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Parent Information

What are the requirements to join the team?

Swimmers must be comfortable swimming in deep water, and be able to swim one length each of freestyle and backstroke.

How long do meets last? 

Most YMCA meets last around 3 hours, but time varies based on team sizes.

What should I bring to the meet?

Swimmers should remember to bring the following:

  • Swim suit, preferably the team suit
  • Goggles (good idea to bring a back-up pair as well)
  • Swim cap (back up pair is recommended)
  • 2 Towels (one for use during the meet and one for after the meet)
  • Water bottle- Swimmers get thirsty!
  • Dry clothes to change into after the meet
  • Sharpie to mark up their arms – and possibly draw some team spirit on themselves!

Parents will want to bring the following:

  • Snacks – meets almost always have concession stands, and most swim teams rely on concessions for fundraising, but healthy option snacks are helpful
  • Cash, preferably smaller bills – parents will need cash to purchase programs and concessions
  • Pen or highlighter to mark when your swimmers event, heat, and lane, as well as to mark the swimmer’s results time
  • Cushion for the bleachers
  • Camera/Video Recorder
  • Lots of positive energy and patience – the events should be FUN!

How do meets work?

The swim meet is divided into multiple events. Each events are then divided into heats, with swimmers assigned to a lane, based on their seed times.

  • An "event" at a swim meet consists of a stroke, a distance, age group, and sometimes, a gender. For instance, the 8 and under 25-yard freestyle, 9-10 50-yard freestyle, 11-12 50-yard freestyle, and 13-14 50-yard butterfly are four separate events.
    • A 25-yard race is one length of the pool, and a 50-yard race is 2 lengths, and so forth.
  • Each heat is structured with the swimmers with the fastest seed times swimming last. Within each heat, the swimmer with the fastest seed time is assigned a middle lane.

All competition is age-group competition which means that children swim against others of the same age and gender. Although the heats may be mixed gender, they will be scored according to their gender. Each swimmer can participate in two point-earning events, plus a relay.

  • Swimmers may participate in an event as a non point-earning individual swimmers; they will be indicated by an "X" in the meet program. This is at the coach’s discretion.

What are relays and IM? 

Freestyle Relay: Four swimmers each swim freestyle. The distance differs by age group.

Medley Relay: Four swimmers participate, each of whom swims a different stroke. The strokes are always in this order: 1. Backstroke, 2. Breaststroke, 3. Butterfly, 4. Freestyle.

IM (individual medley): One swimmer swims all four strokes in one race. The IM order is different from the medley relay order: 1. Butterfly, 2. Backstroke, 3. Breaststroke, 4. Freestyle.

How will my swimmer know what event, heat, and lane they are swimming?

Once available, the program or schedule of events, heats, and lanes will be posted. The swimmers will mark their event, heat, and lane on their arms using a Sharpie marker. Sometimes the swim meet events, heats, and lanes are only available at the last minute. Someone on the deck will assist newer and younger swimmers with this activity.

The grid on the swimmer’s arm will look like this:

How will parents know when their child is swimming?

Programs with all events, heats, and lane assignments will be for sale prior to the start of the meet. They are typically $1 or $2. The programs are often not ready until the last minute, due to last minute changes and limited printing abilities at the local YMCA.

When will official results be available?

Official results will be posted to the team website, once they are available. Typically, this is within a few days of the event.

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