Swim Meet 101
Before each meet, we will email a "Meet Sheet" with complete meet details to the all-dolphins e-mail list. We will also post the Meet Sheet on the Dolphins web site and on the team bulletin board at the pool.
What To Bring
- Dolphins team swimsuit (come dressed in suit and ready to warm up)
- Googles (+ extra pair if you have them)
- Dolphins swim cap (+ an extra one in case your first one rips)
- Dolphins 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 Laurelwood on the morning of a meet can be difficult. Please be courteous and leave spaces near the Club for our visiting team. You can unload your gear in front of the Club 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 Boys 50 yard breaststroke (Event #31); approx 10:45 a.m. 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.
Swim team families are required to work both a first half job and a second half job at the practice meet; this is because there is no opposing team to help fill the jobs. During the regular season, swim team families must work five additional meet jobs and a Champs job. Families may spread out meet jobs however they wish (all first half jobs, all second half jobs, a combination of both). There are more jobs to fill at home meets than there are at away meets.
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@example.com.
Space and Setup
Families can set up tents, EZ-ups, blankets, and chairs on any available grassy area. For the practice meet we have the entire grassy area at the Cabana Club. Please observe, however, for our home dual meets: there will be a dividing rope along the grass near the shallow end of the pool, designating the south grass area as reserved for the visiting team.
Similarly, when we are at an away meet, pay attention to the area reserved and/or marked for Laurelwood. 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 7:30a.m., the parent volunteers check-in table is setup just inside the Cabana Club, or near our team space at away meets. The volunteer coordinator will give you a name tag which has your volunteer job responsibilities printed on it.
Timers, recorders, judges, and table workers meet at about 8:45 a.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.
At about 8:50 a.m., the older swimmers and Coaches gather together all the swimmers for a team cheer led by the seniors. It will not be difficult to hear this, and it will be crazy fun. Have your cameras handy.
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 Laurelwood the CoC is located under the awnings in front of the office window. At away meets, look for similar portable benches to determine the location of the CoC.
Listen for the Announcer to call out when certain event groups should "report to the Clerk of Course". Please help younger swimmers report to the Clerk of the Course at the right time; their arms are marked with Sharpie pens for the events in which they are participating. It is ultimately the swimmer's responsibility to report to the Clerk on time.
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.
- Our Laurelwood Coaches are typically also behind to blocks to also help the swimmers, and provide any coaching guidance or reminders prior to their race.
Parents do not need to stay with their kids at Clerk of Course (swimmers will be with their friends and will have Clerk of Course workers to get the kids into their lanes).
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 Saturday mornings. Warm-ups begin at 7:40am (home meets) or 8:20am (away meets). Meets officially start at 9:00am and usually conclude between 12-1:00pm. 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 "Practice Meet" (usually the weekend before Memorial Day), followed by five "Dual Meets" during the season. There is 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 six clubs compete together.
What Is The Practice Meet?
The Practice Meet is a chance for swimmers (and parents) to learn how meets run. The Practice Meet is run just like a Dual Meet (all events will be timed), but there is only one team swimming … Laurelwood. 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 Parent 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 Laurelwood 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. The Practice Meet does not count as a dual meet.
At dual meets, swimmers are allowed to swim three individual events and one relay. The coach determines which swimmers will swim on the relay teams.
When Are Team Photos Taken? What Should I Bring?
Team photos are taken at the practice meet. At approximately 6:45 a.m., swimmers begin lining up inside the Cabana Club for individual and sibling photos; at approximately 7:45 a.m., a team photo is taken on risers. Bring your photo envelope and a checkbook or cash to order individual and/or team photos. A parent volunteer will later distribute the photographs when available.
What is a DQ (Disqualification)?
- Stroke & Turn Judges from both teams watch every heat during the meet. 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 USA Swimming and JSSL rules.Using Stroke & Turn Judges keeps the meet fair for all swimmers.
- 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.
Where do I bring my Snack Bar Contribution?
The team’s biggest fundraiser, the Dolphin Snack Shack is home to breakfast burritos, the famous Tri-Tip BBQ sandwich, snow cones and many other treats and healthy snacks.
Please bring any snack bar contribution to the Snack Shack when you arrive, or when it is being set up. The Snack Shack is located south of the BBQ Area and opens at approximately 8:00 a.m.
When and Where are Scores Posted?
Periodically, usually not until after the first event, swimmer time results and meet scores are posted in a results area at each venue. Results are also available 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 Laurelwood is in the Office and is where the Volunteer Table Workers and Data Managers are verifying times, processing DQs, printing 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 at every swim meet except the Practice Meet. Every swimmer should receive at least one ribbon, which are awarded for:
- Personal Best: Personal Best ribbons are awarded every time a swimmer beats one of his/her own fastest swim times during a Dual Meet or at Champs.
- Place Winners: Place ribbons (1st-6th) are awarded to swimmers finishing with the six fastest times overall in each event.
- Heat Winners: Swimmers not placing 1st-6th, but winning their respective heats.
- Participant: swimmers competing in the meet which did not achieve any of the above ribbons
During the week following a swim meet, ribbons are placed in file folders (the "Ribbons Box") labeled by age-group and name, usually near the girl’s bathroom. 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 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 event board 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 six JSSL swim 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. More detailed Champs information is provided toward the end of the season but it is an even not to be missed!