SWIM MEET 101
Who Can Compete?Any of our swimmers in the novice, age group, pre-senior or senior groups are welcome to compete at swim meets. The shortest events are 50 yards, so they are going to need to be able to swim a full lap (down & back) without stopping or touching the bottom of the pool.
What if my swimmer does not want to compete?We do not force anyone to compete. Each swimmer is ready at their own time, and some just do not have the interest. That is fine. We coach everyone the same way, and they decide if competition is right for them, when & how often. We will encourage everyone to compete, but there are no consequences if they choose not to. This helps us know if we can submit our entries earlier - which is a good thing to be sure we get accepted into the meet.
Where do I get information about the meet?Each meet has an information packet attached to the event page. PLEASE read these! They lay out all the information you need to know about that specific meet. Location, fees, approximate timeline, sessions, order of events, maximum entries, etc. It is very important to read this so you know what you will be charged for attending the meet.
Why is our team entry deadline earlier than the deadline posted in the meet information?Entries for the meets are accepted until the meet is full and closed completely 10 days before the first day of the meet. For this reason, on the meets we anticipate will fill fast, we need to submit our entries as early as possible or we risk not being accepted into the meet.
Why don't they give specific times?The timeframe of a swim meet is based on how many swimmers are competing in the meet, which is not firm until entries close 10 days before the meet. The morning session start time gets set, and that is about all the guarantees that can be made. The afternoon session starts when the morning session finishes.
For instance, the morning session starts at 7am with warm-ups and the meet starts at 8am. If the entries are low and it will only take 2 hours to complete the morning session, the afternoon warm ups will start at 10am with the meet starting at 11am. BUT, if the morning session is big and lasts 4 hours, the afternoon warm-ups start at noon and meet starts at 1pm. And no one knows until entries are all in.
How to decline or accept attending a swim meet… (both are equally important)Information specific to our new Gems Up site is coming
I don't know what my swimmer should swim…That is fine! Coach will select the appropriate events for your swimmer
We can't attend both days…No problem! You only have to sign up for the days you can make it. Make a note for coach to select events and can only make a specific day, please indicate that as well.
What about relays?If there are enough swimmers, coach will try to create relay teams. This is an additional fee, usually the same cost as an individual swim (i.e. the meet info says relays are $20. This is divided by 4, and each person in the relay pays $5). If you do not want your swimmer on a relay team, this needs to be indicated in the notes on the event page.
**If you get signed up for a relay, please make every effort to be at the meet. The other people on the relay team are counting on you and many times we do not have an alternate swimmer available to fill in.
We signed up to swim, and something came up so now we can't make it…If you realize this before our team entry deadline, we can remove your swimmer. Once the deadline has passed, we are responsible for payment of all entries. So even if your swimmer does not swim, you must still pay the whole amount due.
How do we pay?Information specific to our new Gems Up site is coming
When will we get a timeline and details?Once the entry deadline has passed, the host team gets started organizing the meet. This process takes time. Once everything is in place, they will email Coach Michael or myself timeline details and we will distribute it to the team ASAP. This usually occurs around the Tuesday or Wednesday right before the meet.
Getting to the meet…Each family is responsible for transportation to and from the meets. Some families choose to carpool together. That gets worked out among yourselves, not through the coaches or Brenda.
What should my swimmer bring?
- Your swim suit!
- Goggles & back-up goggles in case one set breaks
- A swim cap & a back-up
- Two towels - one to dry off between events and one for after the meet
- Comfortable sweatshirt & sweatpants to wear between events. Keep those muscles as warm as possible!
- Water or sport drink & healthy snacks (fruit, bagel, nuts, etc. - NO candy please!)
- Card games, a book, etc. - something to do in large gaps
- TEAM SPIRIT!!
The pool decks tend to get crowded. Swimmers should only bring their water, towel & sweats on deck. The rest should stay with a parent. Most meets have a "camping" area for families to hang out between events. Bring a chair, blanket, etc. to get comfy.
What to expect at the meet…Get there early. Parking can be crazy. Give yourself time to find the locker rooms and get changed. ONLY SWIMMERS are allowed on the pool deck & in the locker rooms. No parents. This is a USA Swimming rule. When out of the locker room, the swimmer should look for one of the coaches and/or teammates on the pool deck. The team sits together on the deck. Swimmers should be on the pool deck about 10 minutes before the warm-ups are to start.
If there are large gaps (45 minutes or more) between events, swimmers are allowed to come out to their family. You are responsible for following along to make sure your swimmer is back on the pool deck well before their event. The coach cannot leave the pool deck to find swimmers. If your swimmer misses their event, they may not be able to swim it at all.
Once your swimmer is done with their events, they are allowed to leave. Please make sure they let the coach know they are leaving with their parent so we know they have gone home.
PLEASE have them eat healthy snacks and foods during the meet. Big meals and sugary treats will not be good for their body.
Swimmers can cheer for your teammates at the end of the pool during their swims.
Do I have to be at warm-ups?YES! And please do not be late. Warm-ups are very important, even if their first event is not for a while after warm-ups.
How do I follow along?Programs are available. Some meets include this fee in the registration fee and then email a program in advance. Some sell them at the door. (There are generally no admission fees). These are helpful to know what heat and lane your swimmer will be in.
What heat??!!Each event (i.e. the 100 Free) is broken down into multiple swims depending on how many kids sign up for it. Each swim of an event is called a "Heat". Generally, the slowest swimmers swim in the early heats and the faster swimmers swim in the later heats. Sometimes there is only one heat, other events have many.
My swimmer is getting DQed. Is that normal?Swimmers get disqualified (DQed). New swimmers get DQed a lot usually. It is normal. As they are learning the starts, turns & strokes and making them "legal" - they will DQ for doing something wrong. These are great learning lessons. Please help them understand it is ok so they don't get down on themselves. If a DQ is received, the time does not count for personal bests or entering other meets.
Results…The host team will have an area where results are posted. Some meets do awards. The meet info packet will describe what, if any, awards are given out.
NT, Bronzer, Silver, Gold, Champ, etc - WHAT?!?!These are categories of time standards. NT means no time. Either they have not swam the event in an official meet before, or if they have and got DQed, they still do not have a time. Bronze is the next level standard, the next fastest is Silver, and so on. There is a link on our website under Meet/Event for Time Standards. This takes you to the current MN Swimming time standards page. The SCY (Short Course Yards) Standards are the ones we go by most of the year. This shows you what time they need to achieve to make the next cut in each event and age group.
My swimmer is "aging up." What does that mean?Aging up means your swimmer is moving into a new time standard bracket. So if your swimmer is 10, on their 11th birthday they will "age up." This simply means new events may now be available to them to swim, and some events may no longer be available to swim. And the times they need to achieve for a Bronze time, Silver time, etc are harder. They do not lose the personal best times they have. But if they had a Silver time as a 10-11 year old, as a 12-13 year old, it may only be a Bronze time.
Thanks for reading up!Brenda K. Derks
- This group is for new and inexperienced swimmers who are not quite ready for full lengths of the pool training and need to work on the basics of competitive swimming and getting stronger in the water. Swimmers in this group do primarily 10-15 yard swims during practice while focusing on learning the strokes and building comfort in the water. Practices are 45 minutes long 3 days a week. Please see more information on our Swim Lessons Page.
- The Novice group is for our new and inexperienced swimmers. This group is where most of our swimmers start, and may spend 3-5 sessions in this group. Swimmers should be able to swim the length of the pool on their own unassisted as coaches are not in-water. Practices are one hour each. Our goal in this group is to focus on the basics of each stroke while maintaining a fun and enjoyable atmosphere for all swimmers. Swimmers in this group do primarily 25’s and 50’s during practice and less than 1000 yards in a total practice. We would like to see novice swimmers 3-4 times a week.
- This group is for our athletes who are more experienced swimmers but still need to focus primarily on stroke development and learning the fundamentals of each stroke, as well as starts and turns. Age Group is often our biggest group and also has the biggest range in skills for those in the group. Swimmers may spend 4-8 sessions in this group. Practices are 75minutes each. This group is the bridge between stroke development and detailed workouts, swimmers in this group primarily do 50’s and 100’s during practice and average 1400-1700 yards in a total practice. We would like to see age group swimmers 3-4 times a week.
- Pre-Senior is for those athletes that are ready to handle an increased level of intensity in a practice, but who are still focused on stroke development. This group is the bridge between fully focused stroke development and intense competitive practices. This group practices for one and a half hours each practice. Part of the time is spent on stroke development, and the remainder is on more detailed workouts to build their strength and endurance. Swimmers may spend 4-8 sessions in this group. This group varies in workout distance and intensity between 2500-4000 yards. We would like to see pre-senior swimmers 4-5 times a week.
- The Senior group is the most challenging group and is for our most experienced swimmers. This group is designed to focus on the competitive aspect of the sport and to build overall fitness and competitive edge. This group has a two-hour practice that averages between 4500-6500 yards. We would like to see senior swimmers 4-5 times a week.