What to expect at a swim meet

Attending your first swim meet is fun and exciting but can also cause a little nervousness and anxiety.  Understanding how swim meets work can help to ease the anxiety and nervousness.  Please read the following information and feel free to ask if you have any questions or concerns.

How long will the meet take?

Most of our meets are on the weekends and some will have sessions on Fridays.  When you sign up for the meet you will decide what day or days your child will participate.  Meets are broken up by session.  You can find out what session your swimmer is in on the meet information.  The meet information will tell you when each session will start.  There will be a warm up session for swimmers before the meet starts that could be a half hour to an hour and a half before the session actually starts.  Warm up times will be sent out a couple days prior to the meet.  You should plan for each session to last about four hours. 
Most of our meets are set up where swimmers only swim each event once (all swims are "timed finals").  A couple of our meets are set up in a "preliminary/finals" set up where all swimmers will swim in a morning or afternoon session and the top 8 or 16 will come back and swim again at night.  Most of our meets that are "preliminaries/finals" are held in Christiansburg.  The meet information will tell you if events will be swum as "preliminaries/finals" or "timed finals" but we try to mention that in communication leading up to the meet also. 
Swimmers are welcomed to leave after their last event.  Please have your swimmer see a coach before they leave.

How early does my swimmer need to get to the meet?

Swimmers should be at the pool ready to jump in the pool (with cap and goggles) when warm ups are scheduled to start.  Please allow for ample time to park and get changed.  Many of the pools where we compete have limited parking and seating so keep this in mind when you are planning.

What should I bring to a meet?

Swimmers need the following:
---At least one suit
---At least one pair of goggles
---At least one cap
---At least one towel (swimmers often times will bring multiple towels)
---Nutritional food and drinks to snack on throughout the day
---A foldup chair like you would use at a soccer game or a campfire (you may not always need it but bring one in case)
---A couple changes of clothes.  Something warm to put on over a wet swim suit (top and bottoms).  A swim parka if you have one.
---Optional: games to pass the time or headphones

Parents need the following:
---Cash (for heat sheets, swimwear, tshirts and or snacks at the snackbar) 
---A sharpie
---A highlighter
---A pen
---Swimming pools are normally very warm.  Please dress appropriately.  Normally a short sleeve shirt is very comfortable no matter what the season but you may want to bring a light jacket or sweatshirt for those days they decide to crank up the air.
 ---A foldup chair like you would use at a soccer game or a campfire (you may not always need it but bring one in case)
---Something to pass the time especially for younger siblings.

Where do we go when we get to the meet?

Swimmers should put their suit on (if not already in their suit) and head to the pool deck to find a coach.  Parents should find a seat in the parent viewing area.  There are many meets throughout the year where parents will not be sitting with swimmers during the meet.  Parent's are not allowed on the pool deck at any time.  While swimmers are warming up it is a great idea to purchase a heat sheet.  Heat sheets will tell you what heat and lane your swimmer will be swimming in.  You may want to highlight your swimmer to know when and where they will be swimming.  After warm ups it is a good idea to have your swimmer come see you to let you write their heat and lane assignments on their arm with a sharpie (this is not mandatory but it does help them keep up with where they should be).  A veteran parent will be more tan happy t help you with this.  Swimmers are expected to sit on deck with the coaches if there is separate parent seating.  If they need to come up into the stands they need to tell the coaches so they know where they are.

How will my swimmer know when it I their turn to swim?

The heat sheet will tell you the order of events and what heat and lane your swimmer will be in.  They normally have a estimated timeline for each event. 

Who is responsible for making sure my swimmer gets behind the blocks?

At swim meets swimmers must be behind the block ready to swim when it is their turn to swim.  If they are not there and ready they will miss their turn to swim.  It is the swimmer's responsibility to be watching and know when they need to get up and go behind the blocks not the coaches.  Our coaches have many swimmers to watch over and will try to remind swimmers to get behind the blocks but it is not always possible for them to remind swimmers.  If your child misses a swim they should notify a coach but chances are they will not be able to make it up.
Can I take pictures at meets?

Pictures/Video can be taken at meets but can NEVER be taken from behind the blocks or in the locker rooms.  This includes parent seating areas that my b behind the blocks even if the seating is raised from the pool area.  This is a rule put in place for the safety of all swimmers as you can sometimes see through a suit when swimmers are on the blocks.  You also cannot use flash photography at the start of a race.