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Swim Meet 101

What should a swimmer expect the day of the meet?

  • Arrive on time for warm-up: The coach will email the meet warm up and start times. They are also posted in the Meets and Events section of the website.  Families sit together at the swim meets. This is a great way to get to know the families and swimmers.
  • Check-in with the coaches when you get to the meet.
  • Warm-up with your teammates: Coaches will get the swimmers warmed up before the start of the meet. After warm-ups, your swimmer should dry off and keep warm.
  • Swimmers should remain in the team area during the meet. If a swimmer needs to leave the team area for any reason, the swimmer should inform one of the coaches before leaving. We do not want any swimmers to miss the check-in time for their event.

What should a parent expect the day of the meet?

  • Parents, siblings, relatives, friends, etc., are all encouraged to volunteer at and watch the meets. Cheering is welcome, but spectators need to be careful to be quiet once “Quiet for the start” is announced so that swimmers can hear the starting equipment. Parents who are helping with officiating, such as timers, are not supposed to cheer – this is according to league rules, so that all officials can concentrate on officiating in a neutral manner.
  • The deck area around the pool and at the ends of the pool needs to be left clear for officials working the meet. Please do not stand at the end of the lanes to cheer your swimmer, or allow younger siblings to run up and down the side of the pool, since officials need a clean line of sight along the pool sides and pool ends to fairly judge the meet.
  • Please do not use flash photography during the meet, since the flash may be confused with the flash of the starting equipment. Cell phone ringers must be turned off, because they may be confused with the sound of the starting equipment.

Does a parent need to attend the meet with the swimmer?

Please be aware that the swim team is not responsible for supervising children at meets. If parents cannot attend a meet, they must make arrangements for another adult to supervise the child.

What should a swimmer bring to the swim meets?

  • Swim cap: It helps to "dust" the inside of the cap after it's dried, with baby powder or baby cornstarch. This helps preserve the cap and makes it easier to put on.
  • Swim suit: You probably want to have your child come in their swimsuit so you don't have to worry about getting them changed.
  • Goggles: It is always a good plan to bring at least 2 pairs so that you have a backup in case one pair breaks or gets lost.
  • Warm clothes: Sweatshirts and pants to wear over your swim suit between events. Bring one or two if possible. Meets go on, despite occasionally chilly weather & rain, and evenings can get very cold in a soggy sweatshirt.
  • T-shirt, sunscreen and insect repellent.
  • A few towels so that you can dry off after warm-ups and each event.
  • Games: Anything to pass the time like travel games, coloring books, books, cards. Avoid things like Frisbees, balls...there really is not a lot of space at some swim clubs and it's a good idea to encourage your swimmer to rest a bit in between events. Do NOT bring anything of value...we would hate to have anything "walk off" and ruin your swimmer’s day!
  • Water & Snacks: Granola bars, fruits, yogurts, dry cereal, sandwiches, fruit rollups. bagels, cereal - anything high in carbs but no sugars
  • A little money for snacks.
  • Good sportsmanship!

What are the Age Group Categories?

All MCSL meets on Saturdays/Sundays and Wednesday night meets are divided by gender into races for each stroke in the following age groups: 8 and under; 9 and 10; 11 and 12; 13 and 14; and 15 to 18.

What is the ‘cut-off’ date for a swimmer’s age?

A swimmer competes at the age that they are as of June 1 of this year. (For example, if a swimmer turns 9 on June 2 or after, he or she will compete as an 8 year-old throughout the MCSL season.)

How can I see my swimmer’s meet results?

Log on to your Swimtopia account. Click “My Meet Results” and select your swimmer. The “POS” column indicated placement in a particular meet.

Can my child leave the meet after his/her events are completed?

We would love for everyone to stay for the duration of the meet to cheer on their teammates. For the Saturday meets ("A Meets"), your child may be asked to swim in a relay. If you have to leave, make sure you let the coaches know.

Can a swim meet be "rained out"?

Swim meets are not postponed by rain, only by thunder and lightning. Even if it is raining you should show up at a meet until it is called because it may only be delayed. If it begins to thunder and lightning during the meet, the meet may be delayed up to 1 hour after the last thunder was heard. If it does not appear that it will blow over, the meet may be postponed to another mutually agreeable time for both teams. 

Is my swimmer expected to go to every meet?
Although it is not required, coaches will encourage swimmers to swim in the meets they are qualified to swim. If your swimmer is nervous about swimming in a meet or unsure whether he/she is ready to swim in a meet, you should talk to one of the coaches. Of course, swimmers are encouraged to attend and cheer on the team regardless of whether he/she is swimming. For swimmers to recognize their improvement, they will benefit from swimming in a weekly meet (either an A Meet or B Meet).

What does it mean to be disqualified (DQs)?

In any MCSL meet, any swimmer who performs an illegal stroke or turn will be disqualified from the event. The coaches will inform the swimmer of the reason for the disqualification and work with the swimmer to correct the issue. DQs are a normal learning experience that help the swimmer improve.

Who receives ribbons at meets?

Ribbons are awarded for 1st through 6th places. There may also be “finisher” ribbons for those who participate but didn’t score points. This is up to the discretion of the hosting team. Swimmers generally do not receive a ribbon if they DQ in a race.  Ribbons are distributed at practices.

Why are there “themes” to the meets?

This is a fun spirit-building activity. Prior to a meet, the coaches will let the swimmers know the “theme” of the meet. Swimmers are encouraged, but are not required to, dress up according to the theme prior to the meet

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Meet Etiquitte

Swim meets are for fun. Everyone is encouraged to cheer for friends, teammates, neighbors and especially their children. However, there are several rules which must be followed to ensure fairness for all swimmers:

  • Be quiet for the start of each race. 
  • Do not talk to meet officials during the meet. Complaints or concerns should be brought immediately to the attention of the team representatives during the meet or to the coaches or swim team committee members after the meet. 
  • Do not obstruct the view of the meet officials, especially Stroke & Turn Judges. 
  • Smoking is prohibited on the deck, in the locker rooms, in spectator areas, and in all areas used by the swimmers during the meet. 

When to Arrive

  • Arrive early — at least 15 minutes prior to Palisades warm-up time.
  • Check-in with Coach Gerri or Coach Jen so she knows you've arrived and can check you off on her list!
  • Warm-up in the pool at the time announced by the coaches.
  • Swimmers are expected to be on time for warm-up and available for relay substitutions.

At the Meet

  • Swimmers should stay in team area, within their age-group area. If leaving age-group area other than to swim, swimmers should let the coaches know.
  • Listen for your event and be ready to go to the "ready bench."
  • Parents - please know where your swimmer is at all times. Please reinforce to your swimmer to pay attention to coaches and when events are being called.
  • It is ultimately the swimmer's responsibility to get to the ready bench and the blocks on time.
  • Make sure you check with the coach & the clerk of course before you leave the meet. You may be needed for a relay!
  • Please use trash cans for your garbage. We are a clean team!
  • One other mandatory item — Have FUN :)
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Palisades Swim Team


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