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Swim Meet Basics

A swim meet is a competition of swimmers who swim different strokes, called events, and compete as a team against the other team. The swimmers also compete against themselves to swim faster than they swam during the last meet. You will see the swimmers ask for their times; that is important not only to the team but to the swimmers.

Each individual event has what are known as heats, which are sections of events. Heats are seeded fastest to slowest. In each heat, the swimmers with the fastest seed times are scheduled to swim in lanes 3 and 4, which are the middle lanes.

Relay events could have an A, B, and C relay foursome. The winning relay team earns 10 points for its team while the 2nd place relay team earns 6 points for its team.

Swimmers are initially placed into heat levels based on their performance at the time trial (or previous year times). This is why your child’s participation in the time trial is so important; it allows the coaches to place your child in the best position for both him and the team.

Heat Sheets: The heat sheet is a list of swimmers and the events they will swim in that meet. Find your child’s name; the list follows the order of events, with the youngest children swimming first in each event and the girls swimming first in all events. Highlight the event number, the stroke, the heat number, and the lane number for your child(ren) to help make sure they are at their events on time. We do not sell heat sheets at the meet but will upload the heat sheets SwimTopia as soon as we are able on the afternoon of the meet. We will also use the Meet Mobile app during the meet, which is an online version of the heat sheet. Download Meet Mobile from the app store. Other teams may sell heat sheets at their pool, or post them on Meet Mobile.

  • Meet Events: Individual events are seeded fastest to slowest, with the fastest heat swimming first. The youngest age group swims first, with girls preceding boys. Except for the 100IM, individual event distances are 25 meters (one length) for 10 and under groups and 50 meters (2 lengths) for 11-18 age groups. The order of events for all meets will be:
      • Shrimps (6 and under) – freestyle
      • Medley Relay (four swimmers each swimming a different stroke)
      • Freestyle
      • Backstroke
      • 100 IM – Individual Medley (25 meters each of butterfly, backstroke, breast stroke, freestyle)
      • Breast stroke
      • Butterfly
      • Free relay (four swimmers each swim 25 or 50 meters freestyle)


    Meet Scoring: Individual events score as follows:

    • 1st place earns 5 points for the team.
    • 2nd place earns 3 points for the team.
    • 3rd place earns 2 points for the team.
    • 4th place earns 1 point for the team.
    • Relays: The winning relay earns 10 points; the second place relay earns 6 points. Each team can only get one place – either first or second.


    Disqualification: Sometimes you will have a swimmer who is DQ’d which means “disqualified”. In this case the Stroke & Turn judges saw and wrote up an infringement, which is usually an incorrect stroke technique, early start, incorrect turn or incorrect finish. The team rep and coach go through each DQ and work to correct the problem. If a relay is DQ’d, the relay team is out of the event. There is nothing you need to do as the Coach will work on the problem to try and avoid it happening again

    Swimming Up : GCSL rules regarding "swimming up" state:
    The age level of each swimmer for the current season shall be determined by the swimmer’s age on or before the May 31 that falls either during, or immediately prior to the start of, the current season. Each swimmer shall swim in his/her age level for the entire season. However, a swimmer may elect to swim in the next higher age group for the entire season. This choice must be made before the start of the season (first meet), must be indicated on the roster, and once made, may not be reversed at a later date.

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