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Swim Meet 101

Meet Instructions: Below are the general rules and happenings for a season where we have tri-meets in person. In the 2020 season there will be several exceptions to this information. 

Please note the following information specific for the 2020 GDSA swim season:

1. Only 1 adult per family is allowed to attend a swim meet.

2. All swim meets will be at Crestwood with only Crestwood swimmers competing at this location. Other GDSA teams will be competing from their home pools on the same day. Times will be collected and official meet results will be shared at our home pools.

3. All adults should practice social distancing (minimally 6 feet) during swim meets. At Crestwood, this means adults will be standing behind the fence nearest the concession stand. This will allow our meet official access to the pool deck to judge our events fairly while maintaining a safe distance from the adults cheering for their swimmers. Please give other family members a chance to cheer from this location behind the fence and move away from the fence when your children aren't swimming.

4. Adults volunteering at swim meets are required to wear face masks per GDSA requirement (with the exception of the starter if using a whistle as a starting device).

5. Swimmers should adhere to the marks behind the blocks and wait six feet away from the starting blocks until they are called to the blocks by the starter. One of the coaches will be helping get the kids lined up for their events while maintaining social distancing. Please encourage your child to pay attention to this coach closely during the meet and alert the coach if they need to leave (take a bathroom break) so that the meet may flow smoothly.

6. Other safety measures will be explained by our coaches to the kids if necessary. Please encourage your children to listen to their coaches and follow our safety regulations so we may all enjoy a safe swim season.

7. Please pay attention to your email this summer as important information will be shared frequently.

ARRIVAL TIME: Coaches will remind their swimmers of arrival time. This season meets will be run during practice times.

WHAT TO BRING:  Caps, goggles (an extra pair is a good idea), water bottle, snacks, towels.

FOOD AND REFRESHMENTS: The concession stand will not be open during swim meets.

WHAT YOUR SWIMMER SHOULD KNOW: First and foremost have fun! Do their best and enjoy the meet. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE leave the coaching to our amazing coaches and just encourage your swimmers. If you are volunteering and leaving your swimmer, especially our younger swimmers, please make sure they know where all their "stuff" is: snacks, goggles,etc. Please remind your swimmer(s)  to listen for his/her name to be called so they show up for their event on time.

EVENTS: Usually at practice the day before the meet your swimmer will be told what races ("events") he or she will be in. Most kids are in 1-2 events, depending on the number of swimmers we have in their age group. The maximum is 5 events per swimmer. Many swimmers use sharpie marker on their hand or forearm to remember which races and lanes they will be in (and heat number if needed). Parents will be able to see their swimmer's events through our website or Swimtopia mobile app.

The events are numbered 1-74. The odd numbered races are girls and the even numbered races are boys.


groups for racing are: “6 and under”, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, and 15-18.

EVENT DESCRIPTIONS Most races are one swimmer performing a single stroke the whole distance, but the exceptions are:

  • Medley Relay: 4 team members each swim a leg of the relay - each swimmer does a different stroke – Back, Breast, Fly, Free, in that order.
  • Individual Medley (IM): One swimmer performs 4 strokes – Fly, Back, Breast, Free – in that order.
  • Freestyle Relay: 4 team members each swim a leg of the relay - each swims the freestyle stroke.
  • Events 1-10 Medley Relay
  • Events 11-12 42 Feet 6-year olds and under - freestyle 1/2 pool length to “catcher” in the pool with them (2 Heats Plus Exhibition Heats)
  • Events 13-20 IndividualMedley
  • Events 21-30 Breast (2 Heats)
  • Events 31-40 Fly (2 Heats)
  • Events 41-52 Free (2 Heats)
  • Events 53-64 Back(2 Heats)
  • Events 65-74 Freestyle Relay

WHERE TO STAND FOR RELAYS -The length of the relay race determines if all the relay members lineup together at the “blocks” (the boards they dive off of) or if some of the relay members have to be at the other end of the pool.

The 11 and up kids are in relays that require the swimmers to swim to one end and swim back, so everyone lines up at the blocks. The 10 and under relay teams split up with racers 1 and 3 at the starting blocks and racers 2 and 4 on the opposite end of the pool. That’s because the younger swimmers only swim across the pool (25 m) before the next swimmer jumps in to continue.

LANES - There are usually three teams at a regular season meet. There are six lanes in the pool, and each team gets two lanes that they use for the entire meet. Our individual events will be swam in lane two and lane five. Our relay events will be swam in lane 1 and 2 and lane 5 and 6. Coaches will explain to the kids how these relays will work this year to maintain social distancing.

EVENT BOARD - We will not use an event board this season. Please make sure your child is paying attention to the coach calling them for their events.

Arm Marking

Use the Heat Sheet to find and highlight your child's events. Mark the arm as illustrated below in the picture in the order of Event/Heat/Lane.

Write on clean dry skin with no sunscreen. Please do not apply sunscreen until after swimmers have warmed up.

Heat Sheets will be found in the Meet Book provided via email on Friday afternoon.

Example of Arm Marking

Write Clearly and Legibly on your child's LEFT arm as illustrated in the picture.

Stroke: If you'd like to note the stroke do so after the lane designation.
- FR = Freestyle
- BA = Back Stroke
- BR = Breast Stroke
- FLY = Butterfly
- IM = Individual Medley
- FRR = Free Relay (All swimmers swim freestyle)
- MR = Medley Relay (Each swimmer swims a different stroke: 1st = back, 2nd=breast, 3rd=fly, 4th=free)

Relay Marking: This will designate the relay leg the child is swimming.
- 1/1 = Lane 1, first relay leg
- 4/2 = Lane 4, 2nd relay leg **If the Medley Relay this will be Breast Stroke

AFTER-MEET PARTY - The team usually has a "party" after the meet. For home meets, everyone helps clean up our pool area (chairs put back, etc.) and then there is a snack – For away meets, a restaurant is chosen for everyone to meet.

T-SHIRTS: Wear your team shirt to meets to share your team spirit. Please label the tag of the shirt with your child's name so they aren't lost.

DISQUALIFIED: Swimmers will be DQ'd (disqualified) for improper strokes. If your child is DQ'd please assure your swimmer that it is okay and how proud you are of them for trying. The coaches do get a list of what the swimmer was DQ'd for and they will go over with the swimmers in practice!

Please feel free to ask any parent who has been on the team before if you have any questions. We are a friendly group. Our coaches and our parent board will also be able to answer questions you might have at the meet. Most importantly HAVE FUN!

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