swim meet basics

Swim meets are a great family experience. They’re a place where the whole family can spend time together. Listed below are some in-depth guidelines excerpted from USA Swimming’s Sample Club Handbook. They’re geared to help you through your first few swim meets. While they may seem a little overwhelming at first, we wanted to be as specific and detailed as possible. Over time, you’ll become familiar with the details, and if you have any questions, your coach is here to help.

(Excerpted from USA Swimming’s Sample Club Handbook. Please be sure to check with your swimmer’s coach for specifics that may be different from the examples below.)

before the swim meet

  1. The meet schedule is posted on our Meets & Results page.
  2. You can find a meet location on our Meets & Results page by clicking on the meet name. Gulf Swimming determines the location for each team based on several factors. Sometimes the meet locations will not be determined until a week after the meet entries are due. 
  3. Entry Procedure
    - You will receive each meet invitation through ACTIVE. Once you receive the invitation, you will need to opt-in via your ACTIVE parent portal.
    - Coaches will enter each swimmer in their particular events. You can see your swimmer’s events on your parent portal after the coaches complete the entries, which is typically two to three days after the opt-in deadline.
    - Once a swimmer has been entered in the meet, the entry fees will be charged to your account and are non-refundable.
  4. Volunteer Timing – We always need volunteers to help time during each meet. Timing at swim meets is easy to do and it also counts toward your service hours. You will receive a timer volunteer sign-up email two to four days before the start of the meet. 
  5. Meet Timeline – The meet timeline will be emailed out two to four days before the start of the meet.
  6. Meet Warm-Ups – The meet warm-up times will be emailed out two to four days before the start of the meet.

Day of the meet

  1. Arrive at the pool at least 15 minutes before the scheduled warm-up time begins.
  2. Upon arrival, find a place to put your swimmer's blankets, chairs and swim bags. The team usually sits in one place together, so look for some familiar faces.
  3. Consider writing your swimmer’s event, heat and lane-number in ink on their forearm or hand. This helps them remember what events they’re swimming and what event number to listen or watch for.
  4. After warm-up, your swimmer will go back to the area where their team is sitting and relax until it’s time for their first event. This is a good time to make sure they go to the bathroom, if necessary, get a drink or just get settled in.
  5. The meet will usually start about 10-15 minutes after the last warm-up is over.
  6. Swimmers should see their coach before and after each race.
  7. Parents are asked to not approach coaches during swim meets. Per USA Swimming rules (because of insurance purposes), parents are not allowed on deck unless they are serving in an official capacity. All questions concerning meet results, an officiating call or the conduct of a meet should be referred to a coach. They, in turn, will pursue the matter through the proper channels.

What to Bring

  1. Team apparel is needed for swim meets. 
    - Team shirts (blue on Saturdays, white on Sundays)
    - Team cap
    - Team suit
  2. Bring healthy snacks, such as fruits, pasta, granola bars and bagels. The best drink is water.
  3. Multiple goggles
  4. 1-2 towels
  5. Things to keep the swimmer warm