Swim Meets — What it all about?

Swim meets are the reason for practising! At a swim meet, swimmers get a chance to win in three ways:

• By racing competitors,

• By improving their best times, and

• By meeting new friends.

The swim season is divided into two distinct periods — the short-course (25-metre) season is between September to December and the long course (50-metre) season is between January to July.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SHORT AND LONG COURSE SWIMMING? The Eastlink pool is 50 metres which is long course. With the bulkhead in the middle of the pool there are two 25-metre pools which is short course. Generally, times in long-course meets are slower than those in a short-course competition however some swimmers are inherently short-course specialists while others are more proficient in long course meets. Swimmers should know both their SC and LC best times.

WHO CAN SWIM IN MEETS? Everyone can compete, but entry into some competitions is dependent on an athlete’s ability to achieve set swim time standards in specific races. In Alberta there are now tiered qualification standards. There are also different national level time standards. Swimmers are encouraged to attend meets for which they are eligible. Doing so keeps the ‘playing field’ level for all swimmers at a competition.

WHERE CAN I FIND THESE SWIMMING TIME STANDARDS? On our club’s website under the “Swim Meet” tab. Look for Time Standards there.


Big 50 Challenge — For all young swimmers who are new to competitive swimming or want extra race experience. Big 50 are a great way for younger swimmers who may be nervous to get a taste of competition in a fun, supportive environment.

Invitational Meets — Most of the regional meets are "all level.” Swimmers are not restricted because of their personal best times. Some of the longer races offered to younger swimmers do have time standards. This is to ensure that swimmers are not being asked to compete above their level, and to keep the length of the swim meets predictable and shorter.

Swim Alberta Meets — The competitions are held in February/March for and June/July.  Swimmers must have attained a qualifying standards to compete.

Canadian National Meets — There are a number of national level swim meets that athletes can attend if they achieve the required national time standards.

Internatinal Meets — These are what we aspire to! Selection is normally based on performance at national championships or special trials meets.

HOW DO SWIM MEETS WORK? Most swim meets are multi-day events  with different events on different days. Swimmers usually swim three to five different events each day. Most days have two swim sessions sometimes morning preliminaries and afternoon finals. Every day there are warm-ups before the races. Swimmers join all the other competitors and their teammates in the pool. {It’s chaotic, but a part of the experience.) Swim meets mostly rely on electronic timing to record swimmers’ times. All times at sanctioned swim meets (meets that are approved by Swim Alberta and Swim Canada) are recorded and become part of the swimmer’s competitive record. Swim meets are always competitive, mostly because swimmers are always competing against the clock. Swimmers can have great meets and never win a medal because they are mostly competing against their past times.

WHEN ARE THE SWIM MEETS? There is big club home meet in fall, winter and spring each season and some smaller single-day meets throughout. As well all the out of town meets we attend! This year’s schedule of swim meets is on club’s website under “swim meets”.

The ‘What To Do List’ for Swim Meets

Below is a list of what to do, and prepare for, when you attend a swim meet.

Prior to a swim meet, the kids will receive their events.  Please do not discard this sheet.  The best place is on the fridge.  There may be events on the list that your child may be hesitant to swim.  The coaching staff always has your child’s best interest in mind when choosing events.  There is always a reason for the chosen event.

Fees to enter the meet are usually billed to your account. If you are not going to swim in the meet, please inform one of the coaching staff so we can scratch  your child from the meet.  The coaches will assume that non payment of your meet fees by the due date means that your child will not be participating and we will scratch them from the meet.

Please be aware what time the meet starts and what time warm up is.  Warm up is 1 hour before the racing starts, and all swimmers need to arrive 20 min before warm up

There is always a meet package posted on our GPP bulletin board outside the office.  In it will be the start and approximate finish times for each day.  You should make a point of being at the pool 20 minutes prior to the start time.  The club warms up on deck before beginning warm ups in the pool.

Swim meets can sometimes be a marathon.  Coaches can’t predict what time the kids will be racing because we don’t have control over how fast or slow the meet will be running.  Therefore, we ask that parents and kids stay at the pool for the duration of the day. The coaches are coaching your kids – not looking after them, so please ensure there is someone there to look after them.  

Meet program.

During the meet, the club will be selling copies of the program and it’s always a good idea to have one. You can also share one with another parent or two.  That way you will know what event, heat and lane your child will be in for all of their races throughout the weekend.

Relays.  As best as we can, the coaches hope to have everyone in relays.  However, due to scratches, and performances during a meet, coaches will make last minute changes.

For those who are new to swim meets.  Here’s a list of items to bring for the meet.

  • At least two towels

  • Water bottle (should be drinking throughout the day)

  • Goggles (2 pairs – in case one breaks)

  • GPP swim Cap (2 – in case one breaks)

  • GPP Team Gear – Team t-shirt minumum

  • warm up suit & race suit

  • Shorts or track pants, tougue (important to stay dry and warm)

  • Flip-flops for feet

  • Food - bananas, sandwiches, cut up fruit, crackers, etc – preferably foods that are easily digestible and healthy. Nothing deep fried or high in fat(takes too long to digest and can upset your stomach during racing)

  • GPP Swimmers are expected to wear team gear at all times during the swim meet. TSHIRTS AND CAP ARE MANDATORY.  The club has made a good effort to provide quality gear at an affordable cost.  This will enable us to project a more "professional" image during the meet.  These items can be purchased during registration or see Dian at our GPP office

Swimmers should remember that they represent the GPP Swim Club and should always dress and act in a manner that reflects their pride in the club.

Questions?  If you ever have a question regarding the swim meet, please contact your coach before the beginning of the meet