Ten Commandments for Swimming Parents
Hints on Helping You Swimmer be More Successful
Swim Meet 101
TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More
What makes a thriving swim team?
Motivated Swimmers + Committed Parent Volunteers + Effective Coaches
Competitive swimming would not exist without committed parent volunteers. Volunteering can range from timing at swim meets to running the swim meets themselves. We recognize that everyone is busy, and many of you have multiple children who are involved with different activities. Teams are always assigned timing chairs at swim meets which are filled by our parents. So our swimmers need you in the timing chairs to achieve their personal goals.
CAC also hosts two (home) swim meets a year where all families are needed to pitch in to run a successful meet. If you desire to do more throughout the year, we are happy to utilize your talents with: transporting swim canopies, awards sorting, party/banquet preparation and general donations.
Parent support and positive involvement are essential ingredients to make CAC a thriving & successful team! Together everyone achieves more!
We have a competition offered for every group at least once a month. Be sure to consult the Team Calendar.
Swim Meet: Warm-Up, Check-In, Event Postings, Your Race
Arrive before the designated warm-up time per your coach
Check in for your events at the Check-In Table
Find your team (typically look for our CAC banner!) and leave your bags in the designated area
Find your coach, and you will get instructions for warm-up
Warm up with your team
After warm-up, find a spot in the team area. Have snack. Locate and get familiar with the Event Postings.
During the meet, pay attention to the Events & Heats that are announced. The first sheet posted will be the swimmers registered for that event. You must check back often until the heat/lane assignment sheet come out. This heat/lane assignment sheet will tell you exactly what heat and what lane you will be swimming in - IMPORANT!! Your Heat & Lane assignment is typically posted about 5 events before your race. As soon as you know your lane assignment, see your coach and let her know your Event/Heat/Lane.
Before your Race: Wait behind your assigned lane until your Event/Heat is called. Notify the timers that you are here for Event/Heat/Lane (this is a good double-check that you are in the right spot).
During your Race: The official will blow the whistle – this means walk up and stand behind your starting block. The 2nd long whistle means to step up onto the block. The official will say, “Take your mark.” Go into starting position and hold still. If a swimmer moves, all swimmers will be asked to stand. The official will say, “Take your mark,” again. The BEEP signals you to dive in! When you finish at the wall, your time is recorded.
After your Race: Report to your coach to hear her comments on your race. Warm-down in the designated area (your coach will tell you what to do). Hydrate, have a light snack, get ready for your next event, cheer for your teammates, and HAVE FUN!
Swim Meet: Timing
Timing is mandatory for all parents on our team who have a swimmer signed up for a meet. Without timers, a swim meet will not happen. So we need all of our parents to volunteer to help our swimmers achieve their best times. There will be a timing clip-board that will have a sheet with open timing blocks. Please sign in to mark your space in the timing schedule for the meet.
Usually the time interval for each timing shift runs about 1 hour. Timing shifts can vary depending on how long the meet is going to be, how many chairs our team is assigned, and how many parents we have on the pool deck. We try to have parents time only once during the swim meet. You don't need to come to a meet if your swimmer has not committed to attend. Once you go to the timing chairs for your shift, you will relieve one of the CAC parents who was there before you.
At swim meets, all teams attending are assigned timing chairs. There are 3 chairs per lane located behind the blocks where the race begins. When the swimmer touches the wall, timers press "pickles" (button connected to automatic timing system) and record the time for the swimmer in their lane for each completed the heat. Before the start of every meet, timing responsibilities are explained by a meet official. In order to run a successful meet for our swimmers, timing is an important responsibility.
Behind each lane, there are 3 timing chairs (order can vary):
Chair 1: Responsible for hand timing with a stopwatch and pickle. Make sure you know how to run the watch before the first race. Start the watch at the flash of light which goes off at the start (don’t start at the BEEP). Stop the watch when the swimmer touches the wall. If you miss a start, don’t worry. Immediately raise your hand for a back-up watch, and continue on with the heat. After heat, report your time to Chair 2 to be written on the clipboard.
Chair 2: Responsible for the clipboard and pickle. There is 1 clipboard per lane that lists the swimmers in your lane by race. Check-in swimmers prior to their heat. If your swimmer isn’t there, call their name (they might be in the wrong lane). Record the stopwatch time in the space provided on the sheet. If there is a DQ (disqualification) the official will make notes on the clipboard. A meet volunteer will deliver and pick up the sheets from time to time.
Chair 3: Responsible for the pickle.
Be sure to stay at your chair assignment until you are relieved by the next timer. Timing is FUN, and you get the BEST SEAT to watch your swimmer and congratulate him after his race! If you have more timing questions, ask the coach to pair you up with a veteran swim parent, and he can walk you through the process.
Swim Meet: What to Bring
Whenever you are not timing at the meet, you can sit with your swimmer, watch her race, or watch other races, snack, etc. Most of the meets are in outdoor pools, and it might be too cold or too hot depending on the season. Here is a simple checklist of the basic items you should bring to a meet:
Outdoor folding chairs
Plenty of dry towels, (usually one per race + warm-up)
Snacks that are nutritious and easy to digest
Water or sport drinks
Games, books, or homework for in between the races.
Warm jackets, shoes/boots, hat, etc. for cold weather
Sunscreen for warm weather
Extra goggles, swim cap, swimsuit (just in case!)
Sharpie pen/marker (for swimmers to write their event/heat/lane)
It might seem a lot, but it is better to be prepared. You can always leave things in your car and pull them out as the need arises. If you don't have a designated backpack for towels and swim things, you can buy one at the swim meets, or use a duffel bag.