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What to Expect at Swim Meets


Below are guidelines for swim meets. Please support the Gold Medal Swim School's goal for all swim meets: Fall in love with racing…."Racing is fun." 


Swimmers 7 years old and younger swim 25 yards (1 lap). 7 and under start off the side, not the blocks. Swimmers who are 8 years old can choose to swim 25 yards or 50 yards for their races. Swimmers 9 years old and older swim 50 yards (2 laps) and have the option of starting off the blocks. All swimmers are invited to swim all four strokes (Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and Freestyle) but picking even one is great!


Racing is organized by age groups and gender: 6 and under, 7-8 years old, 9-10 years old, 11-12 years old, 13-14 years old, and 15-18 years old. Races and distances are called "events" usually ordered and numbered. Not all meets have the same order. Each event will have a series of "heats"(races) with 8 to 10 swimmers in each "heat." At summer swim meets; Ribbons will be awarded for the 1st through 8th place of each heat. Races are not always organized by time and may be more random placement. At Fall/Spring meets, ribbons are awarded 1st through 8th place and swum in groups based on similar times. Medals are awarded at the Championship meet each season the for the top eight swimmers. At all meets, swimmers can show ribbons or tell coaches their time at the team area and earn an Otter Pop!

Team Spirit

Swimmers are expected to participate in meets as a team. Cheering for each other is highly encouraged. Team tents will be set up with team gear, tattoos, stickers, water, and Otter Pops. Swimmers are encouraged to sit together at the team tent, cheer each other on, play games, and hang out between events.

Coaches' Responsibilities

Gold Medal coaches stand at the team tent, behind blocks, and at the finish. We do not offer technique tips at swim meets. Gold Medal coaches encourage swimmers to be their best and stay positive. 


Swimmers' Responsibilities

Arrive at the pool at least 15 minutes before the scheduled warm-up time. Arriving early helps swimmers feel less stressed. Find a coach or any Gold Medal coach and say "hello." Once you have checked in with your coach, have your swimmer write each event number on their hand in ink. This helps your swimmer, you, and the coach quickly identify which events they are is swimming and which event number to listen for. IF A PRE-SEEDED HEAT SHEET IS AVAILABLE. Get ready to enter the pool for warm-up instructions. "Warm-up" at this age is a VERY loose term. Warm-ups are designed to develop good habits and get some butterflies out. Attend the team meeting, held after the warm-up. A psych sheet will usually be posted (fall/spring and some summer meets) at the meet venue or will be available online via a mobile device/cell phone. See the enclosed link with how to read and understand a heat sheet:

Report to the correct event, heat, and lane. Swimmers should aim for a PR (personal record) time and RACE as fast as possible. Swimmers should hang out between events and play games, cheer for teammates, and relax. Swimmers are responsible to get to the starting area the event prior to their event.

What to Bring to a Swim Meet

Bring something to sit on, such as a folding chair or a blanket. Bring a swim suit, goggles, team shirt, team cap, and towels (one for each event). You may want to bring games, coloring books, toys, or anything else to pass the time. Snacks and water! Bring something healthy and hydrating like fruit or watered-down Gatorade. 


Parents/Guardians are encouraged to cheer for their swimmers! Help ease anxiety by keeping it light and fun. Limit technique suggestions and encourage swimmers to RACE as fast as they can!!!!! Give lots of high fives and smiles. Possible questions to ask include, "What did you think of your swim?" "Are you proud of your effort?" Help your swimmer return to the team area and relax, play with friends, and grab an Otter Pop!

Once you have attended one or two meets, this will become routine. Please do not hesitate to ask coaches or other parents for help or additional information.

If you have questions or comments about your swimmers meet or practice performance, we would love to hear from you. Please contact the Competitive Department Leader.

Take a moment to celebrate your swimmer. Swim meets are a time to shine and show off all the hard work they have put in during practice.