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Swim Meet 101

What is a swim meet?
Our regular season meets consist of competition between the Marlins and one other team from the Morris County Summer Swim League (MCSSL). The MCSSL consists of 11 teams with pools that are either 25 meters or 25 yards in length. Each pool has either 5, 6, or 8 lanes. At a 5 lane pool there are 4 “official” (scoring) lanes with 1 “unofficial” lane that is rotated between teams. At a 6 and 8 lane pool each team gets an equal amount of lanes so they are all “official”. The first heat of each event is able to score. For relays, first place receives 7 points. For individual events, first place receives 5 points, second receives 3 points and third receives one point for their team. At the end of the meet all scores are tallied.

At the end of the season, the League holds a Championship meet known as the Meet of Champions (MOC). At this meet, the top swimmers from each team compete against one another for best times. This is not a scoring meet. Swimmers must compete in THREE dual meets to be eligible for the MOC. The League sets limitations on how many swimmers may compete in each event.

How many events can my swimmer participate in during a dual meet?

The League limit is 3 official individual events and 1 relay OR 2 official individual events and 2 relays per swimmer.

What happens during inclement weather?

Meets: The decision to swim is made by the home pool (coaches or managing staff). Meets may also be cancelled or postponed due to harsh rain or thunderstorms. E-mails will be sent from the coaches as soon as any decisions are made. If you see the weather is questionable, check your e-mail before you leave the house.

What should we pack to bring to a meet?

  • Team Swim Suit
  • Team Cap plus an extra cap in case one rips
  • A towel (or two)
  • Goggles
  • Water Replacement fluids are important!
  • Snacks.   At most meets, there are concession stands that have drinks, bagels/pizza, and other snacks. Be aware that sometimes there is a line for these food items, and your swimmer doesn’t want to miss their next event by waiting in the concessions line. If you are looking for ideas to pack your own snacks, granola, a sandwich, fruit, nuts, or dried cereal work well. Your swimmer will get hungry!
  • Some swimmers like to bring a collapsible chair to sit on in between events, or a pad or sleeping bag to lay on. Some swimmers bring a book or cards to play to pass the time, but the best activity is to watch and cheer for your team mates.

What is a heat sheet?

The heat sheet is hung up at the beginning of the meet. At home meets, the sheets will be hung on the baby pool fence. It contains the order of events, as well as dividing the swimmers into different “heats” or groups.

The number of extra heats per event is decided by the home pool. At home meets, we try to get all swimmers in at least one event, hopefully two. At away meets, we cannot guarantee any number of swims, but we do out best to make sure all swimmers are in one event.

The major divisions of a heat sheet are; EVENT HEAT LANE

The EVENT will have a number, a stroke title, and an age demarcation. For example; “EVENT 3- Girls 8 and under – 25Y Freestyle.”

The HEAT will be which group of swimmers go first, second, third etc. These groups or heats are often grouped from fastest times (heat 1) to slowest times (last heat).
The LANE will be assigned to each swimmer, so that they know which set of blocks to get up on, and where to swim. You can write this information down on a piece of paper, copied from the wall where the hosting team has posted the sheet. Often for younger or new swimmers, we write on their hands to remind them when they are swimming. (it doesn’t have to be a “sharpie” or water proof ink, just a regular pen will work.)

You can write something like this on the back of their hand:

  • E / H / L
  • 3 / 3 / 7
  • 7 / 4 / 4
  • 11 / 2 / 8

Meaning, their first event is event 3, in heat 3, in lane 7.

Their second event is event 7, in heat 4, and in lane 4.

Final event is event 11, heat 2, and lane 8.

How do we know which event we are on?
The starter will announce each event. Teach your swimmers from the beginning to know what events they are swimming, to check the heat sheets to know where they are in the meet. It seems overwhelming at first, but one of the great things that kids in swimming learn is how to be responsible for where they need to go and how to monitor the meet progress. Until that time though, there will be plenty of help from coaches and the volunteer Marshalls to help your swimmers.

What is the order of races?
100 Medley Relays 10 & Under (girls then boys) 

200 Medley Relays 11 & Over (girls then boys) 

100 IM 12 & Under (girls then boys)

100 IM 13 & Over (girls then boys)

ALL FREE 8 & Under Girls/Boys, 9-10 Girls/Boys, 11-12, 13-14, 15-19
Step up Relays (girls then boy)

What is a DQ?
It is a disqualification from an official indicating that there was some element of the swim that did not meet the USA swimming rules for that given stroke. It means that the time your swimmer got in that event will not count, as the swim is invalid. DQ’s are a learning tool, and designed to help all swimmers become proficient in their sport. There is not a swimmer anywhere that has not had many DQ’s! It helps swimmers know what they need to work on and should be viewed in an entirely positive light. You can still focus on the good things your swimmer did even if they got DQ’d. Help your swimmer to be proud of their new accomplishments! Starts off the blocks, turns, mastering new strokes like butterfly and breaststroke, maintaining consistent kicking and breathing, cheering for a team member, getting to the blocks on time…….there are many things to be proud of and to support your child in.

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