not wear swimsuits, caps, or apparel (parkas excluded) from other swim teams.
- Leave expensive electronic games or anything you don’t want lost or stolen at home.
Parking at the Preston Village Pool on the morning of a meet can be difficult. Please be courteous and leave spaces near the Pool for our visiting team. You can unload your gear in front of the Pool and park a block or two away. Do not block our neighbors' driveways.
Refer to the Meet Sheet for any parking restriction at away meets or Champs.
Some meet jobs, such as set-up and clean-up, occur early before the meet or after the meet. Most other jobs during the meet are either first-half or second-half jobs. First half workers are to report to their positions at the designated time at the start of the meet. Second half jobs start at the at the start of the breaststroke; Please listen for announcements and report to your volunteer position on time. If you are working a first-half job, please do not leave your post until you have been relieved by your second-half counterpart.
You can manage your meet volunteer jobs on the Swim & Job Signups page. At some point, we lock the meet jobs database. After that, in order to change your meet jobs, you must send an email to: [email protected].
Space and Setup
Families can set up tents, EZ-ups, blankets, and chairs on any available grassy area. For the intrasquad meet we have the entire area at the pool. Please observe, however, for our home dual meets: we leave space for the away team on the baby pool side of the facility.
Similarly, when we are at an away meet, pay attention to the area reserved and/or marked area for our team. We are often very tight on space at swim meets. We try to ask families to be respectful and only take up space they will actually use. If you bring an EZ Up you should be prepared to welcome old and new friends to join you so there is room for everyone!
Swimmer Event, Lane, and Heat Assignments
There is no swimmer check-in. Swimmers should look for their event, heat and lane assignments posted at the venue. They will also be available via the SwimTopia app on your mobile device. Please bring a sharpie so you can write those assignments on your swimmers arm!
At approximately 5:30p.m., the parent volunteers check-in table is setup just inside the pool, or near our team space at away meets. The check-in volunteer will give you a name tag which has your volunteer job responsibilities printed on it.
Timers, recorders, judges, and table workers meet at about 5:45 p.m. prior to the meet to review important information. Listen for the announcement for you specific meeting time and location. Note, it can be difficult to hear announcements at crowded swim meets, so try to ask or look for the meetings to gather.
Clerk of the Course (CoC)
The Clerk of Course is is the "staging area" for swimmers, and is responsible for organizing and delivering the swimmers to the starting blocks. At Preston Village, the CoC is located behind the blocks. At away meets, look for similar portable benches to determine the location of the CoC.
Parents and Coaches are not allowed in the Clerk of the Course area. For the younger swimmers, they should sit in their designated area with a Kid Pusher volunteer who will help them to know where and when to report to the Clerk of the Course.
For the older swimmers, be sure to pay attention to the meet and listen for the Announcer to call out when certain event groups should "report to the Clerk of Course". It is ultimately the swimmer's responsibility to report to the Clerk on time, but the younger swimmers will have a Kid Pusher to help them throughout the meet.
The Clerk of the Course process typically is:
- Prior to heading to the CoC, ensure your swimmer has their cap and goggles on their heads.
- Upon arrival, the swimmers need to let the clerk of the course workers know their event, heat, and lane (they have sheets with the info, but good for the kids to try to remember or learn how to read what is written on their arms).
- The swimmers get placed in the benches according to their heat and lane assignments.
- As heats leave for the blocks, the swimmers move up to the next bench, and keep moving up after each event until it’s their turn to go to the blocks.
- The clerk of the course workers take the swimmers to the correct block.
At the end of the meet, please leave your area clean. Put away and stack lawn chairs. Pick up trash around you even if it's not yours.
When Are Swim Meets?
Swim meets are typically held on Tuesday evenings. Warm-ups begin at 5:00pm (home meets) or 5:30pm (away meets). Meets officially start at 6:00pm and usually conclude between within 3-4 hours. Each team is given time to warm up in the pool under the direction of the team coaches. The home team warms up first, followed by the visiting team.
The season begins with a "Intrasquad Meet" (usually the Tuesday the week before the first Dual Meet), followed by 6 "Dual Meets" during the season. There may also a "Bye Week" in which there is no swim meet. Typically this happens right before or after the July 4th holiday. The season concludes with our big "Champs" meet, where all clubs compete together.
What Is The Intrasquad Meet?
The Intrasquad Meet (or Practice Meet) is a chance for swimmers (and parents) to learn how meets run. The Practice Meet is run just like a Dual Meet with the exception of relays. All events will be timed, but there is only one team swimming … Preston Village. At the Practice Meet, swimmers are highly encouraged to swim all four strokes (Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke and Freestyle) as it is the only meet in which a swimmer is allowed to swim all four strokes. It is especially important for new families to participate in the Practice Meet to learn how to navigate a swim meet. Swimmers learn where to check for their heat/lane assignments, where to go before their race, when to get ready for their next race, etc. Parents learn about the different Meet Jobs (timers, runners, data table workers, etc).
What Are Dual Meets?
At a Dual Meet, each club competes against one of the other clubs in the league. Meets are held at either the Preston Village Pool or the other club's pool.
Swimmers must compete in at least two dual meets during the season to be eligible to swim at Champs, along with obtaining our Champs qualifying times in at least one event. The Practice Meet does not count as a dual meet.
At dual meets, swimmers are allowed to swim up to three individual events and up to two relays. The coach determines which swimmers will swim on the relay teams.
When Are Team Photos Taken? What Should I Bring?
The team photos is taken at the practice meet. We currently do not offer individual or sibling photos.
What is a DQ (Disqualification)?
- Stroke & Turn Judges from both teams watch the main events during the meet. Main events are the 1st heat of each event, and the only heat that can score points. The judges watch to make sure that swimmers are using the proper technique during their races. The Stroke & Turn Judges are parent volunteers with specialized training in TSA rules. Using Stroke & Turn Judges keeps the meet fair for all swimmers.
- At the intrasquad meet, S&T judges watch all heats
- Swimmers with incorrect stroke, kick, turn, pull down or finishing touch will be disqualified (DQ'd).
- This means their time and place does not count.
- Please let your kids know this happens to all swimmers and it's fine.
- For the very young swimmers (6U), the stroke and turn judges usually only DQ if it gives a "competitive advantage."
- If a swimmer is DQ'd, the coach will review the DQ slip at practice the following week and will be able to work with the swimmer after the meet to improve their technique.
- Parents should not approach Stroke & Turn Judges during the meet to question any DQ.
What is a False Start?
A false start is a movement by a swimmer before being signaled or otherwise permitted by the rules to start. If/When a false start occurs:
- The starter will initiate a recall signal, which is typically a series of loud beeps.
- If that happens, all swimmers should stop swimming immediately and go back to the blocks to start over again.
- If the swimmers miss the false start alarm, sometimes an older team member will dive in after them to stop them.
- If swimmers go too far down the lane, we may run an event out of order to give them a chance to rest before trying again.
When and Where are Scores Posted?
Periodically, usually not until after the first event, swimmer time results and meet scores are posted via the SwimTopia Mobile App during the meet. After the meet, results are available online on the team website, along with swimmer best time reports, etc.
What is a Scoring Table?
The Scoring Table at Preston Village near the pump room and is where the Volunteer Table Workers and Data Managers are verifying times, processing DQs, scoring results and processing ribbons. Swimmers and parents not working at the Scoring Table are discouraged from visiting or interfering with the process.
How does a Swimmer Earn Ribbons?
Ribbons are awarded following the TSA rules:
- The awards for individual main events shall be as follows:
- First Place: a blue first place ribbon
- Second Place: a red second place ribbon
- Third Place: a white third place ribbon
- Fourth Place: a yellow fourth place ribbon
- Fifth Place: a light blue fifth place ribbon
- Sixth Place: a pink sixth place ribbon
- The awards for individual heat events shall be as follows:
- First Place: a green (or color not used for main event) heat winner ribbon.
- All other places: an orange (or color not used for main event) participant ribbon.
- First place relay finishers will be awarded blue first place ribbons for each relay team member. Subsequent finishers up to and including sixth place will be awarded appropriately colored place ribbons for each team member.
- In pools where only four lanes are used, ribbon awards will be reduced to four places.
- Tied swimmers shall each receive the same color place ribbon.
- If only one club has a swimmer or relay team for a main event, that event must still take place and be successfully completed for ribbons to be awarded.
During the week following a swim meet, ribbons are placed in file folders (the "Ribbons Box") labeled by age-group and name, usually in the pool's kitchen/lifeguard room. When celebrating swimmer accomplishments please remember the team philosophy: we place the highest priority on each swimmer’s personal best, fair sportsmanship and good team conduct.
What if a Swimmer Misses an Event?
Even with the Kid Pushers and the Clerk of the Course, kids sometimes miss events. If this happens and their specific event is still in progress, we may be able to slot them into a later heat, so kids should come immediately to the clerk of the course. If they cannot be slotted into a later heat, please let them know these things happen and it’s OK. They can still swim in their other events.
What do the Swimmers do Between Events?
Between events, have a small snack (concessions is open), get warm (bring extra towels and sweats or pajama-style pants). Bring playing cards or group-games for between events. Pay attention to meet progression and announcements for time to check-in for next event. But last, and not least, cheer and have fun!
What do I Write on their Arm?
What is the Etiquette for Swimmers?
Here are a few pointers for showing good sportsmanship and etiquette at swim meets:
- Enthusiastically cheer for your team mates before and during events, but everyone must be quiet at the start so everyone can hear the announcer and starting beep.
- Swimmers should wait in the pool until ALL swimmers finish the race. They do not jump out when they are done.
- They should shake hands with the swimmers in the lanes next to them and say good job.
- In the clerk of the course, be kind to all swimmers both home and away. We discourage smack talk, even if in jest, sometimes it is taken the wrong way.
- Tell your kids to thank the coaches on their way home.
What Is Champs?
Champs is our championship meet at which all TSA teams participate. It is held at a large venue and is often a lengthy day but a great deal of fun. Swimmers swim three strokes each. Champs attendees must meet the Champs Qualifying requirements, but it is an end of season event not to be missed if your swimmer is eligible!