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Your First Swim Meet

General Tips

The first swim meet can be overwhelming for kids and parents. Here are some tips to make the first meet go smoothly for you and your child.

  1. Swim meets can be long and hot. sometimes stretching four hours or more. Shrimp families may leave after the kids have finished swimming. Shrimps are not required to stay for the entire meet.  Shrimps are usually done within 45 minutes after the meet starts.
  2. Swim meets are crowded and, at times, loud. There are a lot of people at CSRC swim meets. We typically have around 250 swimmers on our team alone. Not to mention coaches, parents, siblings and everyone associated with the other team. Be prepared for lots of people! The baby pool is closed during swim meets so bring something for younger siblings to do while the swim meet is going on.
  3. Bad weather can interfere with meets. Because it is the summer and thunderstorms pop up, be prepared for bad weather. If there is thunder, the kids must get out of the pool and we have to clear the pool deck and wait for 30 minutes. While this may be inconvenient, these rules are for everyone’s safety. We do not like to call meets early, but will do so if the weather does not clear up in a timely manner. If we call the meet before the Individual Medley event is complete (just past the meet mid-point) we will postpone the remainder of the meet and schedule a make-up date. That can be a hassle for everyone involved: coming up with a new meet date, finding volunteers, etc. You can understand why it is easier to wait out a storm and continue the meet rather than postpone and reschedule. The Team Representatives from both teams will make the final call as to waiting out the weather or calling the meet. The league weather policy can be found at the bottom of this document.
  4. Swim meets are loads of fun! This is a fun, family oriented league. Meets are like big summer parties.  Enjoy your time with other CSRC families. Cheer on the kids – they love to hear the crowd encouraging them as they swim. Wear your team colors or our themed meet gear (themes will be announced well before each home meet)!


What To Bring

  1. Plenty of food - for your swimmers (and for you!). Snacks with proteins and carbs are great. Granola bars, peanut butter crackers, fruit, cheese, etc. Stay away from high-sugar snacks and drinks. Please remember that no glass is allowed on the pool deck. Food is sold at both home and away meets. You can always visit the concession stand. Some clubs only accept cash, so please don’t count on being able to use a card.
  2. Plenty of water. It will be hot, and even though the kids are in the water and may not feel thirsty, their bodies need constant hydration.
  3. An extra towel for each swimmer. The kids will be in and out of the water quite a bit and their towels will get wet. It’s nice to have a dry towel to use mid-way through the meet.  Some evening meets get chilly. Having a blanket in the car is not a bad idea.
  4. Bug Spray - especially for evening meets.  Some clubs experience more mosquitos and other nighttime bugs than others, so pack some repellent.
  5. Sunscreen.  Shade can be scarce at meets.
  6. Folding / tailgate chairs.  Seating can be scarce as well.
  7. Cards/Games/Activities. There can be a lot of downtime at meets. Clubs do have playgrounds, but some families also bring cards, books or other activities to occupy their kids.
  8. Extra goggles & swim cap. It is very stressful for the kids to realize that their goggles are broken just before they race. The same goes for torn caps - it happens. Be prepared for something to break at the last minute. It will help your swimmer feel more comfortable and less stressed.  We sell CSRC caps at the swim suit fitting days and during practices.

Navigating The Swim Meet

  1. Our Shrimps always swim first. First the girl Shrimps, then the boy Shrimps. At the start of home meets, all Shrimps meet on the tennis courts. Our coaches do a great job getting the kids ready for the meet, lining them up and then bringing them to the pool deck. We do a "Shrimp tunnel" (home meets only) as a way of encouraging our smallest swimmers. It’s one of the most endearing CSRC traditions. Be ready with your cameras/iphones!
  2. Bring your heat sheet. Heat sheets typically will be sent out by email prior to home meets. If you would like a paper copy, please print up the heat sheet at home before coming to the meet. When we are visiting other pools, we are not given heat sheets. The coaches will tell the kids the events, heats and lanes for their swims and/or heat sheets are posted at the host pool.
  3. You will see many kids with their event number, heat number and lane number written on their arms or legs with Sharpie markers. This helps the kids keep track of which events they are swimming, which heat they are in and which lane they need to be in before the start of the race. You do not need to do this, but many kids like being able to have all of their swim information readily accessible. When your child is asked to go to the “clerk of course,” that is the staging area where the kids are put into their correct heats/lanes. It does help to write your child’s first and last name on the back of their shoulder.  This helps those lining up kids before events.
  4. Volunteers make swim meets possible. Each family is needed to volunteer for a minimum of two meet halves during the swim season. We ask that families with two or more swimmers volunteer for three halves. If you are volunteering for the first half, your shift ends before the IM. If you are volunteering the second half, be ready to start your volunteer job at the IM event.  If you are unable to volunteer at your assigned time, it is your responsibility to find a replacement and notify the volunteer coordinators. This is a minimal commitment for the amount of fun we have each season!
  5. Relays are always fun. Our coaches will do their best to have each child swim in at least one relay during the season. If you need to leave a meet early, please let the coaches know so that they can plan the relays accordingly.
  6. Please do not approach the computer table with questions. The volunteers running the computers are working hard to enter in information about times. If you have a question concerning your child or his/her times, please ask a coach or Team Rep.
  7. DQ's – a DQ happens when a swimmer makes a mistake in swim technique, or commits another rule infraction, and is “disqualified”. It is not a big deal and should not be a cause for concern. EVERY swimmer gets a DQ at some point, even Olympic swimmers!  DQ's should not be viewed as a penalty, but rather a learning opportunity, and a chance for our coaches to see where your child may need help, and then work on the issue during swim practice. All DQ's are written down on slips that are reviewed by our coaches.  Our league takes DQ's seriously, both to promote fairness between teams, and to help teach our young swimmers the rules of the sport.  Our meets include at least two (2) stroke judges at all times, one from each team.  In addition, the starter (who is not a stroke judge) makes all determinations on false starts.  Just a few examples of reasons for DQ's include (1) failure to make a two-hand (simultaneous) wall touch during breast stroke or butterfly, (2) putting feet down on the bottom of the pool during a race, and (3) leaving the staring block before the sound of the horn (or leaving early during a relay).  Please encourage you child and emphasize the positives if he or she gets a DQ.  

One of the most helpful things you can do as a new swim parent is to talk to a seasoned swim parent.  A fellow parent who can answer questions and help you through your first meet will go a long way toward maximizing your meet experience!

And as always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to speak to a Team Rep (Alison Dalton or Bobby Lindauer) or any of our coaches.


Weather Policy

In the case of thunderstorms or other adverse weather conditions during SouthPark Swim League swim meets, the safety of swimmers and parents is always the first priority. Clearing the pool and the pool deck is at the discretion of the home team's lifeguards/pool management, in cooperation with Team Representatives from each team. If a storm prevents the start of at meet at the regularly scheduled time, Team Reps can elect to postpone the start to a later time in the morning/evening, if weather forecasts indicate that a storm will pass. In addition, if a meet already in progress is suspended due to thunderstorms or other inclement weather, the goal is always to wait and consult with weather forecasts, and to re-commence the meet once the weather clears. Calling off a meet (either ending early or postponing the conclusion to another day) is always the last resort.


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